Release of Information (ROI) is a practice that shouldn’t be taken lightly as cost-effective and high-quality healthcare depends on it. The information should be provided to the people promptly and should be dispensed according to its intended purpose.
No doubt this project isn’t a straightforward process. Its importance is exacerbated when you consider its importance in reporting, billing, research, and other functions.
There are multiple laws that oversee how, when, what, and to whom this information is released. There are specific requirements that a health information management organization should fulfill so that patient information stays confidential and reaches its intended target.
The process itself is a multi-layer approach, containing multiple practices to manage the quality control of monitoring the receipt, tracking the request, and processing the request. Proper ROI solutions are often in place to ensure that these practices are streamlined and align with the laws of the state.
This guide will condense the information provided by the American Health Organization to ensure that your healthcare facilities are never compromised.
Quality Control Practices
The overarching theme of ROI management practice is to ensure that the right information reaches the right people. Therefore, quality control practices should be comprehensive so that there is no latency in the release of information for any purpose.
It is essential for general practices to prioritize the release of any information upon request. In order to streamline this process, however, and to ensure that the release of information aligns with the laws, the quality control practices should focus on the following:
- Tracking and monitoring the request from the time it was received to the time the information was delivered
- Processing the request while focusing on priority and efficiency
- Completing the request in accordance with the premade schedule
It is important that healthcare providers give a comprehensive outline to define these practices in their policy documents. The layout of these practices should be comprehensive enough to deal with any sudden changes in the healthcare paradigm. Quality control practices also entail watching over the new employees who are engaged in this information delivery system. Auditing these processes should also come under quality control practice, and it may entail making a random request to check the timeframe and the process of information delivery.
Monitoring Request Receipt
When a request for information is received, it is important to monitor if the staff has performed the following actions:
- Adding the date and time of receiving the information
- Adding the date and time of when the information delivery is required
- Adding the recipient of the said information
- Adding that the request comes with a valid authorization
Tracking the request
Multiple forms of logs could be maintained to monitor request activity. Simple binders may suffice, but it is also important to have specialized software in place.
The ROI solutions software offering can help management monitor staff performance and turnaround time for each type of request.
Listed below are the important functions to undertake when tracking a request.
- All requests should be arranged in a sequential fashion.
- The information should be entered right when a request is made–any latency there would lengthen the turnaround times of all the requests after it.
- It is important to flag special requests from the ones that are received on a frequent basis.
- There should be only one consistent place for making the request.
Processing the Request
Processing the request is a phase when a multi-tiered approach has to be considered. This approach is concerned with identifying the completeness of the request, the patient’s identity, and whether the information asked for is appropriate.
Here are the tiers of tasks that have to be performed at this stage
Content review is concerned with verifying the request for information. Following are the key points that must be kept in mind:
- All data required by the internal policy and federal and state regulations is present there.
- Patient’s identification, along with contact information, is present.
- Identification of the recipient and their contact information is available.
- A list of all the information required is in the request form.
Verification of Requesters Legal Authority
The person requesting the information should have the legal authority to ask for it. Therefore, the following factors must be kept in mind:
- The request form may need the signature of a witness or a notary public seal.
- Evidence related to the relationship between the patient and the requestor
- Documentation from the court of competent jurisdiction
For routine requests, direct contact with the patient might be necessary to confirm whether the requester has the authority to ask for the information.
Verification of the patient
The staff must also verify the identity of the patient by:
- Carefully assessing the patient’s information given in the request form and matching it against the organization’s master patient index
- Looking for whether all the key details of the patient, such as legal name, date of birth, and gender, are correct
- Additional information, such as social security and contact information, may also be required
Verifying the Appropriateness of the Information Asked For
It is important for the staff to review the appropriateness of the information requested. Healthcare professionals should ensure that:
- Authorization is required to fulfill the information request
- The information requested conforms to the information available
- Only the minimum information is provided to match the precise needs of the request
Completion of Request
During the request completion process, the following questions should be answered:
- Does the requested content meet the organization’s requirements
- Is the information being released to the right party?
- Is the information going to an individual who requested the information or to an organization?
- Was the information recorded for internal auditing?
- Did the patient come to pick up their own info in person, or was there a need for the healthcare facility to confirm their identity?
- Were all the rules of the organization followed during the complete process?
A task as hefty as fulfilling a request for information can only be fulfilled by focusing on quality control practices. There should be standards for productivity in place to ensure that all the information is captured correctly, and turnaround times should be managed based on the critical nature of the information asked for.
For instance, more priority should be given to fulfilling the request for a patient in the emergency ward rather than routine information. All the while, a proper backlog that properly categorizes requests and requestors should be managed.
With these elements working in tandem, the release of information will be streamlined, and no critical processes will be affected.