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MRA Thought of the Day – A Proven Method for Improving Release of Information Turnaround Time

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Situation:

Kathy Gordon, RHIA, Vice President of Release of Information

Kathy Gordon, RHIA, Vice President of Release of Information

An organization consisting of several facility sites is looking to improve their release of information turnaround time. Although the volume of requests is considerably low at many of the sites, the staff is unable to process them on a timely basis.

The staff at each site has a number of tasks they are required to complete, and in order to remain current with processing requests for health information, the organization chose to outsource the ROI function. Given that the hard copy medical records were retained at each separate facility, the vendor would visit every location on a weekly basis to process, abstract, copy, and prepare the health information for mailing.

In recent years, the hard copy medical record at this particular organization has become completely electronic.

Here are my thoughts…

Now that the organization has an electronic health record, it makes them a perfect candidate for remote release of information processing. Rather than traveling to several different sites a day, the requests can all be processed from one centralized location. The volume of requests or the geographical location of a facility is no longer an issue when the patient’s health information can be accessed remotely.

Remote ROI gives healthcare facilities with lower request volumes the option to have requests processed on a daily basis which goes hand in hand with a better turnaround time.

Although remote processing may be an ideal solution for releasing information from an electronic medical record, there are technical restrictions that must be considered. For example, the IT department needs to be involved during the initial stages and given the workload that most IT departments are currently dealing with; this issue may not be on their radar.

However, once everything is in place, remote ROI processing can be extremely beneficial. Although it is ideal when the records are in an electronic format, remote processing can also be performed when the records are in a hard copy format. The only difference is that the medical record reports will need to be scanned to the central location.

When considering remote ROI processing, the needs of the individual facility should be taken into account to determine whether it is a feasible solution.

What are your thoughts?

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