Physicians and hospitals in New York are required to maintain adult patient records for at least six years. Still, accessing those medical records can be more difficult than one might expect, especially if your healthcare provider hasn’t made the switch to digitized recordkeeping.
According to Reuters, less than one third of U.S. hospitals can locate, send, and receive electronic medical records for patients who receive care elsewhere. Doctors often resort to re-ordering tests when records cannot be found, which causes delays in care and wastes clinical staff time. Some companies are working to combat the issue of lost medical records by digitizing the transfer and release of patient data.
What is the cause of lost medical records?
For decades, the health care industry has relied on faxed-based technology to transmit records, with 15 billion faxed pages being transmitted each year, according to a press release from Credo Health, a company working to automate digital medical record retrieval.
One of the most common Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violations is exceeding the timescale for providing patient records.
“Most pitfalls have to do with the high utilization of phone and fax to retrieve medical records. Most providers lose track of requests or get overwhelmed with too many requests and can’t keep up. This has only become worse over the last two years due to staffing shortages,” explained Credo Founder and CEO Carm Huntress.
Even if a delay in providing patient records does not constitute a HIPAA violation, the consequences can still be felt: 30% of tests are reordered because results cannot be found, which can lead to redundant tests or missed diagnoses and treatments.
Related: Finger Lakes Health reaches crisis point in elder and mental health care amid staffing shortages
Why is digital better than physical medical records?
Digital medical recordkeeping brings health care into the modern age. Transmitting records via fax machines is an outdated and antiquated practice, yet it is still the primary method of recordkeeping used by many health care providers.
Clearly, there is a need for a more modern, streamlined approach that prioritizes patients and simplifies the record retrieval process.
Credo seeks to solve the issue of lost medical records by automating the entire process of record retrieval for health care providers, patients, and insurance providers.
“We do this by using new digital on-ramps provided by the 21st Century Cures Act that enable direct digital access to patients’ medical records,” said Huntress. “Our system works universally across all users. It takes requests to get records for a particular patient or member of a health plan. Then, our team supports them through the process of gaining access to their historical medical record data. We ensure it’s sent to the right provider or payer so they can better treat that patient with their complete medical record.”
Credo’s pricing is “based on success, not pages.” That means the company charges customers a one-time flat fee only if they are able to retrieve patient records. If they are unable to do so, you won’t have to pay.
In May, Credo will announce its first provider partners at an event in Florida. You can visit the Credo Health website to request a product demo and learn more.