A patient healthcare record pertaining to any medical specialty is used for clinical reference, treatment planning, medical billing purposes and as medical records. Handwritten/typed medical records are often associated with issues such as incompleteness, data entry bias and prejudice. Now, with the entry and popularity of electronic medical records it is expected that these issues will be successfully addressed and the accuracy as well as objectivity will increase. EHRs are expected to make the process of medical record review for attorneys more effective and accurate. Attorneys handling medical litigation are supported by medical review teams that include legal nurse consultants or registered nurse consultants. These personnel play a vital role in deciding the merits of a medical malpractice claim. Attorneys can obtain the following services from them:
- Medical record organization, Bates stamping or indexing of all medical records.
- Clear transcription of illegible medical records so that the attorney can understand the relevant medical facts.
- Identifying and tracing missing records if any.
- Preparation of a medical chronology that highlights and summarizes the main medical events and encounters.
- Identifying the strengths and weaknesses of a particular case.
- Reviewing the reports and depositions of opposing expert and preparing interrogatories.
- Deposition and trial preparation.
- Preparing a written report.
Medical case chronology is a valuable tool for an attorney having to review a complex case that involves multiple healthcare providers or facilities. A well-drafted chronology condenses the information contained in thousands of medical records into a clear and easy-to-read report that focuses on the significant medical events.
A medical record review company employing registered nurse consultants can be especially beneficial for the attorney because every case is unique and requires to be evaluated in an individualized manner. Facts such as medical history, family and social history, current medications, allergies, individual response to medical interventions, co-morbidities, presenting complaints and so on are unique to each patient and have to be reviewed carefully. This is best done by personnel knowledgeable in the medical review process because even given standards may need to be modified to suit the uniqueness of a particular patient’s needs. An expert reviewer will be able to analyze the specifics and determine the course of action that an ordinary, knowledgeable physician should have taken in specific circumstances. The medical chart review is therefore best done by a team comprising medical personnel familiar with the overall process of patient care in diverse healthcare settings, and understands the overall healthcare system.
Reliable medical record review services will enable attorneys to identify merit and causation. They can clearly understand the strengths and weaknesses of the case and any deviation that may have occurred from the standards of care. The summaries they receive will be concise, accurate, as well as easy-to-read and understand. A skilled medical review team will convert the complex medical chart replete with technical and scientific jargon into simple English.
Attorneys relying on expert medical review services can save time and effort, and stay assured that they have all the medical facts relevant to their case clearly laid out, and that no critical information that may affect the merits of the case is missing.