Streamlining Records Retrieval in the Digital Age

8 July, 2021

Erik Bermudez

Erik Bermudez



Medchart is a revolutionary legal tech company that specializes in streamlining medical records retrieval for legal professionals of all kinds. In this episode of Taking the Stand, we sit down with Medchart VP of Business Development Anand Ablack and Director of Sales Filip Sierpinski to discuss how their software makes a tangible difference for their clients every day, and how their company is rethinking medical record retrieval processes from the ground up.

Learn more about Medchart by visiting their website at medchart.com.

Full Transcript


Erik Bermudez:

Hello, everyone. And welcome to today's edition of Taking the Stand where our mission is to inspire you by inviting VIP guests to understand what success principles they've used to find greater achievement.

Erik Bermudez:

My name is Erik Bermudez, and I'll be your host. Welcome to today's podcast.

Erik Bermudez:

Hello, everyone, and welcome to today's edition of Taking the Stand. We have a very special episode today. We are with some of the leadership from Medchart, one of our strategic partnerships and partners. We very much value the relationship and we're excited to dive into what that means for Filevine customers and law firms all across North America.
Fil and Anand, thank you so much for joining us today. We really appreciate your time on today's episode.

Filip Sierpinski:

Yeah, thanks for having us.

Anand Ablack:

Great to be here, Erik.

Erik Bermudez:

For introductions, why don't you go ahead and just take a minute and introduce yourselves?

Anand Ablack:

Yep. I'm Anand Ablack. I head up the legal segment for Medchart.

Filip Sierpinski:

I am Filip Sierpinski, and I work in the legal space. I'm the Sales Director here at Medchart.

Erik Bermudez:

Awesome.

Erik Bermudez:

Well again, thank you for taking time out of your busy days and spending a few moments with us. We're going to dig into some things that I find very interesting about this market, and I think are going to be valuable tips and tricks, not only about Medchart, that are going to be insightful, but really about how operations in the law firms side, when it comes to medical records, can be more efficient and streamlined.

So, just for starters, give us a little bit of background on Medchart.

Anand Ablack:

Yeah, so I'll take that one, Erik.


So in a nutshell, Medchart provides a cloud-based fully digital medical record retrieval solution for personal injury attorneys, for med mal attorneys, class actions, and mass tort firms across both the U.S. and Canada. Anyone who practices in the space, I don't have to tell you, but medical records and health information data, that's the lifeblood of personal injury and related torts. The traditional process is very much cumbersome, paper intensive, and time intensive as well. What we've done on the Medchart side is really taken a fractured process and improved upon it in a number of different ways that we'll talk about in turn.

First of all, a fully digital and cloud-based workflow in terms of how the requests were actually made and delivered back to our customers. Process automation, to really take out those inefficiencies at a number of different points. Building out electronic connections, obviously the sources of health information and the data, that's really important to our firm customers. We're giving the most broad and comprehensive set of data that we can. And then lastly, just embedding it into the attorney workflow, so making it as simple as possible to integrate and work with leading practice management software, like Filevine.

Erik Bermudez:

Awesome. And that's something we can really appreciate, anything that can take in terms of a laborious, fractured process in operation and streamline that more when it comes to a service and a technology like Medchart, that's something our customers and law firms all over the place, I'm sure, are very, very interested in.

So I like that, Anand, because you broke down basically four key areas that we want to dig into a little bit today. And the first one is, as you mentioned, being a technology first company, fully digitizing the process for your customers. Tell us a little bit about what you mean by that, either Anand, or you Fil?

Anand Ablack:

Yeah, I'll take that one as well, Erik, but very much in terms of where we're coming from as Medchart as a company, technology is really part of our DNA. Medchart was founded by two engineers, and from the ground up, we've built the service upon leading tech infrastructure. That's a little bit different than some of the competitors in this space. There's a lot of a medical record retrieval companies out there. Some of them are very traditional and just put a little bit of a front end in terms of what they do, but that's very different from the way that we've approached the problem and the opportunity, frankly, around how we deliver the service.

So, for Medchart, all aspects of our process are engineered around cloud, around digital workflow, and given the sensitivity of this type of data, around security. So the entire process is HIPAA compliant, PIPEDA compliant, and making sure that the information is delivered in a secure as way as possible.

In terms of what that means for our customers, all aspects of the retrieval process, and that's from client imports through client's signatures, and authorizations, document delivery, all of the invoice payments, and even delivering into DMS systems, all of that is facilitated by our cloud-based system and make it as simple as possible in terms of the user experience.

Erik Bermudez:

That's something I want to touch on just for a second, because we share some of the same philosophies and thoughts, and that's why we value you as a strategic partner of ours is because being a product and technology first company, customers feel it. They feel it. They know the difference between being led by something else. And so that's something we can definitely appreciate. And we share in that same sentiment. One thing I want to dig into a little bit too, in terms of the second area here is your consent engine. Maybe you can tell us a little bit about what that is and how does that equate to time-saving on the customer's behalf?

Filip Sierpinski:

Yeah, I'll take that one. Erik. So, at Medchart, we feel getting the right authorization is half the battle. So we say the consent engine or having right consent sent to the provider, that's 50% of it, and then following up is the other part. So for the people listening to this and that are in this space, they will definitely have experienced when they send an authorization to a provider and say, "Hey, you know what, we have our own specific form for this hospital, or for this facility." And then what that does is, they get rejected and it creates delays in getting back the medical records. You want to get the records back as fast as possible, so you can keep building that case.

So what Medchart has done is solve that issue for you, so that way, each time we send out an authorization, you know the consent is correct because we've done that heavy lifting for you and we've figured it out on the backend like, "Does this institution have a specific authorization?" If you make a request to Kaiser Permanente, it's going to go on their authorization. If you make a request to Texas and they need the Texas specific authorization, we'll send it to that one. If it's the California authorization, we'll do that. So we've done that heavy lifting on the backend to have the right consent. And our engine is intelligent enough that it will automatically figure it out at the time of the request. And then from there, we send it off, and then we're the ones that systemize the follow-ups, and are staying on top of it, making sure they get paid and making sure the records come in. So with Medchart, you get both of that, you get the correct authorization, plus the systemized process to get your records back in a timely fashion.

Erik Bermudez:

And Fil, is that something completely in the background? The firm doesn't necessarily even know that this is going on, but there's a lot of logic and processing that goes into your system on the back end to ensure that that doesn't even touch the firm. Is that right?

Filip Sierpinski:

A 100%. And even since they'll see it on the front end when they make the request, they'll see the actual different authorizations pop up. And so that's all happening with the backend in the system.

Erik Bermudez:

So, Anand, if we dig into the third area a little bit, you brought this up when you were talking about Medchart overall and gave the introduction, you talked about taking this very person heavy process of medical records... And maybe there's a team or a couple of individuals doing this for the law firm within the firm... and digitizing it and making that workflow and process fully digital. What does that mean for the law firm and really what are the key benefits that come from that?

Anand Ablack:

Erik, at its core, it's really just modernizing the processes within the firm. I mean, this isn't unique to the medical record retrieval. I think a lot of the core processes that technology forward firms are adopting now, the cloud is the place to be for any number of reasons. What it means specifically around the medical record retrieval process is that firms are able to move to the cloud to, especially in the COVID situation that we're in right now, have the opportunity to work in a distributed work environment seamlessly. All of the stakeholders, whether it's attorneys, the paralegals, anybody involved in the case, there's full visibility to track what's going on, what's the status of the requests, to make sure that everything keeps running on time.

And then from the other side, it allows firms to meet changing client expectations. Clients don't necessarily want to have to come into the law firm to sign off on paperwork and do all of those things that they've done in the past. So with Medchart, we offer options to be able to do all of that via the cloud, via our online portal, and for clients to even be able to sign by email, or text, or whatever's the most convenient way to do it.

So long story short, we just offer the opportunity for firms to really take this piece of their business, to gain efficiencies and to be able to do it from anywhere.

Erik Bermudez:

I tell you, I think that the COVID situation and pandemic really put an exclamation point on what you just mentioned in terms of it's all cloud-based and it's fully digital I mean, the fact that people don't have to come into the office, I mean, I imagine for some law firms, about a year ago, when everything shut down, I mean, that was a big problem that they had to work through. Medchart helps with that.

Anand Ablack:

Absolutely. And that was really one of the key things. And not just for our platform, but I think generally for the industry, COVID has been a real catalyst for people to embrace new technology and recognize the value that it's going to deliver to firms.

Erik Bermudez:

Let's talk about one of the last points here when it comes to Medchart is, you talked about this a little bit earlier as well, but building of the provider network. So maybe you can tell us a little bit how Medchart approaches building that provider network and what that means for law firms today.

Filip Sierpinski:

Yeah, so with the provider network at Medchart, us being a tech forward company, we know the future of record retrieval is not by fax and mail. So the way that I like to explain it is we're basically building electronic railway, and we're connecting to medical records digitally through API, because that is the future of how this industry is going to go. And insurance companies are already figuring this out. They're partnering with vendors just like us, because they want to be able to access those records a lot quicker. We have over a thousand connected providers, average turnaround time on those are under five business days. And we can get you all sorts of data. We can get hospital records, healthcare providers, pharmacy, billing, imaging, any kind of medical data underneath the sun, we can get that information for you.

And interestingly enough, in the U.S., The Cures Act is stipulating that, by the end of this year, that the records do have to be available by API. So there is even legislation pushing this along, which is really helping to drive the change in this industry. And that's really when I think of partners and who you're working with, you want to be somebody at the cutting edge of technology in the forefront and that's what Medchart is, we're always evolving and expanding. And our customers tell me that again and again, how they like working with us for that reason.

Erik Bermudez:

That's great. That's great. I can absolutely see how that can be a huge positive in terms of the sharing of the records electronically through APIs, how much quicker and more efficient that is rather than fax and paper.

Erik Bermudez:

So, one thing that we discussed earlier is kind of this next frontier of medical records and the next frontier of where Medchart is pushing the envelope. And one thing that you mentioned is artificial intelligence and machine learning, I would love for you to dig into that a little bit. What that means, what is it, whatever you're comfortable sharing, and how does that apply the future of medical records?

Filip Sierpinski:

Yeah, sure, Erik, let me take that. So we've talked a lot about the existing process and just being able to do that more efficiently. The next phase of what we're looking at here and what we're investing in is really moving from aggregation. So it's not just about getting the records, getting them completely, getting them in digital format, but then really moving to insights. So what are you going to do with those records? From a law firms perspective, what are the key things that you're looking for to inform your case? So think of it as it's really about the next steps.

Filip Sierpinski:

So how do the records inform case strategy? What are the key conditions, or impairments, or drugs, drug names, drug devices, device names, device numbers, what is that critical information that the lawyer and the firm need to run their case? Right now, it's still a very time intensive and a very labor intensive process. We're investing in data science capabilities to make sure that we can use technology to help cut down that review time. So through artificial intelligence, machine learning, we're finding those insights that would otherwise take paralegals hours of work. So that's really what we're focused on right now.

Filip Sierpinski:

In the U.S, we've launched this with some of our clients on the mass tort side of the spectrum. So for cases like opioids, or Roundup, or Zantac, you can appreciate that this really pays dividends when you're talking about scale of cases like that. And in 2021, this is going to be a one of our focus areas to not only apply this to mass torts, but also to look at how it can be beneficial for even single plaintiff work on both sides of the border.

Erik Bermudez:

That's fascinating. One word that really stood out there is scale. And if you're talking about hundreds, if not thousands, of requests, having a partner that has the machine learning and the artificial intelligence capacity to be able to apply that, to allow them to scale, is incredibly important and valuable. So I appreciate you digging into that a little bit. One thing that our customers, Filevine users, mention sometimes is, if we set the service aside, the nuts and bolts of the offering and the deliverable, and you just look into how is the company going to take care of me? How can I have confidence that Medchart, in this case, will take care of me as a customer of theirs? Maybe you can talk a little bit about what does the customer service element look like with Medchart?

Filip Sierpinski:

Yeah, I'll take this one, Erik. It actually makes me think of a monthly review that I sit with a large client here in the personal injury in mass tort space here in Canada. And so during the month review, the operations' manager told us like, "We really think of Medchart as a part of our team." And that was really a compliment to us and I think it speaks to really what we pride ourselves on is our customer service, our communication transparency. And so we give transparency of the request in the portal, but it's really is if you need access to us, the chat function, we always have live agents in there. If you need to reach out to customer support, you have access through phone and email.

And this really resonated because they really feel like if they need an update on a request, that Medchart is there to be able to provide that information. And to be a part of someone's organization, they feel like we're one of them or a team of it, that really speaks to our ability to get that confidence for the customers.

And I've heard it again and again with customers, even where a paralegal would go in for review with a attorney, and they're able to provide much better updates on clients, where records stand, what's going on with that? Why is this not fulfilled? Because all that visibility is in our system. And attorneys have told me firsthand that this is a game changer for them, where the paralegals aren't doing as much work. They feel there's a lot less stress. The part of the job that they really didn't like, and they're frustrated with, and it's really time consuming, has just been taken off their plate. And if you can increase office morale and make people happier, that's a win.

And the one thing that I find interesting, this is happening recently, where paralegals will leave one law firm and go to another one, and they come in to these organizations and say, "Hey, we refuse to do request the old way. We want Medchart." And they'll bring in Medchart. And I think that really speaks to the confidence that we give our clients because we see it happen again and again, where they bring Medchart into these new firms that they're being employed at.

Erik Bermudez:

Fil, coming from a software company ourselves at Filevine, I can't think of any better compliment to have a customer state, "We feel like you're an extension of our team and you're a part of our team." So that means a lot and I appreciate you going through that. And that's exactly why we value this relationship. We already currently have many overlapping clients that both use Medchart services and are also a customer of Filevines, and they're very satisfied. And we're excited about where this relationship and partnership goes in 2021.

So let's say there's a firm listening in, a managing partner, paralegal, whoever's listening, they want to learn more about Medchart and about the partnership and relationship that you have with Filevine, where do they go to learn more about your services?

Anand Ablack:
Yeah. Well, first of all, Erik, I just say, absolutely, this is an important partnership for Medchart as well. We do have a lot of common customers on the mass torts side of things, as well as with single plaintiff firms. I think what they've really appreciated is the integrations and what we've been able to do together to date. And I think as we build out this partnership and continuously look to improving the way that our two products work together and make it as easy for customers as possible, I think that's going to be a huge benefit for both companies.

Filip Sierpinski:

And to find more information, they can go to medchart.com/legal, that will give them information with the personal injury segment. If they want info on the mass tort segment, they go to medchart.com/mass-tort, and that will give them a mass tort. And if they want to reach out to me directly and they say they heard the recording through the Filevine podcast, they can just email me at sales@medchart.com. And I think you guys put links to all that in the show notes. Yeah, feel free to reach out and send me an email, I'm happy to address.

Erik Bermudez:

Thank you so much, Fil, we really appreciate your time.

Anand, thank you so much, appreciate your time today on the podcast.

And thanks for everyone listening in on today's podcast of Taking the Stand. Have a wonderful day.