Any law firm that has tried a medical malpractice case has faced the hard truth that obtaining a complete and accurate copy of your client’s medical chart is harder than it seems. Even after the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was approved in 2014, which required all public and private health care providers to adopt and prove meaningful use of electronic medical records, problems persisted. Over the past few decades, our firm has experienced retention issues, server compromises, missing fetal monitoring strips, altered medical records, incomplete electronic charting and even electronic medical records that take six to nine months to be produced.
Even with all the regulations created by the Florida Administrative Codes, Florida Statutes, and the Joint Commission to maintain records with designated approved protocols, the inexperienced attorney is likely to struggle obtaining what he needs in order to litigate a challenging medical malpractice case.
With these added obstacles, it is crucial to have experience and knowledge about the correct avenues to pursue in order to obtain the medical records entitled to your client.
It is not an easy path, but a road that has become smoother to navigate, thanks to electronic medical record requirements. The majority of hospitals and providers are now utilizing similar electronic host medical record databases that can be audited. In addition, hospitals and doctors are now retaining third-party providers in order to gather and produce medical records. The good news is due to the ever-changing reliance on internet databases and electronic record keeping, it is easier and far more efficient to chase down the records needed to move a case along.
Our firm consistently engages in good faith discovery on several crucial topics:
- Audit trials of electronic records;
- Policies and procedures regarding the electronic database host system being utilized;
- Corporate representative depositions regarding policies & procedures, record retention, and record production; and
- The hiring of qualified administrative experts to help throughout this process.
Our firm has found that obtaining complete and accurate medical records in a timely fashion is possible, and that correlates to better results for our clients.