Anyone can read a medical record. Or can they? If everyone could read medical records, the attorney would not need someone with medical background to assist in understanding the medical records. How do you pitch your value to attorneys about medical record analysis?
This is what an LNC offers: the keys to medical record analysis
- the interpretation of information found in the records,
- identification of information missing from the records, and
- the knowledge to lead you to the missing information.
Pitch your value to attorneys
Here’s how you can stress the benefits of working with you. By virtue of your clinical nursing experience, you provide the attorney with a distinct advantage over a medical record review completed by non-medical personnel.
You know the attorney will clearly benefit from hiring a legal nurse consultant (LNC). How do you convince him or her of that?
I can’t count the number of times that paralegals or secretaries have told me, “I don’t know if we received all the records we asked for.”
Here’s how to pitch your value: You (the LNC) “have the knowledge and experience to translate information found in the records, to determine what information is missing, and to locate the missing information.”
This pitch covers all three of the benefits I listed above. Let’s go deeper.
Medical litigation is complex. A thorough review and analysis of healthcare records are imperative in any case investigation. One word or phrase can entirely change the complexion of a case. One seemingly insignificant entry can break a case. Detail-oriented legal nurse consultants will find those entries.
Here’s your marketing pitch: “Small but highly significant details can be overlooked with potentially disastrous results during discovery and at trial. Don’t let your adversary surprise you.”
Attorneys appreciate it when you organize medical records. Index medical records as you receive them. This will ultimately save time and maintain organization of the records. There is no established protocol for organizing or sequencing medical records, although it is imperative that all persons on the same side of the litigation team have medical records that are indexed in the same manner.
Explain to attorneys that medical records are documented in a chronological fashion. The medical records “tell the story” of the person’s journey through the healthcare process. Records are frequently received from medical providers in the order they come off the copier, most often in reverse order. Many attorneys and paralegal/legal assistants organize the records in the manner they are received, if at all.
Although some prefer organizing records in reverse chronological order, using this method can make it difficult for the reviewer to grasp the details of how the case unfolded.
Why organize medical records
Here’s your marketing pitch as to why you should organize medical records: “If nursing and medical experts receive a disorderly copy of records, they will often reorganize the records in chronological order before starting the case review. Poorly organized records increase the frustration of the expert, prolong the review process, and increase the amount of the expert’s invoice —three things most attorneys would like to avoid. Organizing records in a sequential fashion will allow the ‘story to unfold’ as it transpired.”
That is why the attorney needs you. It is your job to pitch your value to attorneys.
Modified from material written by Marguerite Barbacci and Pat Iyer, “Analyzing Medical Records” in Medical Legal Aspects of Medical Records. Learn how you can overcome medical record traps by joining us for a new webinar, “Medical Record Traps and How To Overcome Them”. Watch the replay. Get details at this link.