Managing Outsourced Patient Records Copying

interaction with the fulfillment process. While they do not wish to perform fulfillments themselves, they express frustration about not having real time oversight of the patient records copying process. These Providers are stuck with what we call “Passive Oversight”.  To learn what this means for the Provider, let’s take a closer look at the two basic types of oversight: Passive and Dynamic.


With Passive Oversight, Providers have a passive (inactive) role in the medical records fulfillment process. They must either ask for request status and activity reports from the service bureau or wait for periodic reports. Typically the service bureau determines the format of the reports and what data is shared. The Providers’ ability to monitor service bureau performance is limited. Many Providers have expressed their frustration that the only way they can check the status of a pending request is by contacting the service provider. Passive Oversight is the current norm within the patient medical records copying service industry.


With Dynamic Oversight, Providers have an active role in the medical records fulfillment process. They are able to view request status and activities in real-time via the service bureau’s online ROI fulfillment platform and create their own reports in any format, at any time. With a real-time portal Providers can also control user access rights and privileges, request fulfillment data, and view status reports. The Provider benefits from the cost reduction of outsourcing the fulfillment of medical records requests while maintaining control of the medical records copying process. Performance, including turnaround times, billing activity, and more can be monitored easily in real-time.


When Providers outsource medical records fulfillment, they typically lose a great deal of control and involvement in the process. Ideally, the service bureau should meet or exceed the same performance standards as a full-time employee and be monitored accordingly. If a Provider spots a possible breach, it should be able to protect itself by restricting a service bureau worker’s access or holding a request until it can consult service bureau management. The right to hire and fire a service bureau should rest with the Provider, based upon accurate, timely performance data. Given that Providers are held accountable under Meaningful Use standards, why shouldn’t Providers use “Meaningful Oversight” standards to hold vendors accountable within the ROI service arena?

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