Every now and then, minor or major accidents take place in the interiors and exteriors of a place, along with incidents of emotional or mental disturbances, resulting in personal injuries. To help such people get compensated against the mistake of the person responsible for the accident/incident, lawyers come forward for providing personal injury litigation support. However, they need accurate medical records for winning the trial, and medical record retrieval is a labor-intensive and time-consuming process.
Apart from this, a good amount of expertise and experience are needed to retrieve, secure, and organize the sheer volume of medical data. The following strategies will help the attorneys and paralegals in not only reducing the time and efforts for retrieving medical records but costs as well.
8 Tips to Streamline the Medical Record Retrieval Process:
1. Get Proper Authorization
This is not just true for retrieving medical records but for executing any legal task. Patient permission is imperative for obtaining medical records since every medical service provider demands a copy of the complaint authorized by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) in order to release the information after it is signed by the complainant or the person having legal power of attorney.
It is advised to get a permission form signed by the complainant in the minimum possible time. However, there are a lot of other authorizations needed by the medical service providers as per their specific rules and one needs to meet every specification to start the medical record retrieval process.
2. Make an Error-Free Request
Make sure that the request you are sending is error-free since a single error may lead to a delay in getting the request processed. This includes taking care of the complainant’s name and address, along with the minutest of details in the information provided in the form. We are aware of the fact that this process consumes a lot of time of attorneys, and mistakes like these can delay things even more, including case preparation and presentation, leading to hampering the image of attorneys eventually, which no attorney ever wants.
3. Ensure the Right Price
It is a known fact that the medical record retrieval process is an expensive one. Although it is a regular thing for attorneys to go through, they must ensure that the medical service providers are not charging an ‘unreasonable fee’. Despite the fact that HIPAA has provided guidelines to the providers to charge fairly, a lot of instances of ‘overcharging’ have been witnessed in the past. So, make sure you do not make the expensive process even more expensive by not ensuring the right price.
4. Send the Request to the Correct Address
If you do not wish to add more burden to your medical record retrieval process, make sure you are sending the request to the correct address by finding out about the department from where you wish to collect the medical records’ information. Once you are able to identify and locate the correct department, place a call to verify the details for sending a request to the correct address.
5. Evaluate the Records You Need
You should clearly evaluate the medical records you need in the trial as spending time on collecting unrelated records is not at all a wise thing to do as there are expenses associated with the same. So, make sure you specify the record types that you need, be it radiology, medications, and more.
6. Follow up on the Requests Placed Regularly
It is vital to follow up on the request placed by you for obtaining medical records within the stipulated time. The reason being this process has been an arduous and slow process over the years. As per the Federal Law, requests must be met by the organizations within 30 days of providing a record request receipt. There is no harm in sending a gentle reminder to the providers to speed up the process. If an online portal is available, you must get registered on it to track the status of your request from time to time.
7. Organize Medical Records Well
After obtaining the medical records, it is imperative that you organize the medical records in a proper way to use them effectively. These records are varied and comprise information related to billing, patient history, medications, lab tests, physician orders, treatments, and more. When records are organized appropriately, they present a plain view of the medical history of the complainant, facilitating the medical chart reviewing. This enables attorneys to find the information quickly for preparing and presenting the case.
8. Seek Technology Help
In the present scenario of digitalization and modernization, technology plays a huge role in streamlining the business processes. If we talk about the medical record retrieval process, automation is possible for sure. You just need to select the right service provider for having a fast turnaround time through automation.
After receiving the medical records, technology in the form of optical character recognition (OCR) and artificial intelligence (AI) can help attorneys in locating and organizing the information quickly and accurately. This is extremely helpful when attorneys have multiple personal injury cases to deal with, and this is the only reason that technology is not an option anymore but a necessity for today’s attorneys.
This clearly proves that the medical record retrieval process is a complicated one that consumes a lot of time and effort of the attorneys. With multiple medical service providers out there and each having its unique set of rules, things become even more complicated. To add to this burden is the responsibility of retrieving, organizing, and managing the information for case preparation and presentation. So, is there a way to reduce this excessive workload of attorneys?
Yes, by joining hands with Legal Support World (LSW), a litigation services company, attorneys can eliminate and save time against their time-intensive and non-core tasks. LSW is a renowned outsourcing firm that has been providing legal support services to personal injury and other lawyers since 2008. Get in touch to start your free trial!