Metadata management and personalization

With the end of the year coming, ThinkDox has had some downtime from the usual hustle and bustle. I have taken this time to expand my understanding of Laserfiche- as well as start to incorporate some of my past experiences as a healthcare/Life sciences professional into our platform.

The most useful aspect of having a Ph.D in genetics is a firm and almost tyrannical insistence of classification systems. In genetics, systems of classification are the basis of how we compare, sort and define genes, cells and animals in such as way that we can build groupings across experiments. Metadata and classification schema provide the exact same abilities to an ECM system – if they are deployed and managed properly.

This means that you are limiting the value of your ECM if your classification structure is designed to protect records. Records are easy, low return on investment items to have in your ECM. Moving beyond records requires clear management practices to keep your metadata relevant and aligned with business processes. 

To describe a thing, you need to understand a thing.

This is the basis of our Five questions to build an EIM strategy. The key to managing metadata is understanding how users describe, share and access information. Without this basic framework your efforts to automate processes and ease search will fail.

The goal is to EXTEND the records classification to encompass non-records. This provides a layer of descriptors that can be used to delineate between records and non-records that are produced as part of the same process. This is the key for dealing with the emailed purchase order – where the attachment is clearly a record but the email is likely only important until the PO is acted upon.

A rose by any name….

ThinkDox is a Laserfiche reseller and implementer. We provide both initial systems deployment and integration services as well as long term support. Laserfiche is a no-brainer for organizations with records management concerns. The unique metadata management terminology and management is a key selling point for records managers……..However, unique can also be a detriment for communicating value. 

I will use a metadata library that I created for EIM in healthcare as an example of how powerful metadata can be to both organization of information and information security.

Laserfiche organizes metadata through templates. Templates are a grouping of descriptors that can be used to describe any piece of information, it is a very granular system. This can largely be thought of a facet or taxonomy node- where all of the metadata is related but describes different aspects of the same document(s).


For example, I built a set of templates that can be used to describe each step; and the accompanying documents, at each step of a hospital's billing cycle. This will then be the basis of a process that takes the clinical notes and classifies them based on what finance needs to know to request payment.

Linking processes and documents using Laserfiche metadata templates

In this example, I have provided dynamic fields so that the template can automatically populate additional metadata for each document. For clinical notes the template "looks" for key terms like a specific ICD-10 code or disease description, this will then automatically add a finance related term- in this case it would be the insurance billing code. This can then automatically queue up workflow that is being used in the finance system- or directly in Laserfiche for generating an invoice and alerting the appropriate employees. This then allows using a secondary tagging system to identify specific records or draft documents.

Using metadata to link ICD10 to documents and EMR data

To further illustrate the power of metadata, I have built a workflow that uses Laserfiche forms to capture patient information. This automates the patient triage process by automatically linking the patient's name to the ID already in the system. This can then be used for looking existing records and starting a billing file in the background as service is provided. 

Lastly, to show the full power of Laserfiche forms when combined with a single well thought out metadata strategy the triage form contains a text both that will be search via workflow for keywords. This starts the process for a variety of other processes and automations; including suggesting medical treatment and alternate treatment based on insurance authorizations. 

A similar metadata management strategy can be designed and deployed for any industry. A metadata library provides a good starting point, but to see the real value from organizing information sources there will still be expansion of this metadata to include organization-specific fields to each template and tags. As you end your year and plan for next year, consider adding a metadata management review to your information management task list.