Sandhills Center for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and
Substance Abuse Services (“Sandhills Center”)


Advanced Imaging Systems (AIS)


Sandhills Center provided and now manages behavioral healthcare services across nine counties, which led to the receipt and storage of over 500,000 medical and human resource files. These records were in the form of paper, film, and microfiche from multiple locations across the region.

In 2016, Sandhills Center reached out to AIS seeking help to manage records for not only their own medical record files, but also providers which had closed their offices and left Sandhills Center with ownership of their records. The growing number of people applying for Gun and Concealed Weapon Carry Permits from local Sheriff’s Offices, combined with the volume of medical records maintained, put the team at Sandhills Center in a position to reevaluate how they were managing records. It was taking the staff at Sandhills Center extra time and expense to get their hands on records in order to fulfill requests, due to the fact that some records were stored on microfilm and others in paper files across multiple storage locations. As provider offices closed, Sandhills continued to inherit records which added to challenge of tracking what records were located where, and in what format.

To add to the perfect storm of challenges, Sandhills Center and AIS identified a significant portion of the records in storage that had already met their retention schedules. Maintaining records past their retention schedules added to cost of storing records, while adding legal risk and exposure by potentially having to produce records that should have been destroyed. Also, due to several mergers and other transitions, patient files were being stored in different places, creating challenges for producing complete medical records.

“AIS helped us significantly mitigate risk and exposure allowing us to better manage all of our records.”

Evelyn Quick - Chief Legal Officer/Chief Compliance Officer, Sandhills Center


  • Decreased document request turnaround process from several steps to one
  • Mitigated risk by destroying 215,000 files that had already met their retention schedules
  • Saved what was the equivalent to 2 Full Time Employees labor costs
  • Reclaimed 12,000 cubic feet of storage space
  • Ensured security of records and HIPAA Compliance
  • Cost Avoidance of $1.6m by only needing to scan 26% of the files
  • Eliminated 100% of physical onsite storage of records
  • Consolidated 100% of records into one centralized repository
  • Eliminated obsolete technology by digitizing microfilm

Recognized Benefits

Typically, medical records and human resource files contain highly confidential and sensitive information, thus records must be secure in order to maintain patient and employee privacy. Due to the consolidation of behavioral health organizations across the region and the increase in concealed weapon permit applications, it became more challenging and time-consuming to locate the necessary documents and also prevented Sandhills Center from efficiently destroying records as their retention schedules were met – a particularly difficult challenge given the possibility of individuals having multiple records from different sources. Resource limitations and growing demand for records exacerbated the existing problems.

“AIS provided solutions for every challenge we threw their way, which allowed continued compliance with HIPAA while maintaining a disaster recovery plan for our most critical records.”

Evelyn Quick - Chief Legal Officer/Chief Compliance Officer, Sandhills Center


AIS picked up all patient records and human resource files from numerous facilities in multiple formats. Using highly trained staff and proprietary software, every file was tagged by the AIS Data Acquisition team with key demographic information and dates to determine if the file should be retained or destroyed based on the document type and retention schedule. Files were separated accordingly, and a complete database was created containing every Sandhills Center Record, including retention collateral, and disposition instructions.

For the records that fell within the retention window, AIS prepared each file (paper and microfilm) for scanning by identifying the critical document types, key demographic information, and retention period. These records were than digitally captured at the highest quality level, with a 100% quality control on all scanned data. The resulting digital data was packaged, and securely delivered via SFTP to Sandhills for upload to their document management software.

To drive continuity, quality, and efficiency, AIS assigned a dedicated production team across 2 shifts to manage each phase of the process. Outsourcing the scanning and the data acquisition process to AIS allowed Sandhills the flexibility to focus on their core business functions without adding staff and infrastructure. The chain of custody is secure. Expedited scanning is a core business function of AIS.

About AIS, Inc.

AIS is a document management company specializing in the security and disaster recovery of their customers most critical business data.

Founded in 1972, AIS believes in providing peace of mind for their Clients and to be the leader in strategic data management. Their mission is to deliver innovative, quality solutions tailored to their Customer’s needs. They align themselves with strategic partners and offer the best in data management products and services.

To learn more about AIS visit their website at or call toll free at 1-800-365- 1038.

About Sandhills Center

Sandhills Center is a Local Management Entity-Managed Care Organization (LME-MCO) serving people in nine counties in central North Carolina. Sandhills Center has a robust network of providers who offer treatment and support for mental health, substance use disorders, and intellectual and developmental disabilities.

It is the goal of Sandhills Center to make treatment options available to those who need them, to enrich and support our Provider Network, and to contribute to the overall well-being of the communities we serve.

To learn more about Sandhills Center please visit their website at

Contact Us

If you want to find out how we can help you with your records management, let us know! We love to solve problems.