My, how the times have changed!

In the past, it was “taboo” to record interactions between Patients and Caregivers. The reason? General Counsel for the hospital would always point out that any-and-all information, including call/IM recordings, are “discoverable” in a lawsuit and could be used against the hospital in a malpractice case. Well, the pendulum has definitely swung in favor of recording all communications related to the hospital and its employees, especially Caregivers.

Why the change?

Healthcare providers have determined that the value of having recordings of all of these Patient/Caregiver interactions far outweighs the risk of legal discovery. In fact, many Healthcare General Counsel/Compliance Departments are encouraging recording as a way of actually reducing the hospital’s exposure in a lawsuit by clearly demonstrating that the physician, for example, did provide the correct diagnosis or medical orders – in other words, the Patient was at fault!

Healthcare is a much more dynamic environment today than it was 20 years ago. Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Technicians and other Hospital Personnel now communicate with Patients, and with each other, via conference call, video call, IM and text. And during those communications, they often share screens and documents, transfer files and whiteboard details of Patient cases in order to involve Subject Matter Experts or Specialists with the goal of providing better Patient Care. Recording these communications provides significant value for Healthcare in the following areas:

  1. Document a remote office visit and send the recording to the Patient, so they are clear on their diagnosis and treatment routine
  2. Review recordings (using Speech Search or Speech Analytics) to identify key topics that Hospital Management may need to provide enhanced training to employees
  3. Spot-check recordings to look for potential HIPAA Privacy breaches to speed any necessary reporting to regulatory agencies, and to provide training to employees with the goal of avoiding potential future violations
  4. Record key Patient Contact Centers (e.g., ER, Scheduling, Billing, Pharmacy) to ensure all representatives are communicating in the way prescribed by Hospital Management
    • This becomes critical as Healthcare continues with mergers/acquisitions at a breakneck pace. Recording new employees to ensure they are adhering to documented “scripts” provides a quick way to adjust training and provide optimal Patient support.
    • Recording in key Patient Contact Centers can be screened using Speech Search (e.g., Word Spotting) or full Speech Analytics where tone, inflection and other traits can be identified and might point to a Patient who was not pleased with their interaction.
  5. Record communications between Physicians and Patients to identify “billable events” and generate new revenues for the hospital
    • Often, Physicians do not document interactions with Patients, especially when it entails an unscheduled call where the Patient is confirming medications or asking about treatment options.
    • Many times, these kinds of interactions will move from just a quick call into a Consultation, which is a billable event.
    • Recording, especially with Word/Phrase Spotting, can help identify these possible billable events.
    • The recording will provide the Coder with enough information for them to document the event and submit it as billable to the Patient’s insurance.
    • This process can dramatically increase the hospital’s revenues!
  6. Adding recordings to a Patient’s Electronic Health Record (EHR) is simple and dramatically enhances the value of the EHR
    • Consulting Physicians can quickly replay recordings from the Patient’s EHR and get up-to-speed on the case for better diagnosis/treatment.
    • Appending recordings eliminates the need for costly and time-consuming transcription services that manually add information to the Patient’s EHR.
  7. Verify Medicare/Medicaid Billings
    • This is a new application and has become critical recently due to the stepped-up audits we are seeing from regulators as they attempt to find illegal billings to Medicare and Medicaid.
    • Your recordings can be quickly pulled up to review with an auditor and justify a billable event that was submitted to Medicare or Medicaid.
    • Again, the recording provides value in multiple areas, including revenue protection (and avoidance of fines!) for the hospital.

What’s driving the need for Recording?

The rise of Tele-Health continues to drive the need for recording. As more-and-more Patient/Caregiver interactions are done remotely, the need for recording those interactions increases for the reasons reviewed earlier. In addition, the deployment of new Collaboration Communications Technologies, like Video, IM and File Sharing, also increases the need for recording as Healthcare continues to move beyond face-to-face interactions and simplistic documentation by “writing it down on paper.”