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Different Types of Records That Law Firms Need to Index

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While handling lawsuits that involve medical elements, let that be personal injury, medical malpractice or workers’ compensation, an attorney has to get the patient’s medical records reviewed by a professional service provider. Medical records organization and indexing services are available that enable attorneys to work with organized records and clearly understand the sequence of various medical encounters and events.

Professionally sorted records help attorneys to

  • Access details quickly and efficiently in a single click
  • Easily identify providers, timelines and all details crucial to the case
  • Cut down on workload and save time for case evaluations
  • Find relevant details from a huge amount of electronic records

Medical records indexing and sorting services also include adding bookmarks and hyperlinks to make navigation and document review simpler and faster than ever for legal firms. Records in PDF format can be organized with hyperlinks to allow navigation to specific source pages, and bookmarks to allow organization by user-defined categories.

Diverse Medical Records

Law firms often have to index different types of records including Physician Notes, Emergency Department Reports, Medication Administration Records, Diagnostic Tests and more.

All these reports will have dates of services provided and a number assigned to the location where the records are stored, which will be indexed as well. Experienced legal nurse consultants often recommend adding diagnoses to indexes, as it helps them to quickly identify which set of records contains important information. It is also important to create indexes in alphabetical order or chronological order, as you don’t have to look through every binder to locate the admission you want.

Radiographs

Radiograph index mainly includes all films and disks of radiographs, including x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds and more. The index contains

  • dates of service
  • type of radiograph
  • location where the radiograph was obtained, and
  • whether the radiograph was produced as a film or digitally

For radiographs produced as films, the index should identify the number of films and for digitally produced radiographs, a number is assigned to each disk of radiographs. It is recommended to add the time of the study to identify the sequence of medical events and identify the ordering physicians. The radiograph index can be in chronological order, location-based, or based on the type of study.

Pathology Specimens

Tissues that are collected for diagnostic or therapeutic reasons are also sent to pathology laboratory for examination, which is referred to as pathology specimens. For lawsuit purposes, pathology specimens are indexed by dates of service, the location where the specimens were obtained, and the specimen number. It is also ideal to add the ordering and interpreting physician’s details.

Pleadings

Pleadings refer to specific documents filed by any of the parties with the court during a lawsuit. This is a public record unless sealed by the court. Pleadings are usually indexed by paralegals, legal secretaries or legal nurse consultants. These documents are usually filed in reverse chronological order and indexed by ascending numbers assigned by the law firm. The most recent pleading is placed on top of earlier pleadings. A pleadings index is a typed list of the pleadings in a table format.

An index table usually has four columns that include these column headings:

  1. Tab Numbers – the numbers assigned to each pleading
  2. Filing Party – which party filed the pleading: plaintiff or defendant
  3. Description – title of the pleading: Order or Notice of Deposition
  4. Date Filed/Received – date the document was entered, or received

As the case develops, more pleadings need to be prepared and it is important to add them to the index and file promptly. Paralegals or a medical record review company performing the task for attorneys must ensure that the pleading file is up to date particularly before any scheduled events in the case.

Systematic organization of records involves creating and embedding hyperlinks and bookmarking in chronological, record or provider type which helps to develop the case. Records can be organized based on categories such as document type, provider and facilities or location, which supports speedy review and analysis.

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