Sharing medical records between providers can be a headache, even if your business is well run.
Today, medical providers exist in the awkward space between doing most of their work online and some of it in the office.
If another provider uses obsolete technology or your EHR doesn’t connect with theirs, patients might not get their information on time. You might even feel compelled to send health information in a way that’s costly or not secure.
Use these 5 best practices as a checklist next time you have to share medical records between providers.
1. Stay on Top of Changes
Between HIPAA guidelines and other rules, it’s important to always monitor trends and keep track of changes taking place with sharing medical records.
- HIPAA guidelines state that information can be shared face-to-face, over the phone, or in writing once you give permission. But brand new updates were made in 2021, the first time since 2013.
- Interoperability allows for electronic health records (EHRs) to be shared between different systems. However, the standards for interoperability are also rapidly evolving.
Once a year at least, bring yourself up to date on the latest standards.
2. Get Online Now
Today, healthcare providers use a mix of technology and in-person resources to transmit health data.
Technology obviously makes things easier, but some providers use different EHRs that don’t sync with others. This could still require you to print and fax medical records when sharing between providers.
The emergence of cloud-hosted online portals for sending and receiving medical records is a newer solution to this problem. And paying for a secure online portal can actually save you lots of money.
Setting up connections between existing EHR systems can be expensive. And it might only connect you with one additional facility.
Instead, a third party software like ShareScape can connect to medical providers of all sizes and specialities.
Secure online portals also allow healthcare providers to transmit health records to third parties, such as to personal injury attorneys in the event of a lawsuit.
3. Communicate With Patients
Problems can arise when sharing patient medical records between parties if your patient feels out of the loop.
Some best practices to ensure your patients know their rights and your process include:
- Making sure staff responsible for sending records is well trained and on the same page
- Educating new patients on your systems
- Providing the information in writing so it can be referenced later
- Reviewing information with patients before they sign to acknowledge receipt
Approach with the eyes of a teacher and don’t leave things to chance. This mitigates the chances of problems arising.
4. Ask for Feedback
Your patients and other medical providers might be able to help improve your systems. Asking for feedback could help you understand:
- What patients like and don’t like about your processes
- Key data points on how effective your health record systems are being utilized (i.e. how many people reference their files online)
- What incentives customers respond to when filling out surveys or answering questions about your practice
- How other medical offices are solving the problem of online health record sharing
Obviously, you always have to stay HIPAA compliant and follow other guidelines. But you might be able to make minor tweaks based on these types of feedback, too.
5. Be Proactive When Change Happens
Sharing medical records between providers gets tricky when circumstances change. Change is a constant in the field, though, so it’s something you have to adjust to.
For example, when a doctor at your practice retires or changes jobs. This could cause issues down the line if medical records aren’t kept carefully or sent to the right providers (in-office or elsewhere).
Make it a part of your onboarding or offloading process to get documents sent where they need to go. Collecting the information now—while you still have the physical files and access to the people most knowledgeable about the information—could save you tons of time in the long run.
How to Share Medical Records With Other Doctors
Staying on top of trends and communicating with all parties involved is the best way to share medical records between providers. Looping your patients into the mix and learning from them as well can also help.
Request a demo today to see how ShareScape connects busy medical provides with personal injury attorneys on our secure, seamless online portal.