Outsourcing – A Better Way to manage (parts) of your law practice

outsourcing ImageSay the word outsource, and depending on your age and occupation, it brings back bad memories. Back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and depending on the business you were in, primarily those with call center operations, looked to lower costs by outsourcing, or more accurately, offshoring certain business operations. Those jobs went to mostly countries where labor rates were substantially lower, and as it turned out in most cases, so was the quality of work.

When consumers, business partners and clients all began to complain about this lack of quality, some companies, slow to reverting back in in-country call centers, were lost forever. Venerable IT companies like Wang, Sun Microsystems, consumer businesses such as Linens ‘n Things and Radio Shack who were unable to bring back those higher costs of customer service simply went out of business over time.

So as reflexes took over, fewer and fewer of those customer facing businesses outsourced their call centers overseas, but instead began to use alternatives including on-demand, work from home resources. These were often stay-at-home parents, with time available while school age children were in school. In the case of Amazon.com, these on-demand resources could offer customers a pleasant experience, and offer an incentive such as $10 off your next order for the inconvenience was pretty common.

When you talk to CIOs of large law firms, they prefer any words to outsourcing, but instead prefer off-site resources, on-demand personnel, job-sharing, and the like. It’s a good way to be honest about contracting out work, without invoking those past bad memories.

Yet, when it comes to certain aspects of managing a law practice, there remains some areas that could and should be used exclusively on an outsourced basis. Medical record retrieval is at the top of that list. There are three simple components to why this makes sense and who benefits:

  1. In House Resources – This may sound like the same old song, but it is something that firms that practice Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice, Mass Torts and Class actions for pharma and medical device litigation must embrace or lose efficiencies. Consider the fully-burdened rate of a paralegal in a major city, inclusive of salary, paid vacation days, sick days, 401K contribution matching, on top of their salary and the firm’s share of unemployment insurance. Write that number down, and multiply by the number of hours that the one employee is chasing healthcare providers for records vs the amount of revenue those same hours could be used on billable work. In house management of medical records is a lose-lose when it comes to using internal resources.
  2. Ownership and Compliance – When you engage a Medical Records Retrieval company, you are in fact empowering them to handle each step from requesting records, to follow up communications, to securing “no records found” certificates, and optional services such as Bates Stamping, Record Summarization, Indexing or Hyperlinking. When completed, a single invoice is applied to the matter which keeps the firm in compliance with HIPAA rules. This presents itself quite often when the HIPAA release form is signed during the on-boarding process, while the client continues to receive treatment. The healthcare provider may insist on a current HIPAA release form, if the previous version is 6-9-12 months old. In sum, ownership and management of records to being compliant with HIPAA guidelines becomes the responsibility of the Record Retrieval Company, not the firm.
  3. Employee Morale and Client Satisfaction – I’ve combined these two threads together because in both cases we can point to the use of outsourced Medical Record Retrieval as a means to accomplish two tasks.
    1. Employees have earned their titles and responsibilities through education and hard work. They expect to do the work for which they trained, not the chores of calling, tracking, calling, getting a no record found, getting a request for a new HIPAA release form, and the responsibility for what many consider to be purely administrative tasks.
    2. Fast Records = Fast Settlements. Professional Medical Record Retrieval specialists have the process, the contacts, and the experience to get to end of job in half the time of in-house resources. They are motivated to act swiftly, since they realize that, especially when the firm’s fees for a case is a contingency-based. In addition, and specifically in CA, fees charged for pro bono work using internal resources may not be considered passable if the case is lost. Trying to recover those internal overhead fees is simply a waste of time.

The bottom line: Whether you call it outsourcing, contract work, on-demand resources or any other name, in the end it is the single most non-IT related decision a law firm can make in order to practice better and improve their bottom line, their employee morale, and the client satisfaction.

Record Retrieval Solutions (RRS) has enacted a first-of-a-kind model for pricing Medical Record Retrieval. We call it “Fair Pricing”. The “Fair Pricing” model gives you the opportunity of saving money as more and more healthcare providers move to Electronic Health Records. RRS leverages those savings of eliminating printed record management and tracking, generate a flat fee per order, and provide optional services at a substantial savings. Learn more about RRS Fair Pricing at https://goo.gl/gIEPOJ

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, and please feel free to ask any questions. We appreciate your feedback, likes, shares and comments.

Chuck Dart is the President of Record Retrieval Solutions and has been in the industry for more than 25 years. He is highly sought after for his insights into electronic health record trends and directions. Contact Chuck at [email protected] or call him at 866-211-7866.