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A recent nationwide study of law firms revealed surprising results on the hidden costs of medical records requests, and a stark contrast in how those requests impact their practices’ bottom lines.
Hidden Costs Mount for In-House Medical Record Requests
The study, of more than 500 firms of varying sizes, showed practices that managed medical records requests in-house spent an average of nearly $76 in labor and nearly $68 in provider fees per request.
When multiplied by the scores of requests needed in a complex case, the costs can be staggering. Moreover, those firms took more than four months, on average, to obtain all records in a given case, delaying closure.
But just as important, the study showed those in-house costs are often hidden, according to Chris Carpenter, CEO of ChartSquad, which conducted the study.
Carpenter said firms managing their own medical records requests were typically unaware of the true cost to obtain records because the labor is folded into their staff’s time. “The staff of these firms, unbeknownst to leadership, is spending ridiculous amounts of time” obtaining medical records, Carpenter said.
Carpenter added the study did not include additional fees, such as stationery and postage, which would push the total cost of in-house records management even higher.
Carpenter said the extraordinarily high costs often startled firm management, who see medical records requests as a key hurdle to resolving cases. “As a leader in a firm, regardless of your size, your number-one pain point is costing you more money than you often recognize,” Carpenter said. “You’re looking at it from an attorney’s standpoint or management’s standpoint saying ‘Why can’t I close these cases? Why is all of this taking so long?’
“But from a cost standpoint, you’re eating a lot of money along the way.”
How Firms See Massive Cost and Time Savings
Not all firms showed that kind of cost and time drain. The study revealed firms that used ChartSquad to manage their medical records requests spent only $1.19 in labor and $5.87 in provider fees per request. And those firms received all of a case’s records in 15 days, on average.
That stark difference between in-house records management and ChartSquad’s records request management translates to a more efficient staff, quicker case closings, and a healthier bottom line.
ChartSquad’s unique system provides firms the ability to help patients obtain medical records directly, then share them securely with their attorney, or anyone else they choose.
The service’s user-friendly interface and technological efficiency places the absolute minimum burden on a patient. Meanwhile, as the study shows, the service slashes a firm’s in-house labor costs and significantly reduces the time to close cases.
Carpenter said, to his knowledge, ChartSquad is the only patient-based records service that allows patients to share records with attorneys. And the full range of firms — from solo practitioners to some of the largest practices in the country — see the benefits of that service.
Attorneys sign up online for free, refer their clients to ChartSquad through the online portal, and the company does the rest, updating patients and their attorneys as records are delivered. The process for attorneys, Carpenter said, takes only minutes.
Many firms using ChartSquad save even more time through the company’s optional, free billing discovery service. With it, ChartSquad’s experts will review patient treatment records and automatically submit requests for attendant billing. The service eliminates the time-intensive search for separate anesthesiologist’s or surgeon’s billings, for example, and attorneys pay only for the additional requests.
While the study highlighted the cost and time savings firms see when moving to ChartSquad, Carpenter added the service provides the ultimate benefit to each practice’s clients. “The study shows there’s a better way to manage record requests, and there’s a better way to lower costs for these clients,” Carpenter said.
“And that’s really the end-goal of ChartSquad.”