Addressing the Unique Challenges of Retrieving Medical Records for Cancer Patients

eHealth Technologies blog: Bill MacFalls, Regional Vice President, eHealth Technologies

It’s the start of a new year, and our team is gearing up for the Association of Cancer Executive (ACE) Annual Meeting later this month. This conference is a great opportunity for cancer center executives to step away from their daily routines to network and share best practices with their colleagues.

There are many challenges Cancer Centers are facing – some of which are the need to increase patient volumes, improve patient experience initiatives, and address clinician burnout.

eHealth Technologies supports cancer centers across the country to address these issues. In fact, we work with over a third of the top 100 U.S. News & World Report cancer hospitals.

eHealth Technologies’ medical record retrieval and organization solutions address many of the challenges that healthcare executives are managing. However, I believe we are uniquely equipped to assist cancer centers given the complex nature of patient care.

  1. There’s an urgency to schedule patients. Not having to wait for medical records, images, and pathology slides means patients can be scheduled for their appointment sooner, reducing the overall referral to appointment time.
  2. Cancer patients tend to have a high volume of records. Not only can it be a challenge to obtain records across multiple facilities, but they should be organized for the clinical team. eHealth Technologies categorizes and provides records in a searchable format with our eHealth Connect® Intelligent Clinical Record services. Record review becomes quick and efficient with key terms called out and the most recent documents displayed first. Plus, records can be delivered directly into the EMR for easy access.
  3. Many cancer patients have existing pathology slides that can take 2-3 weeks to retrieve. Our eHealth Connect Record Retrieval services include the retrieval of pathology slides, which can typically be provided within 5 days.
  4. Imaging and imaging reports are also needed for clinicians to develop a treatment plan. Retrieving, uploading, and QA’ing images for referred patients is a manual, time consuming, and sometimes costly process. Not only can eHealth Technologies retrieve images and corresponding reports in up to 5 days, we can also QA and send the images electronically, eliminating the need to manual handle CDs.
  5. Getting the right records is key. Many cancer patients are referred to an outside organization after already having many tests and procedures. Sometimes call center staff managing the intake and patient scheduling do not have the clinical background to ensure that all the right types of records are being obtained. eHealth Technologies works closely with clinicians to set-up record retrieval templates that are specific to each cancer type and stage. Using these templates when retrieving records can ensure that clinicians have all the pertinent information they need, whether it’s an operative report, an associated pathology report, all tumor markers, or genetic reports.

Medical record retrieval and organization may seem like a small part of the process when caring for cancer patients, but the impact of doing it right and doing it well, can be far-reaching within your organization. Making sure clinical teams have correct, organized, and complete information in a timely manner has shown to improve physician and staff satisfaction. Improving patient experience is also a major initiative for many of our clients and we are proud to support these goals by eliminating the need for patients to collect their records prior to their first appointment or having them wait weeks for appointments to be scheduled due to hospital’s antiquated manual record collection process. Their first appointment will be more productive, and they won’t be facing repeat tests or procedures due to missing records.

At the end of the day it is all about patient care and eHealth Technologies holds that as its main priority. Our team is committed to partnering with cancer centers and supporting their efforts in caring for patients with complex medical conditions.