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An edit check, also referred to an edit test, checks data entered into a data entry system for validity. It commonly is used by businesses, organizations and agencies that need to perform numerous checks on information before it is passed along to someone who can process the data. An edit check can verify the eligibility of applicants or claims. Submissions that fail an edit check often are returned so that they can be corrected.
Data that is entered into any computer system can be checked for validity using an edit check. The system can use programmed logic routines, subroutines and mathematical formulas to make these checks. Businesses often use edit checks to verify that their computer systems have valid customer data, such as names, in it. If an edit check finds that customer names have numeric characters in them, for example, the business owner can be alerted to the discrepancy and correct it. In this way, edit checks can help businesses clean up their customer information and ensure standard correspondence.
Government agencies also regularly use edit checks to determine the validity and accuracy of forms, applications or claims that they receive. Submissions dealing with money often are passed through edit checks before being reviewed by actual people. This can save time when workers are dealing with numerous submissions at once.
Submissions that fail to pass edit checks can be returned so that they can be corrected before resubmission. In the past, rejected submissions commonly were modified over the phone after they were submitted. Organizations, agencies or businesses that employ edit checks, however, generally find it impractical to make such corrections, because they can require much time and can be avoided. Places that employ edit checks as part of their system generally believe that those who submit forms, claims and applications have the responsibility to ensure their accuracy.
Some places can provide notes with a returned submission. Rejected submissions might be accompanied by letters that detail the nature of the discrepancy. Tips on how to improve the submission can even be included in the letter. The goal in returning a submission is to have the submission corrected so that it can be processed as soon as possible. As such, those who submit material that is required to pass an edit check are often encouraged to submit early in order to allow time to make any corrections, if they are necessary.
The federal government could reduce the number of errors that pop up with these checks if it would simplify forms that people must submit. It is frustrating to struggle with filling out a confusing form only to have it returned because of some minor error.
One has to wonder why some of these forms were developed. They often require far too much irrelevant information, thus increasing the likelihood the forms won't be filled out correctly.