How to overcome the challenge of handwritten form entries

Processing forms that are completed by hand has been a persistent stumbling block in document process automation initiatives. Many enterprises have tried to reduce the amount of manual data entry from these forms by incorporating specialized OCR engines that are adept in handwriting capture. However, these too fall short due to the sheer diversity of handwriting styles and differences in characters among languages.

Even AI-based solutions, despite their constantly evolving capabilities, are still struggling to perfect the art of accurately recognizing and extracting handwritten information. Moreover, when errors occur during this process—take for example a prescription in notoriously-poor doctor’s handwriting—it raises questions about accountability as accuracy is critical in medical document processing scenarios.

That’s why document processing service providers and those managing corporate mailrooms still have to rely on time-consuming human efforts to decode scribbled entries and manually enter them into back end systems. A less-than-ideal setting, in the face of skilled data entry talent shortages on the one hand, and customers expecting faster turnaround times and better service on the other hand.

AI and human intelligence for data entry accuracy

The solution to this challenge is a carefully designed combination of artificial and human intelligence (AI & HI)—or collective intelligence as we call it.

This combination of AI & HI is what differentiates ScaleHub’s approach from traditional “intelligent automation” providers. Self-learning, intelligent capture components for automated data extraction are paired with a global crowd of contributors, available 24/7, who manually assess and capture those pieces of data that OCR and AI can’t catch.

To ensure data security, the solution takes the fields filled out by hand and breaks them into snippets before dispersing them as microtasks to crowd contributors around the world. This decontexualizes the information, thereby eliminating access to the full amount of information contained on the document. Crowd contributors log in to the ScaleHub solution via secure web browsers to view the handwritten snippets and key the information into a text field.

For guaranteed accuracy rates of at least 99 percent, even for handwritten text, every snippet is sent to two or more different crowd contributors simultaneously. In cases where the results don’t match, a third, more experienced contributor is engaged for a tie-breaker, thereby ensuring accuracy of captured data.

On-demand scalability no matter the data entry task

Backed by the nearly infinite capacity of a global crowd (more than 2 million contributors and growing), ScaleHub’s clients profit from limitless scalability.

Our partner imbl, a leading provider of intelligent capture solutions, is convinced: “Scalability is the greatest advantage. Not only does this service allow production managers to complete mass amounts of work in very little time, but also scale up and down whenever needed; for example, in response to seasonal fluctuations.”

The transformative power of crowdsourcing and microtasking

Crowdsourcing is a solution to the pains of processing forms quickly and accurately, whether entries are handwritten or electronic. The practice of microtasking—breaking a large task into multiple small tasks that can be worked on simultaneously—is key to a safe crowdsourcing approach, regardless of type of information.

Meeting SLAs with Collective Intelligence

When collective intelligence incorporates crowdsourcing, document processors can more easily manage volume spikes or dips while meeting SLAs—without hiring additional staff. This innovative solution not only overcomes the challenges of processing handwritten forms but also redefines the efficiency and scalability of document processing in service providers or in-house document processing operations.

Businesses continue to grow the amount of data that needs to be processed in one way or another (there’s a reason why the intelligent document processing market size is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 30.1% from 2023 to 2030). It’s easy to see why the need for efficient and accurate processing of documents remains paramount.

By harnessing the power of crowdsourcing and combining it with advanced technology, organizations can unlocked a new era in document processing, making delays and failed SLAs a problem of the past and instead profit from fast, secure and cost-effective operations.

To learn more and explore how your business can profit from ScaleHub’s collective intelligence service, contact us to schedule a 1:1 with one of our experts.

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