Earth to EMSI

You might think a company whose business revolves around obtaining medical records would know about the national move to electronic (digital) records. Apparently not. The request I received mid-December last year reads, “We need photocopies of medical records to include office notes, EKGs, clinical history, and fall injury reports. Feel free to fax records to our toll free fax number 866-846-0367. Please include this page.” Photocopies indeed. The folks at EMSI must think physicians’ staff just open the file drawer, pull out a manilla folder, and copy the paper chart. Maybe in 1999.

Earth to EMSI: I do still retain an old manilla folder for every patient. It contains a few paper forms and agreements. But everything else exists in digital format, either in the cloud or on a local hard drive. Do tell how I can fit that hard drive into my copy machine. Oops, I have not owned a copy machine in decades. And how does one photocopy an .mp3 file?

It seemed to me the business-like thing to do would be to ask EMSI what they want and how to get it to them. So I faxed them a table:

You have requested copies of medical records which may exist in my office as paper files or as digital files, either in my possession or on cloud-based servers not in my possession. We do not provide paper copies of records.


Select

Name

Type

Location

Fax

Web Share

Digital File Copy

 

Practice Fusion

EMR

cloud

no

?

no

 

Paper file folder

various

office

yes

no

no

 

Transcript

clinical record

office

yes

no

yes

NA

Software

contact

office

?

no

yes

 

SAAS

contact

cloud

?

?

?

 

Account

account

cloud

yes

yes

yes

NA

DEA

bupe log

cloud

yes

no

yes

NA

AllScripts

eRx

cloud

no

?

no


Please indicate in the left column which records you want, sign below, and return this form via fax.

_______________________________________

Please note that for access to the EMR (electronic medical record) you must contact Practice Fusion (practicefusion.com) directly, and for access to some eprescribing records you must contact AllScripts (www.allscripts.com) directly. Sharing of Google docs documents may require that you provide a working gmail address.

Fees paid in advance:

  • Faxes: statutory fees, State of Washington.

  • $50 for each attempt to fax after two failed attempts.

  • Digital files: $20 per file, $100 per disk.

Please be advised that attestations as to the number of “pages” are meaningless in the context of digital records.

 

After several weeks someone from EMSI left a voice message asking about the status for the request. When I called, the representative told me they had no received my fax and asked me to fax it again, this time to a different number. I did so. This time days went by before I received in the mail another request nearly identical to the first.

In the meantime I informed EMSI’s client company, ING Reliastar Life Insurance Company of the failure in communication.

This morning I spoke to yet another representative, but when I asked her about the failure to respond to my faxes... Well, let’s just say I ended up talking to a “supervisor” who offered some excuses about what might have interfered with a response, like “That number goes right into a computer.” She gave me another fax number. I faxed once more. So far, no response. (My fax service indicates all 3 succeeded in reaching EMSI.) Strike three?

Unlike many physicians, I happen to like electronic records. In order to realize their full potential companies like EMSI will have to catch up. Ideally they would access the EMR directly after obtaining the patient’s authorization. Putting the physician in the middle just wastes everyone’s time. Come to think of it, maybe we could do without EMSI as well.

By the way, EMSI, electronic records do not come in pages. You cannot photocopy a digital file, especially an .mp3. Also, I recommend that you figure out what happens to those disappearing faxes, and make sure that when a physician asks you a question, you have the courtesy to answer.

If EMSI continues to fail to respond (Would you call that negligent or just rude?) I plan to count up all the “pages,” I can easily print to .pdf for faxing, and send them an invoice. Tune in next week to find out whether they receive that fax at any of those three numbers.

 

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