Although not well known outside the healthcare industry, companies providing the release of information have been present for nearly twenty years. Initially, logistics proved to be the most difficult aspect of the process. Typically, positions currently being outsourced are in billing or collection on a part-time or contractual basis. Outsourcing to a data technology firm provides a cost savings to medical practices allowing a smaller investment, being they do not need as many in house employees. Janine Akers, Managing Partner of Datafile Technologies, an outsourcing company specializing in the release of information for medical practices says, “Think of outsourcing as similar to an application on your smart phone. It’s not required that you download the application to run the phone, but once you do, the phone works faster and more efficiently.”
Outsourcing has many benefits, such as: the economic plus of saving the practice money, a higher level of integrity for the office and the transfer of HIPAA liabilities. Outside parties, such as Datafile Technologies, find they can hire a team of specialists for less overhead than employing a full time position. Akers states, “When you outsource information, the number of errors is reduced because the outsourcing firm not only has more people double checking the information, but the firm takes ownership of the job because their client relationship depends on it.”
So, how does this relate to the patient: If an organization decides to outsource, but retain employees formerly in charge of the release of information, this staff could be better utilized answering phones or working with checking in/out patients. This leads to a better patient experience and higher patient satisfaction ratings due to fewer hold times and more personal attention. Additionally, Akers noted that outsourcing companies have a 24-hour turnaround time, while in house can take 7 to 10 days. With information turned around this quickly, companies such as insurance providers are able to process claims faster and medical providers are paid in a more timely fashion. Patients can subsequently receive compensation or copies of their records for possible legal issues more quickly.
Overall, outsourcing medical records can decrease cost, increase security, raise integrity and transfer HIPAA liability away from the providers themselves. Outsourcing decreases the amount of time for processing insurance claims and allows patients to receive medical record and insurance payments more quickly. These aspects combine to produce a more positive patient experience.