By Outsourcing Medical Records Requests, Family Medicine Clinic Reduces FTE Count
Payoff: lower administrative costs, faster turnaround, and more time for patients
Detweiler Family Medicine & Associates
- Administrative costs associated with patient records requests
- 1- to 2-week delay in request fulfillment
Outsourced ROI requests to RRS Medical
- Requests fulfilled in 3 days versus 14 days
- 15% reduction in phone calls
- 100% patient satisfaction
- Reduced administrative burden
Detweiler Family Medicine, a family practice clinic with nine licensed, board-certified health practitioners, was busy enough with patient care. Yet the clinic, which served two Pennsylvania counties, also dealt with never-ending requests from patients and other parties seeking access to medical records. While important, these information requests taxed the staff and led to problematic delays for the patients, lawyers and insurance companies needing the requested information. According to Office Manager Lynda Bast, “Our turnaround times were sometimes out seven to 10 days, and we were getting complaints from patients.” Detweiler made a strategic decision to outsource its release of information (ROI) activity to RRS Medical, which eased the burden on staff, improved turnaround times, and created financial savings for the clinic.
Patients and related parties request medical records for a variety of reasons, resulting in multiple administrative actions each day. Administrative staff at the clinic already had a myriad of responsibilities related to patient care, and although the clinic had a full-time person managing medical records and completing ROI requests, she simply couldn’t keep up. “Despite being very capable and committed, our records person was always behind,” said Bast. “Patients were often frustrated—and so were we.”
With administrative costs exceeding the clinic’s target budget, management knew that it wasn’t ideal to carry the cost of a dedicated staff person to handle records requests. Yet without a dedicated resource, the responsibility would fall to an already stretched staff. And delays were negatively impacting the timing of provider referrals, disability benefits, drivers’ licenses, and FAA flight physicals for Detweiler’s patients. Meanwhile, the steady flood of ROI requests continued to pour in.
After reviewing several outsourcing options, the clinic ultimately selected RRS Medical. “Our vetting process confirmed that RRS Medical would be best able to meet our needs around automating the records request process,” said Bast. “Their set-up was fast, and the transition went very smoothly.”
Using technology that incorporates patient privacy requirements into every step of the process, RRS Medical is able to accept requests from patients in a variety of ways. Often, patients call the clinic to request records, in which case they are seamlessly connected to an RRS representative. Patients and third parties can also request records via email and fax, with patients having the additional option of requesting records via a link to RRS Medical’s online portal.
RRS is also able to securely access Detweiler’s EHR system, which allows them to notate records releases directly in the patient’s electronic chart.
“Patients have very valid reasons for being upset when record requests aren’t completed in a timely fashion,” Bast added. “Before RRS, I was fielding complaints on a regular basis. Now there simply aren’t any. Outsourcing has saved us time, money and stress.”
FASTER TURNAROUND TIMES. ROI requests under RRS are fulfilled in an average of three days, compared to up to two weeks previously.
FEWER DISTRACTIONS. With ROI requests being automatically routed to RRS Medical, Detweiler has reduced the number of incoming patient calls by 15 percent.
FEWER COMPLAINTS. Since outsourcing to RRS, patient complaints have been eliminated.
COMPLIANCE ASSURANCE. Request fulfillment is always HIPAA-compliant.
REDUCED COSTS. Detweiler found outsourcing to be considerably less expensive than using staff to manage ROI.
“Before RRS, I was fielding complaints on a regular basis. Now there simply aren’t any. Outsourcing has saved us time, money and stress.”
~ Lynda Bast, Office Manager, Detweiler Family Medicine