Partnership offers secure storage for patient medical records
Wednesday, May 3, 2017 | by Paula Burkes
Q: What role does the Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Quality (OFMQ) play in Oklahoma?
A: OFMQ was founded in 1972 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing health care quality in Oklahoma. We are a trusted resource for doctors and the larger health care community, and we optimize collaborative partnerships to improve health outcomes for patients and enhance support for providers.
Q: What are OFMQ's current priority projects?
A: The lack of an affordable, modernized medical records management system is a problem for physicians across Oklahoma. State law requires physicians to maintain and store all patient medical records for six years after they retire, close their practice or move elsewhere. Not surprisingly, many physicians struggle with how to comply with this mandate. Unfortunately, this can lead to less-than-ideal storage practices, like storing records in a nonsecure location or not following proper retention guidelines, and can create a liability for doctors. Further, current document storage options can be burdensome and inefficient for retired doctors who are required to access old medical records.
Q: What solution has OFMQ created for this problem?
A: Our organization has partnered with MIDCON Data Services to create a medical records management system that is secure, complies with all privacy regulations and is easily accessible for patients and authorized parties. Our program can accommodate file and EMR-based records.
Q: What does the OFMQ MIDCON partnership involve?
A: We provide secure, organized storage of both electronic and hard copy medical records in compliance with all state and federal privacy regulations, including HIPAA. We can work with physicians on record indexing and assist with the secure destruction of documents when required and authorized by law. We also manage all Release of Information requests for the records in our care.
Q: What are types of information requests are covered?
A: The most common requests include patient requests, continuity of care requests from medical facilities and physicians, law enforcement inquiries, records requests from government agencies and insurance companies and legal requests.
Q: How does this program benefit a doctor's former patients?
A: There is a reason state law requires retiring physicians to maintain medical records. Our program ensures the security and integrity for those records and makes files infinitely more accessible to patients and their current physicians. This additional information can give the current physician a more complete view of the patient's medical history and help the doctor make the most accurate diagnosis possible. All of this will serve to improve Oklahoma's health outcomes. Additionally, patients sometimes need past medical records for various reasons, like insurance issues, and our program will make these records easier for them to access.
PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER