Medical records retrieval is a vital process for healthcare providers and insurance companies, but it’s something that takes a fair bit of time due to the sensitive nature of the information involved. That’s why it’s so important to have a clearly defined plan for requesting and managing records retrievals, which includes full end-to-end processing and auditing.
Here are seven tips to help you ensure the process goes smoothly:
#1. Get things right the first time
There’s always a possibility for human error when requesting medical records. For instance, filling out a form incorrectly or using the wrong form can result in lengthy delays and, in certain cases, a breach of compliance. Everything needs to be completed per the demands of HIPAA regulations, so it’s important to double-check everything you send before it’s too late.
#2. Send requests to the right place
Larger organizations often have multiple locations where they might need to submit medical request forms. Some even use multiple third parties for handling requests. The process can get even more complicated if you have multiple branches that don’t have an effective method for exchanging information. To avoid this, always confirm you’re sending requests to the right place — ask another manager to examine the request and location to be on the safe side.
#3. Make sure the price is right
Retrieving medical records can be expensive, and when it’s a regular part of doing business, it’s important to ensure the price is reasonable. While HIPAA prevents providers from charging “unreasonable” fees, it isn’t very clear on exactly where the threshold lies. You’ll also want to pay for services on demand, so it’s good to have a set fee per records retrieval request.
#4. Follow up late requests
By law, medical providers have up to 30 calendar days to get a medical record back to you, as long as you’ve provided the right information to support the request. If your medical records retrieval company is using current health information technology for its everyday operations, the process should be quick. Even if there is a delay, it’s a good idea to keep track of the progress and follow up with the medical records retrieval company near the deadline.
#5. Keep a full audit trail of your requests
Delays happen, but some records retrieval organizations are less efficient than others. There’s also always a risk of a compliance failure, so you should be mindful of which partners you choose. If ever a dispute arises after making a request, or there’s an unreasonable delay, you should be able to support any complaint you might have to make. This requires keeping a full audit trail of requests and up-to-date contact information for any parties concerned.
#6. Automate the process with technology
Retrieving medical records has traditionally been a time-consuming task, but automating the process with current technologies can make things go much faster. Even once you’ve received the records requested, it often takes a long time to locate the information you need. For larger operations, artificial intelligence (AI) and optical character recognition (OCR) technology can sort through and organize repositories of records of virtually any size. This helps you find and obtain the correct records faster, as well as keep you informed about the status of the request.
#7. Outsource records retrieval
Outsourcing records retrieval to a single organization that can handle all requests saves you a lot of time and money. With online ordering and transparent pricing, you’ll be able to track requests and have them dealt with faster. For example, our records retrieval service boasts an average retrieval time of 12 days, with all records being delivered through a secure, HIPAA-compliant online portal for immediate download.
Records Retrieval Solutions serves companies throughout the United States to find and deliver medical records to your law firm promptly and without hidden costs. Call us today to learn more.