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Making Medical Record Collation Cost Effective For Law Firms

By Jan Thompson, Director, Collaboras Legal

Issue 1

The tough economic climate, matched with recent changes in the rules governing the recovery of costs, brings mounting pressure on law firms to reduce overheads and maximise profit costs. With the impending consultation on the introduction of a fixed costs regime for clinical negligence cases, it is a crucial time for firms to review how best to run these cases leanly yet with the thoroughness that they inevitably require.

Reviewing the medical records is one of the most important tasks in a case, as they form the basis of the allegations of liability, and either corroborate or disprove the client’s version of events. A proper consideration of the records is essential in identifying the key issues in the claim at the outset, and thus driving efficiency in the handling of the case.

For firms that do not have a nurse working in-house, or who simply do not have the capacity to deal with their current workload, the advantages of using an outsourced provider are numerous.

Reviewing medical records can be time consuming. However, by instructing specialists, fee earners can be free to work on other chargeable cases.

Collation companies can:

The combined knowledge and expertise of the larger collation companies, which have a multidisciplinary team of nurses, midwives, lawyers and doctors, ensures that their service is very cost-effective.

Upon receipt of the completed work, the fee earner should be able to ascertain very quickly if their client has a valid claim and in what direction it should be taken.

The fees for this service can be recovered as a disbursement, or as profit costs at the applicable hourly rate at the end of a successful case, thus equating to a zero cost service.

For example, the collation of some medical records is outsourced and takes 15 hours to complete. At a cost of say £50 per hour, this disbursement is £750 (excluding VAT).

If the case is successful this can be charged as profit costs of say £150 per hour or £2,250. In addition, the fee earner could have spent 15 hours on other chargeable work or a further £2,250. The potential total profit is therefore £4,500 less the £750 cost, totaling £3,750 in a successful case, or £1,500 (excluding VAT) in an unsuccessful case.

The key is to choose a provider who can offer a bespoke service, can be flexible to your requirements on a case-by-case basis; and has a multi-disciplinary team with a breadth of experience. This will ensure that the service is of true benefit and cost-effective.