Increasingly, personal injury law firms and specifically mass tort departments find themselves working with virtual companies and / or adding a virtual component to their practice. This allows staff to focus on other aspects of their case load and other operational functions. Medical records are essential for personal injury cases, and a smooth and timely process is important to ensure proper discovery. Therefore, medical records management outsourcing adds a professional process to personal injury law firms.
Outsourced Medical Records Management: How Can a Virtual Team Help?
Customer Questionnaires – In most cases, the discovery process begins when customers complete a customer questionnaire. The tasks of contacting customers and completing the questionnaire over the phone can be outsourced to a virtual team. This will include calling the client to discover key medical items, such as physician information, including dates of visits, dates of surgery, and / or use of relevant medications. This will allow paralegals within the law firm time to focus on other tasks and will save the firm time and money in the early stages of the case.
Medical Record Retrieval – After medical and provider information has been collected and the client has obtained a HIPAA authorization form, the medical record retrieval process can begin. This process includes the applicant submitting HIPAA form requests to healthcare organizations, including information release, medical information management, and medical records departments. The recovery method will depend on the processes and policies of the department or organization. In some cases, the application can be faxed, and in other cases, applications must be submitted with an original signature. Outsourcing the recovery process can be an advantage for most law firms because the process can be time consuming and is an important part of winning cases.
Call tracking to alleviate backlog – A large part of medical record retrieval and management is the outbound call process. Multiple follow-up calls must be made. This is another key area in which outsourcing will help alleviate backlogs between the legal and administrative staff of the law firm. This process is twofold:
1. Make follow-up calls to applicants to first ensure receipt of application and stay on top of work flow and estimated time of arrival of records. In some cases, this can mean 2 to 10 calls per month.
2. Second, the follow-up call secures or discovers any missing information or the need to resubmit the records. In many cases, health organizations and records departments outsource the records process to a copy service and / or online health portal companies and calls must also be made to these companies. This arduous task can easily be outsourced to help the business.
Eliminate the overwhelming: Working with a virtual support person or team can improve the morale of law firms. If your paralegal staff is overwhelmed, outsourcing some of their tasks can help ease your workload and reduce staff overload. This includes the process of retrieving medical records in whole or in part. Ultimately, this will help with billing and create a sustainable business.
Adding a virtual component to your law firm’s strategy is a great way to position your firm for growth and additional competitive advantage. The conversation should start with your team. Talk to your case managers and paralegals. Discuss with them the benefits of outsourcing the medical records process.