If necessity is the mother of invention, then it was only a matter of time before the healthcare industry and health information management (HIM) professionals came together to create the Health Record Request Wizard.
In an AHIMA webinar demonstration of the tool, “Let the Wizard Change Your ROI,” X4 Health Founder and President Christine Bechtel described her motivation for her firm’s development of the Wizard. At a recent doctor’s appointment, Bechtel asked her physician’s office for a copy of some of her medical records in a digital format. The office staff insisted that only paper copies were available, so Bechtel went home and downloaded the federal guidance to the contrary, and took it back to her doctor’s office. From there they worked together to find a solution for her records. Bechtel was certain that both consumers and HIM professionals have long been frustrated by this process.
“The paper and PDF forms just aren’t working for patients or for professionals,” Bechtel said. “Our records systems are in a time of transition. We’re mostly electronic but are middle-ground process. The complexity of records systems is daunting from a consumer’s view. We also learned that HIM professionals spend a boatload of time trying to clarify individual access. We realized if we could just help you clarify even a small percentage of requests, make it exquisitely clear, then improving patient experience could make your job easier.”
The Health Record Request Wizard, which was funded in part by the Commonwealth Fund, was released in September at the Biden Cancer Summit. Bechtel said that developers started their work with AHIMA’s Patient Request for Health Information form, which originally sought to streamline and standardize patient health information request processes and ensure they are compliant with the Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) guidance on an individual’s right of access under HIPAA.
X4 worked with a group of AHIMA ROI subject matter experts to develop the online form and then tested the product in test markets—including the metro areas of Denver, CO; New York, NY; and Washington, DC—after determining that the typical record requester is a woman between the ages of 40 and 59 who is helping to coordinate the care of herself and family members.
“We heard that consumers wanted to tell you [HIM professionals] why they were asking for their records. They know it’s complicated but weren’t sure they were asking for the right thing… and we knew they wanted to do this on their own time,” not a hospital’s business hours, Bechtel said.
The resulting tool, which you can click on here, is a prototype that can be altered to align with any state or institutional regulations and policies, leaving room for customization around matters such as fees, behavioral or substance abuse records, records for parents of minors, and identity verification.