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Serial-Unit Numbering System

This system combines both serial and unit numbering systems. A patient receives a new record number after each registration/visit. All the previous records fall under the latest issued number. Therefore, only one record remains in the filing area. For example, a patient’s first visit is issued with a medical record number 56789. During the next visit, a new medical record number 62001 is issued. The old record is brought forward and filed in the new record. According to Claeys (1996), an OUT guide made of an empty chart folder is left at the position of the previous record. It indicates the new record number containing the old record.

Advantages of Serial-Unit Numbering System

One advantage is that it allows the creation of a unit record. Secondly, the system makes it easier for a medical center to retain records of its patients. This is because records with lower numbers can be identified with ease as they remain in the old file.

Disadvantages of Serial-Unit Numbering System

A disadvantage presented by this system is shown by the gaps left in the filing area by the removal of old records. Moreover, it is time-consuming considering the time required for back shifting from old records to the latest.

Terminal Digit Filing System

This system uses six numbers representing three sections, each containing two digits. The arrangement of the digits follows a given order. It starts with tertiary digits, followed by secondary digits, and finally ends with primary digits. For instance, in 45-76-00, tertiary is 45, secondary is 76, and the primary is 00. In this system, the primary section ranges from 00 to 99. This means that there are a hundred primary sections. When filling, consideration is first given to the primary section. In each primary section, the matching of groups of records is done according to the second digit section. Finally, filling follows numerical order presented by the tertiary digits.

Advantages of Terminal Digit Filing System

The first advantage of this system is that it ensures equal distribution of records throughout the 100 primary sections. Secondly, it largely reduces personnel congestion in the filling area due to the elaborate arrangement of the records. Fourthly, it allows easy distribution of work among filing clerks through assignments to specific filling areas. Finally, it eliminates the backshifting of records through substitution of inactive records with new ones.

Disadvantages of Terminal Digit Filing System

The major disadvantage with this system is that it requires more training of the personnel involved than other systems such as Straight Numeric filing. It also requires a large space for filing compared to electronic systems.

The serial-unit numbering system is quite cumbersome as it involves retrieving previous records to update the current record. It can work well for a small medical center serving a small community. The filing clerks know most of the patients in person making the location of the previous records relatively easy. However, the system is inefficient for a large medical center serving large numbers of people per day. As the average number of visitors increases, the terminal digit filing system can replace the serial-unit system.

The terminal digit filing system is remarkably efficient as it can allow the filing of large volumes of records. Through proper training of the filing clerks, the system can serve a relatively large medical institution with ease. However, a shift to the electrical filing system would ease the work required. It will also reduce the space required for filling and the number of workers assigned for the same.

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