Guest Column | July 16, 2012

What EMR Vendors Alone Can't Offer

By Steve Hynes, president, MRO Corp.

The evolution of the electronic medical record (EMR) has set the stage for reducing paper in the release-of-information (ROI) process. And, as the popularity of implementing EMR technology rises, hospitals are learning that most major EMR vendors offer and are pushing them to use built-in ROI modules as supplemental software.

Utilizing an ROI module within an EMR may be useful for tracking and integration with a master patient index (MPI) database and seems like a reasonable solution to manage the ROI process. As the volumes of ROI requests continue to grow due to RAC and other post-payment audits, however, it will become increasingly clear that using the module without an interface to an ROI company’s software and services is ineffective. ROI requires a high level of service, expertise and sophisticated technology that hospitals can only receive from an experienced, outsourced ROI company.


As healthcare facilities examine their options for processing ROI requests, they are realizing that the specialized services which assist their organizations in delivering protected health information (PHI) securely, compliantly and efficiently are really only found with ROI companies. EMR companies provide ROI software, but not any related services.

If relying solely upon a module within its EMR system for ROI, a hospital’s health information management (HIM) department will be challenged to perform and track many functions to which entire teams and a call center may be assigned through an ROI partner. For instance, hospitals find that ROI vendors perform a variety of specialized functions, including quality control and compliance checks, maintaining extensive databases of requester information, vetting and researching new requesters, assigning proper rates, billing and cash collections. As the disclosure of PHI becomes even more complex and regulated, utilizing dedicated support teams within an ROI partner assures hospitals that they are operating with the most efficient workflows while remaining fully compliant with federal and state regulations. Hospitals don’t receive these services through EMR vendors.

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