Decoding or interpreting medical records could prove challenging even for experienced attorneys. Personal injury, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation, and product liability cases involve a medical component as well that is most important in such cases. Most attorneys prefer to work with medical review companies to bring more professionalism into the review process and obtain the required medical evidence within the required turnaround time. This evidence is essential to develop the case and prepare the best argument.
Medical Record Organization – an All-important First Step
A clear-cut process for reviewing the medical records is vital for any legal team to ensure that all required evidence is available. Collecting the relevant medical documents and medical record organization are the most important initial steps. Here are some important considerations when it comes to requesting and analyzing medical records for a particular case.
- The attorney needs to know what documents are necessary.
- It is also important to understand the contents of a medical record because only then can you determine if something is missing.
- Attorneys or paralegals organizing the medical records must also understand what the injury or malpractice is, how it has affected the plaintiff, and what the plaintiff thinks went wrong.
Organizing the medical records is something not to be ignored, so it is best to spend quality time on this activity. Attorneys may have to refer to these records over the lifetime of the case and so it is vital that they are well-organized, indexed, and Bates-stamped. When the records are clearly labeled, it is easy for counsel to identify what the document is all about.
Before having a medical expert review the records, the medical records should ideally be organized in a logical order. Attorneys and law firms can avoid the tasks of organizing the medical records in-house and finding a medical expert to review the records by opting for reliable medical review solutions. Medical review firms have advanced technology and other resources in place to organize and index the medical records accurately, and review them efficiently.
It Helps Identify Additional Documents Required
Additional documents may be needed for the case, as may be revealed during the medical document and review process. These documents are not usually provided with the set of requested records, and include billing records, autopsy records, pharmacy records, emergency room records, operating room logs, lab logs, radiology documents and so on. It is best that such records that may be vital for the case are secured at the earliest and reviewed. The fact that such records are missing can be identified only if the medical records are organized as early in the case as possible.
- Thus, well-organized medical records can be quickly reviewed, which improves efficiency and saves the attorney valuable time and money.
- Documents that may not be relevant for the case can be identified and skipped over so that the medical case chronology can be made available at an early stage itself.
- Medical records that are well-arranged and indexed enable the attorney to prepare questions for depositions, replying to motions, discovery, and so on.
- Most importantly, properly arranged medical records help counsel to read and understand the important aspects of the case in hand.
It is a fact that for the medical chronology to be logically prepared so that it helps understand the facts clearly and ensure complete discovery, the medical records must be properly organized and indexed. Chronologies assist attorneys in pre-trial motions, preparing for depositions, responding to motions, during settlement discussions, and during trial.
Given the importance of proper medical record organization from the points of view of both the legal team and the medical review expert, it is prudent to have it done professionally with the support of a record review firm. This will ensure that the medical records are properly arranged and indexed. As mentioned earlier, organized and complete medical records will save time and money while also speeding up the expert record review process. For counsel, streamlined medical records will provide a better and clearer view of the case that is so important to present the case in court and obtain justice for their clients.