Release of Information (ROI) is a vital function performed by all health information management (HIM) departments. However, the ROI process can be quite complicated and risky. Some of the challenges faced by healthcare providers concerning the release of information include:
- Employee training: Ensuring that all team members are trained well to comply fully with HIPAA regulations for ROI
- Stress: Working with employees who are already overstretched
- Risk of litigation: Coping with the high risk involved in retrieving information from many EHR systems or working with paper-based records to fulfill ROI requests.
- Time pressure: Keeping up with the short time allowed to fulfill requests and the frequent information audits required to achieve regulatory compliance.
Admittedly, these challenges can be inundating, but with the right process and practices, the release of information can be simpler, faster, and less risky.
Here is a short list of best practices to effectively manage the release of protected health information.
1. Streamline Your ROI
If your facility has been involved in a merger or acquisition, you need to streamline your ROI. Having all your ROI procedures coordinated by a central department or team is essential for effectively tracking requests and implementing compliance policies.
Unfortunately, due to the frequent mergers and acquisitions in the healthcare industry, it is not uncommon to find providers with dozens of ROI points. These points are often managed by personnel who have different levels of training on ROI procedures. Bringing all these disparate PHI disclosure points will help to mitigate the risks involved and make it easy to track requests and use software solutions to manage the process.
2. Connect All Staff to Compliance Experts
When your staff receives complicated requests like those submitted by lawyers investigating malpractices, ensure that your team has instant access to your legal experts.
If you can’t maintain a stable connection to compliance experts, then you may need to outsource the process to another organization. Remember that if you make a mistake and violate any federal or state regulations, your organization will have to pay fines or face litigation.
3. Work With an Independent QA Specialist
In most cases, your health information management department will have a quality assurance team. While most HIM departments have QA as part of their standard operating procedure, it is still advisable to call in a QA specialist who will focus solely on quality control.
An independent QA specialist will not be overwhelmed by the large number of tasks the HIM department has to cover. When you provide a properly executed QA process before disclosing information, it will identify any omissions or quality issues.
4. Make Use of Specialized ROI Solutions
Handling ROI effectively with all the regulatory requirements and legal implications requires specialized tools and technologies. Over the years, health IT experts have developed applications and systems that can manage the entire workflow and perform quality checks.
Some HIM officers may think that their EHRs have Release of Information modules and don’t need any specialized tools. However, the modules that come with EHRs can’t handle all the complexities involved in managing disclosure rights for each aspect of a patient’s protected information and for all the departments involved in providing this information.
The release of information is an essential and sensitive function in healthcare organizations. With the right tools, you can successfully retrieve the information needed without violating any regulations.
Contact MediQuant for Release of Information Solutions
Give us a call today at 844.286.8683 or connect with us online. We’ll show you how to overcome the challenges associated with satisfying Release of Information requests.