Drafting Accurate Documents Efficiently in a Standardized Way

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Carrying out the licensing and regulatory responsibilities as an EMS agency requires accuracy and efficiency in drafting documents. Ben Keizer from the Contra Costa County EMS Agency offers insights into the challenges encountered prior to implementing SmartDocuments as the agency’s new document creation solution and discusses the results of working with SmartDocuments.

Ben Keizer is the Prehospital Care Coordinator at the Contra Costa County EMS Agency. “As a program manager, I manage license interactions, certification and accreditation, investigations into misconduct, and the public safety first aid oversight program for the county. I am also the administrator for the Agency’s licensing software,” Ben introduces himself. “We send out a good amount of notices daily in the agency, for example, in investigations, and to renew, cancel or revoke licenses. We also create complex legal documents for accusations and pleading documents. Aside from the documents we send out to the people we license and regulate, we also put out memos and bulletins to the public.”

Photo of Ben Keizer, Prehospital Care Coordinator at the Contra Costa County EMS Agency

Ben Keizer, Prehospital Care Coordinator at the Contra Costa County EMS Agency

“With SmartDocuments, we have a library of standardized document templates that guarantee accurate documents.” 

The Challenges of Manually Adjusting Documents

“Previously we had a library of Microsoft Word documents as templates, separated into different categories,” Ben continues. “When needing to send out a notice or document, I would take a template, save as, and modify. In time, I would highlight the places where I needed to go in, so that when I would open a template, I knew what I needed to change. However, we’d find that our accuracy was lowered, because we would manually adjust each piece of a document and mistakes slip in easily. We would spend a lot of time to get a template out, and we’d end up with little variations between templates and forget which one was the correct one. So not only did it take a long time, we were not as accurate as we wanted to be.”

Standardized Documents

“This prompted us to look for a solution to reduce our template count, to increase our efficiency and accuracy, and to standardize our way of working,” Ben explains. “We found this solution in SmartDocuments. With their software, we have a library of standardized document templates that guarantee accurate documents. Creating a document now means selecting the right template, filling it in and you’re done, and for the majority of our documents, it only takes about 15 minutes, which saves us about 30 minutes per document. We send out about 1,500 to 2,000 notices yearly, so it saves us quite some time. The simplicity of the software allows us to manage the back-end in-house. We now have about 70 document templates set up and it took little to no time to adapt to our new way of working. We did a two-day interactive training that gave us the basics of the program. It gave us the foundation to start creating document templates.”

Boosting Accuracy and Efficiency

“What we didn’t know we needed but now use in SmartDocuments is the ability to connect data to our output and this output to our Document Management System (DMS),” Ben continues. “We combined this with SmartDocuments’ module for Multi-Document Output. This for example allows us to batch our EMT license notices, where before we had to segment based on different license statuses. Now, we push a report on the licensing in XML from our system, SmartDocuments reads the XML, recognizes the license status and automatically populates different data points in various documents. From here we output it and it goes to our DMS, or other repository to get processed. It makes it effortless and saves us from having to manually input, which boosts our accuracy and efficiency. Our accuracy has increased dramatically. We are using a single data source and it’s all tied together without any human interaction, which eliminates a lot of data entry errors.”

“The organized and standardized way of working keeps the clutter out of the way.”

The Template is Always Leading

“I have noticed our output is good,” Ben states. “As a government agency, we do a fair amount of public comment. This process is completely standardized in SmartDocuments. The output is complete and looks the same every time. The same goes for working with people outside our division on our more complicated legal documents. If it is required to add a paragraph or delete things, that’s no issue – in SmartDocuments the template is always the template. Onboarding new staff is made easy because our templates are accurate and easy to fill-out. We are also able to separate the document templates and users into groups. This prevents individuals from seeing content that is irrelevant to their needs or duties. The organized and standardized way of working keeps the clutter out of the way. We now recognize that there are other places in our division where we can use SmartDocuments to be more standardized across our programs. This will result in extending our use of this solution.”

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