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Medical record retrieval is an essential service for people who have to collect medical records for specific patient needs, clinical verification, follow-up procedures, collaborative clinical management, and medical research. Medical record retrieval is also crucial in lawsuits. This article dives into what medical record retrieval services can do for law firms, why this service is important, and how to choose the best medical record retrieval service for your firm.
Medical record retrieval is the process of retrieving all medical documents needed to support a client’s case both for a lawsuit and when filing a claim and negotiating with insurance companies. Over the years, the medical record retrieval process has become more accessible with the influx of technology and companies that specialize as medical record retrieval providers.
Still, the process of placing medical records requests and accessing patient medical records can be highly time-consuming, burdensome, and requires incredible attention to detail. For these reasons, many law firms and other legal practices hire outside medical record retrieval companies experienced with the workflow processes to ensure efficient and accurate medical record retrieval, especially when working on mass torts.
Law firms that hire medical record retrieval companies for this specific task can obtain medical records needed by their firm to advocate for their clients more quickly. They can also obtain more accurate documents and ultimately free up the time of staff, case managers, and lawyers, leading to a more efficient firm.
Medical records include health records, health plans, files, images, or other documents and information created or prepared for a patient by physicians, other care providers, health clinics, hospitals, or healthcare representatives. Most hospitals and doctors are now storing records in a digital format, rather than or in addition to a paper form.
With virtual versions of documents now common, the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) allows hospitals and doctors to more efficiently store and keep track of each patient’s medical records, enabling medical record retrieval companies ready access to medical records needed for law firms. Medical record retrieval specialists have relationships with hospitals, doctors, and healthcare workers to help simplify the process of obtaining a patient’s records if they’re involved in a lawsuit. These companies ensure they act in compliance with both federal and state healthcare laws to secure patient records.
Usually, the process works like this:
Not every vendor uses the same process, but the steps above are typically the most common and thorough methods used to complete the medical record retrieval process for record retrieval solutions.
A medical record retrieval specialist is an expert in procuring specific medical records from the healthcare provider’s central medical record systems and repositories. The specialist also organizes and maintains the health information in both paper files and electronic systems. Their primary role is to ensure the documents are correct and accurate. They also assign codes for insurance reimbursement when needed and keep the client file up-to-date.
Medical research specialists’ duties can include the following:
Medical record retrieval services can save law firms an incredible amount of time and money by allowing them to reallocate tasks, improve the accuracy of received medical records, and more quickly receive the medical records needed for the success of their clients’ cases. Here’s how a medical records retrieval services company can benefit your firm:
In short, medical records services can make your law firm’s life easier with its time-saving and simplified processes. Law firms don’t need to get bogged down with the tedious and challenging nature of medical records retrieval. Instead, professionals exist to take care of this essential task.
Lawyers for both plaintiffs and defendants use medical records to help support their claims. Medical records help create an accurate picture of what the injured party’s health was like before and after the incident and how the injury will affect the party’s health in the long term.
Types of legal practices that benefit from medical records retrieval services are:
With any type of lawsuit involving an injury, medical records will likely be a crucial element of the case. Ensuring you have timely retrieval and organization of these records will help your firm’s attorneys focus on advocating for their clients and being prepared to support their compensation claims.
The unfortunate reality of medical record retrieval is that it’s often difficult to obtain the records, even when patients are fully entitled to access them. Just getting in touch with medical records departments can be challenging, as they are often unreachable by phone–even after multiple attempts.
Additionally, medical records request forms are often confusing, and there’s a risk you might not receive what you need if you complete the request incorrectly. Each facility can have different or inconsistent processes and ways to receive information.
Also, waiting periods can be incredibly long. One of the biggest problems is the lack of transparency throughout the process, making it difficult for people with less experience to get what they need quickly. Sadly, although individuals have the right to access their health information, many barriers exist to exercise those rights easily. The inconsistency in communications, lack of standardized forms, and generally lengthy wait requirements make it difficult for non-experts to retrieve medical records without a streamlined and effective process.
Finally, spending the time to retrieve medical records yourself, unless you have a dedicated in-house team, is taking away precious hours that you could be using to focus on other client needs that you cannot outsource.
People use the terms “electronic medical records” and “electronic health records” (“EMR” and “EHR”) interchangeably, but the difference between the two terms is significant .
The term EMR came first, used by clinicians mainly for diagnosis and treatment. Electronic medical records are digital versions of the paper charts from a clinician’s office. These records include both the medical and treatment history for the patient within a specific practice. They track data over a period of time, identify which patients require preventive screenings and checkups, monitor how patients are performing within particular parameters, and monitor the overall quality of care within the practice.
In contrast, “health” refers to the broader condition of one’s overall wellbeing, including their mind, body, and spirit, and ensuring the patient is free from physical pain or disease. The term “health” intends to cover more territory than the term “medical,” thereby encompassing more than EMRs.
EHRs do everything EMRs do, but more. They include a broader view of the patient’s care, and their creation makes information easily shareable with other health care providers, such as labs and specialists. These records contain all data from all clinicians involved in a patient’s care.
There’s no one way to speed up the process to receive your medical records quickly. The main difficulty of timely retrieval of medical records is contacting and reaching the facilities holding the records. Also, you must figure out the most accurate way to request the information and then follow up to ensure the facility sends you what you need. These tasks can be time-consuming and tedious.
A medical records retrieval specialist who knows and understands best practices and has the right tools to streamline these processes can help, obtaining your much-needed medical records more efficiently and at a quicker pace.
Medical records retrieval costs can vary depending on the following factors:
Regardless, medical records retrieval costs incurred by outsourcing the process will always save your law firm an incredible amount of money by saving you time.
The best medical records retrieval service provider is reliable, consistent, timely, and affordable. The most important factor for any medical records retrieval service is ensuring they provide transparent processes. When selecting a retrieval service, be sure to consider the following factors:
A law firm’s relationship with a medical records retrieval company must be one of trust, transparency, and a strong partnership. You must know that the medical records retrieval service will produce the results you’re looking for and also that you will achieve the needed benefits from the service, including:
Law firms want a dependable, professional, and knowledgeable medical records retriever provider to gather the records they need for their clients in a timely and efficient way. Contact Consumer Attorney Marketing Group today to learn how we can help you with your medical records retrieval needs.
Find out why some of the largest mass tort law firms choose Consumer Attorney Record Services (CARS).
Consumer Attorney Record Services (CARS) offers nationwide medical record retrieval and review by vetted, experienced professionals. Our database of over 90,000 healthcare facilities across the country streamlines the retrieval process. CARS is fully integrated with our Contract Services division so records can be ordered instantly.
Our rapport with large pharmacies, clinics and other healthcare providers allows us to operate quickly and efficiently.
Our secure online portal provides you with 24/7 access to all your medical records to view, download, and print. All records are secured through 256-bit encryption so you can safely transfer records to anyone at any time. With real-time tracking, you can generate reports, review request notes or look at the status of requests at any time.
CARS is HIPAA compliant and meets the highest privacy and security standards. Our staff also offers HITECH and HIPAA consulting.
When you use CAMG for contract processing, we automatically create requests in your online portal, including HIPAA and HITECH documents, saving you time and resources.
Our medical review staff has combined decades of experience, offering reviews and summaries, Bates stamping, Optical Character Scanning (OCR), Chronological Sorting, and Digital Media.
Access client records via our real-time, online database. When we receive the data, we make it available to you.
Consumer Attorney Record Services (CARS) streamlined process and trained staff take the guesswork out of medical record retrieval. CARS is an end-to-end solution partner for all your medical record retrieval needs. No other company offers the same national provider access to over 90,000 facilities. CARS saves you time and money and opens up valuable law firm resources better spent on building your cases.
CARS is a perfect partner for medical record retrieval and your medical record reviews. We understand the needs of law firms with all aspects of litigation whether it is high volume mass tort litigation, personal injury, medical malpractice, disability, or workers compensation claims. CARS supports all legal case types, and provides cost efficient access to all your medical record needs.