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How to streamline healthcare medical record retrieval

Healthcare is an information-intensive field. Here's how you can optimize your operational workflows with a medical record retrieval system.


Patient records are the primary repository of data in the information-intensive healthcare industry. 

With cost-effective access to more complete, accurate patient care data, your healthcare center can improve productivity and optimize operational workflows

Still, most healthcare centers face information management challenges, especially since the available systems don’t offer flexibility for users nor the standards needed to transfer and exchange data. 

Information challenges within healthcare medical records are further escalated by the age of big data, as the quantity and complexity of data and medical knowledge increases. 

As a result, healthcare representatives and staff face more and more hurdles throughout decision-making. These hurdles have medical professionals calling for a better medical record retrieval system at healthcare centers. 

What is medical record retrieval? 

Medical record retrieval is when various entities—such as doctor offices or an attorney filing claims—request a patient’s medical records. Due to sensitive information, the process has to be secure and comply with HIPAA regulations, which means it’s not always quick or easy.

Healthcare centers, in particular, need to acquire, exchange, and share medical record data to provide and scale high-quality care. There are two significant types of record retrieval:

  • In-house workflow automation tools
  • Outsourcing medical records retrieval

In-house record retrieval workflow

An in-house solution to retrieving medical records requires healthcare centers to find a complete workflow solution that performs medical record collection, management, and reporting. Additionally, there should be an integrated audit functionality that allows you to securely share, retrieve, code, and print medical charts.

Outsourced medical record retrieval

Medical centers have many reasons to outsource medical record retrieval, including: 

  • Quicker medical record processing
  • Digitizing crucial healthcare information to provide easy search, access, and retrieval
  • Reducing costs compared to in-house record keeping and retrieval
  • Improved medical record accuracy due to strict control and increased efficiency
  • Strict adherence to HIPAA guidelines

Three types of medical records

Healthcare centers are constantly collecting data from their patients during facility visits. Thus, the medical records available within systems could include:

  • Medical History Records. Details the patient's medical history and include notes and remarks made by healthcare specialists.
  • Discharge Summary. Prepared when a patient checks out of the hospital. It features the hospital admission results, any test results e, and the patient's status upon discharge.
  • Medical Tests Breakdown. Includes any blood tests or any other variants of tests done on the patient while at your health center. These could also include any details on procedures and findings done on the patient while at the facility.

How outsourcing streamlines your medical record retrieval

While many healthcare centers first turn to an in-house staff team to retrieve, digitize, and access medical records, they often struggle to balance efficient staffing and costs. 

Here are the six benefits of medical centers outsourcing record retrieval: 

1. Boosted productivity 


As a healthcare professional, you must do a lot to ensure your patients get the best possible care. However, you often don’t have the time to go through stacks of paperwork looking for a patient's medical records. Outsourcing frees up time and mental energy to provide better care and save lives.

Your outsourced solution designates and manages providers through scheduling services. After that, they provide you with a documentation checklist. A special handling team meets any special physician requirements. Finally, the provider meets the many retrieval options, whether through secure dropbox, remote EMR, or a secure FTP.

2. Improved record accuracy

A big challenge to records retrieval is ensuring that the records are as complete as possible. Outsourced firms will hire individuals whose primary task is to follow up on different records and documents, ensuring they provide you with the complete picture.

Your provider should stay up-to-date on the medical record retrieval status. Plus, they should integrate your systems with a secure client portal to show you chart retrieval statuses in real-time. 

Further, the provider should have a dashboard, key sites, member view, pends by site, and other features that allow you to manage the process and communicate internally with your team.

3. Reduced error

Medical retrieval firms have the resources to ensure no errors are made during the retrieval process. Overall, retrieval is detail-oriented. A well-versed service will understand the subtle nuances of record retrieval and will maintain a low margin for error. Reduced errors save time you would have spent going back to correct mistakes. It also helps prevent any errors that might cost you in the long run. 

4. Cost savings

Outsourcing saves you money by ensuring that the retrieval is done quickly and right the first time around. It also saves you time by cutting down on the workforce manually filling in requests. Your staff can focus on other, more important tasks to help your facility run efficiently.

5. HIPAA and HITECH compliance 

You want a retrieval firm with a secure cloud-based platform that meets the security requirements set by HIPAA and HITECH. Plus, the provider should ensure that records are encrypted within the system and all actions are logged in and time-stamped for complete transparency.

Strict HIPAA compliance standards govern medical records. Any misstep leads to costly litigation for your practice and the medical professionals that work for you. A robust medical record retrieval service reduces the risks associated with sensitive information.

6. Speed and flexibility

Medical record retrieval is tedious and time-consuming. It requires your staff to have a comprehensive medical documentation understanding. If your staff does not know what they are looking for, it will drag out the medical record retrieval time. Services that specialize in document retrieval will expedite the process. 

Robust providers will include automated services that improve on keyword search functionalities, annotation tools, shareable capabilities, and record storage to make retrieval swift and productive.

Next steps to improve healthcare medical record retrieval 

When looking to outsource your medical record retrieval, you want to be provided with measurable value. Get in touch for a full suite of medical support services that elevate your health care and enhance your medical practices.

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