Most paper-based healthcare facilities struggle to establish a medical record retrieval process that works. The retrieval process is uniquely fraught with challenges and that process is exacerbated when a facility's legacy records exist solely in physical form. Often a record is needed within minutes for immediate patient care.
Two of the most important goals of an HIM department, security and accessibility, are diametrically opposed.
So, how do you create a solution that works?
- When records are managed by the facility
Facilities that manage their own records often rely on storage units in remote areas of the hospital or in off-site . This requires that a member of the staff leave the premises to locate and retrieve a record. This may include lifting and rearranging heavy boxes and sorting through possibly hundreds of records all the while rushing to return to the facility. Depending on a facility's storage protocol, the records may be disorganized, difficult to locate, and even more difficult to refile appropriately.
What is the ideal solution?
There are solutions that can help you maintain compliance and make retrieval easier for everyone involved:
- Consider using outside vendors. The money you think you’re saving by managing your record storage internally can quickly disappear with one HIPAA fine, or a worker’s compensation claim for an injury due to lifting heavy storage boxes. Not to mention, the hard-to-quantify expense of worry and mismanagement.
- Work with vendors who specialize in medical records storage. Vendors who specialize in medical records storage will understand your unique challenges in transmitting, transporting and guarding medical files. You won’t have to bring them up to speed on compliance, patient confidentiality or the need for speedy retrieval and transmission of records.
- Make sure you speak the same language. Talking with someone who understands the medical records lingo is a completely different experience than trying to explain what you need to a generalized vendor. Your problem is not simply “finding a place to put boxes.” Your problem is finding a HIPAA compliant space to store medical records in a manner in which they can be quickly retrieved.
If you're interested in learning more about compliant storage of your records, download our free white paper: HIPAA Compliance & Medical Records Management.
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Don't hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have about storage of your medical records.