MODERN MEDICAL RECORDS RETRIEVAL SERVICE – AUTOMATION, COMPLIANCE, SAVINGS
The modern Medical Records Retrieval (MRR) service is a combination of modern web-based technology and a rules-compliant outsource solution. Historically lawyers and their staff would have to set aside a portion of their time, often a lot of time, to capture necessary information for cases that involved medical records. It’s not that the process is complex. Quite the contrary, every attorney, paralegal, and litigation-support person knows exactly what needs to be done.
It may appear simple, but it is a very manually intensive process. Someone at the firm must acknowledge the need for the records. Necessary forms must be completed to ensure compliance with a myriad of laws (including HIPAA), which the firm and often the patient (who may or may not be the firm’s client) תאונת עבודה would need to initiate a request. Then, the firm must track the progress of the request, and eventually receive, review, and organize the results, or note that there were no medical records available related to the matter.
To support the business of running a law practice, sophisticated and affordable software tools include new client/business intake, workflow automation, and conflicts management. Vendors who provide early case assessment tools and e-discovery-based technology-assisted review have begun to offer solutions for small firm and solo practitioners. In this article, we will show you how you can improve productivity, lower costs, and better manage billing for MRR expenses.
How Medical Records Retrieval Services Work
Here’s how a typical MRR service works for a small firm/solo practice. One of the firm’s employees logs into a secure, encrypted website. He or she then submits an order outlining the patient’s information, the records being requested, and any other data necessary to complete the request. What happens next is truly a game-changing activity. Instead of the firm’s billable resources chasing record requests from hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers, they go back to doing other, productive work, while the MRR process self-executes, and eventually provides you with the requested information and documents or informs you that there were no responsive documents.
Questions Regarding MRR Services
The availability of MRR services presents all attorneys, but especially solo and small firms, with the following important questions:
• How do you start with an MRR service?
• How are the record requests processed?
• Is this process HIPAA-compliant?
• When and how am I alerted to the status of my requests?
• How do I distribute the costs/fees associated with outsourcing medical records retrieval?
Choosing Your MRR Provider
To reduce the risk of choosing the wrong MRR service, consider the following best practices:
1) Ensure that the MRR service can prove secure access to its website (and your records) via a login and password.
2) Understand the MRR service’s processes to ensure protection of privacy.
3) Understand its service level agreements, which explain their process and anticipated turnaround time.
4) Verify that the MRR service has experience with expediting record requests by requesting a list of reference clients.
5) Review the process by which you and/or your staff are notified of updates, including record availability or notice of “no record found.”
6) Ask for the MRR service’s price schedule, preferably in a format that will permit you to do an apples-to-apples comparison of the fees of other MRR services.
When possible, a dedicated MRR service is a better choice than a firm that offers a multitude of legal practice services of which records retrieval is only a small subset of their overall business.
Getting Started with the MRR Provider
Upon choosing your MRR provider, the steps to starting to work with the provider are straightforward and similar to those when signing up with any on-line type of service:
• The firm identifies the approved personnel who are authorized to access the secure system.
• A unique user ID is created for the firm at this time, with a strong password required for all future access.
• Often, this is also the time that billing information is provided, and thus a financial account with the firm and MRR is created for future invoicing.
• Each authorized person completes a new user profile and sign-on request. The user must provide email and phone contact information.
• It is the responsibility of the law firm to notify the MRR as soon as possible in the event that an existing authorized user should be removed from the access control. The MRR should remedy and respond as soon as the user access has been removed.
• While the use of the MRR site should be quite easy for most users with minimal training, additional site support generally is available from the MRR’s services personnel via phone or email request.
No matter how beneficial the technology, the firm must ensure compliance of federal and state HIPAA guidelines and any ethical rules about maintaining client confidences. Therefore, they must ensure that the MRR service collects, hosts, and provides access to client(s) records while maintaining compliance with privacy guidelines. Note: This should be part of your due diligence when selecting a provider.
The MRR Service should comply with Federal and state privacy laws. MRR services should keep up to date with changing rules of privacy such as the HITECH Act.
MRR agreements should expressly state that no personally identifiable health information (PHI) can ever be used for non-business related activities such as marketing and/or sales lead generation.