Electronic retrieval and management of client medical records is vital in law firms handling medical litigation. This system can save time, cost and liability for missed deadlines. For instance, take the case of a law firm comprising 30 to 40 attorneys practicing in various areas of law such as consumer fraud, personal injury, toxic tort, and mass tort pharmaceutical cases. The number of medical records they may have to handle may be voluminous. Moreover, these detailed records may have to be obtained from numerous sources to complete trial preparation. Problems largely arise from issues such as the sheer volume of the records, tracking them, accounting and lack of time.
In many ways, it is advisable to outsource the records retrieval process to a dependable service provider. Let us consider why.
- Reduce labor, benefit from specialized services: The process of retrieving records is labor and time intensive. If you go for an internal solution, it may increase the load of your IT resources. On the other hand, outsourced suppliers specialize in this type of work and can distribute their expertise and provider contact experience across many clients.
- Reduce cost: With the process outsourced, you can avoid investing money in acquiring and maintaining an automated system. The retrieval fees charged by the record retrieval company would cover expertise in operating the system and related costs.
- Avoid training personnel: You don’t need to train existing in-house personnel, or recruit new staff for retrieving the required records.
When settling for an outsourcing provider, carefully balance the costs and challenges involved against the provider’s per-transaction fee. Consider also their competence in delivering the required records for review in a timely manner. Here are some other vital characteristics to look for in your partnering firm:
- Good reputation
- Speedy turnaround
- Online, web-based services
- Cost-effective service
- Real time status tracking
- Simple, intuitive interface
While the above qualities are must-haves, it would be extra beneficial if your provider can offer the following as well.
- OCR technology – to ensure searchable documents with capabilities of annotation.
- Case management system interface – capability to interface with your in-house proprietary case management system will facilitate ordering and receiving the medical records without ever leaving your electronic case files.
- Consolidation of records – if multiple records for a client can be consolidated and indexed into one complete indexed record, it will ensure easier medical record review and case preparation.
- System flexibility – ideally, their system should be flexible enough to improve or modify in keeping with your user experience and feedback.
Look also for expert services such as record sorting and indexing, medical reports, chronologies and summaries, document coding, pages and Bates stamping, missing record searches, and records backup and storage. Surely, medical records retrieval services will help attorneys streamline their practices. Select an outsourcing provider carefully and objectively to make sure that your firm maintains a cutting edge.