Can you picture an attorney agonizingly studying pages of medical records? What has an attorney to do with medical records anyway? Well, here’s the story…
What are medical records?
Medical record is a comprehensive collection of all medical documents pertaining to a particular person. These would include annual health check records, physician visits, hospital visits, admission summary, discharge summary, operative summary, lab reports, etc. The volume of a medical record depends on the number of visits a person makes to a physician, which in turn depends on the presence or absence of chronic medical condition.
Medical records and legal cases
For the year 2018, in the US there were 152,679 Worker’s Compensation claims filed. If you add other medical related cases like Personal Injury or Medical Malpractice, this number will cross 250,000 per year. The key evidence for each of these cases is the medical record of the person involved The key evidence for each of these cases is the medical record of the person involved. Attorneys have to go through every evidence in detail. As a result, the document discovery agents deliver huge volumes of medical records to attorneys across the US on a daily basis. Once the medical records are delivered, the assigned attorney has to sift through pages and pages of these medical records to clearly understand what transpired to the complainant over a specific period of time and piece together a cohesive case history out of these medical records.
Challenges for attorneys in medical records
Have you ever read a legal document and made any sense out of it? Well, that’s exactly how attorneys will feel when they read medical records. Asking attorneys to read and comprehend medical records is probably nature’s own way of returning the compliment for choosing to write legal documents in their own bizarre way.
Even assuming that a medical record contains neatly typed transcripts, it will still have attorneys scratching their heads trying to understand the difference between “perineum,” “peritoneum” and “peroneum.” If that doesn’t confuse them, then the abbreviations surely will. How are they expected to know what TSH, FSH or GSH means?
The second challenge is that a good percentage of these medical records have handwritten notes scribbled in by the doctors themselves. If you are wondering what the challenge can be, then you’ve never seen a doctor’s prescription before. In fact, I sometimes do wonder if the doctors go through a special training process on how to write illegible notes. The fun part is that attorneys are expected to decipher these handwritten notes.
To add to the misery, the medical records most of the times are not sorted out in chronological order. This makes it even more difficult for attorneys to follow the natural flow of events as they happened and reconstruct the ordeal of the claimant.
The last straw, of course, is the huge volume of these records. Believe it or not, a medical record for an average US adult contains in excess of 1000 pages. In worst cases, these can easily cross 10,000 pages. Thousands of pages of pure horror for the attorneys.
The solution called “Medical Records Review(Excerpt)”
In an ideal scenario, scripted by the attorneys themselves, they are happily poring over thick legal books while someone waves a magic wand at the medical records and shrinks them to a few pages of palm-sized handbook with neatly sorted chronological data that they need. The medical record review industry’s purpose is to make this scenario a reality. At PreludeSys, we have been providing this niche service since 1998 by having a dedicated team of trained professionals who study nearly 100,000 pages of medical records every day, summarize them into short, easily readable reviews that are sorted chronologically. The end result is a handbook that is shrunk to 1/100th the size of the original medical records but contains all the essential data that attorneys need and are sorted chronologically.