Who’s Who In Your Medical Records?

stethoscope and charts

Why is it worth mentioning? Because wrong-patient records are submitted for review surprisingly often. Catching these records at project initiation is critical because the information contained could potentially skew the medical analysis. Rapid identification and subsequent destruction of wrong-patient records is also critical from a HIPAA compliance standpoint; after all, it’s an inadvertent release of protected (or personal) health information (PHI). While it may not be a reportable breach, it is still a HIPAA compliance incident, and it’s important to prevent the information from being distributed further.

It’s common for medical facilities of virtually every type (e.g., hospital, nursing home, hospice, etc.) to mistakenly submit records to medical legal analysis companies that include wrong-patient information. This encompasses both paper and electronic medical records. The practice of mistakenly transferring wrong records happens up to an estimated one-third of the time.

Healthcare providers who need to submit medical records for review should be advised to incorporate this information into their compliance programs so they can be proactive in identifying the root cause of this issue and finding solutions to avoid the erroneous release of PHI. In the meantime, it’s a good practice for medical legal analysts to conduct a Wrong-Patient Check on every record they receive as a standard quality assurance procedure.

Do you conduct a Wrong-Patient Check on your medical records? Contact an expert at Excelas to learn how.

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