Medi2data has been featured in an article, published in FT Adviser on 4 March 2021, which focuses on innovation in underwriting and addresses the benefits of electronic services for medical reporting.
The insurance industry is under pressure as a result of Covid, and it’s set to increase. As the job retention scheme ends1, there will be increases in unemployment, those on universal credit and income protection claims. This will mean an increase in requests for medical reports as people need to demonstrate if they have a health condition or disability that prevents them from working2.
With GPs dealing with the vaccination roll-out, logistical restrictions on the number of patients they can see in surgeries, and increased remote consultations, this is a pressure to their workload they could well do without. The result is likely to be increased delays in medical reports being processed which is bad news for all, not least patients who will face delays to payments. Insurers will be impacted too as they deal with the administrative burden of chasing, processing and managing patient data.
Richard Freeman, managing director of Medi2data says: ‘Sharing patient medical data, with patients’ consent, efficiently and quickly, is in the interests of everyone involved, from insurers to GP surgeries to patients. That need is about to increase and it’s vital that a solution is in place.’
It’s paramount that any electronic transfer of medical information is GDPR-compliant, swift, secure and trusted. Just as structured medical data reports make it easier to review and sign-off by GP practices, it also makes it easier for insurers to review for underwriting and claims assessment. The majority of GP surgeries are now able to transfer medical information that has patient approval in this manner and insurers need to be ready to work with them.
There are approximately 3 million Subject to Access Requests (SARS) every year and 2.8 million requests for medical reports (AMRA). The industry has been used to an average turnaround time for SARS of 30-40 days, and 25 days for AMRAs. However, the latest technology platform now makes it a reality to turn around SARS requests within 10-14 days, and AMRAs in just five days.
Richard Freeman continued, ‘The technology exists to make this impending increased demand much more manageable, and it’s vital for GPs, patients and insurers that it’s utilised. Now is the time for insurers to ensure they are fully aware of the latest platforms to fulfil AMRAs and to incorporate them into their administration of underwriting and claims processes and procedures.
‘GP surgeries have saved significant time using such technology, and this has proved a great incentive for them to use it – which of course is key in the insurance process – and the resulting five-day turnaround brings clear advantages for insurers: benefitting their customers, ie patients, too.’
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extended to 30 April 2021 – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.
- You might get an extra amount of Universal Credit if you have a health condition or disability that prevents you from working or preparing for work – https://www.gov.uk/health-conditions-disability-universal-credit
The admin burden on GPs and practice staff
Subject to Access requests and patient medical reports are part of the everyday non-clinical services that GP practices provide for insurance companies, solicitors, employers, and government agencies, with the average practice receiving about 12 report requests a week.
Despite encouragement to request reports digitally from the Association of British Insurers, BMA and ICO, over 90% of medical report requests are still sent to GP practices by post.
With GP practices stretched to breaking point and about to embark on the COVID-19 vaccination programme, completing medical reports can very easily slip to the bottom of the priority pile.
The cost of inefficient processes
To process a report manually can take practice staff between 20 to 80 minutes, including scanning, printing, redacting non GDPR-compliant information, passing the information to GPs for approval, and posting the report to the requesting organisation. The practice is also responsible for ensuring fees are paid where applicable.
Internal costs soar as staff time is allocated to these laborious tasks, and the process is open to error which can have dire consequences if reports are lost or not returned on time.
Removing the medical reporting headache
The BMA’s Access to medical reports guide mandates that practices should turn around medical reports within 21 days, but with the average GP practice working 50 hours a week more during the pandemic, how will they find the time? Some GP practices are warning that medical reports may take up to 8-9 weeks to complete.
The answer must lie in the adoption of technology that automates medical reporting, allowing GPs and practice staff to reallocate their time to more critical tasks.
Making the change to digital medical reporting
15-20% of practices have already made the change to digital reporting within their practices which can save up to 82% time and costs.
Deborah Smith, practice manager, and Lorraine Hall, finance officer, saw eMR+ as a logical solution to free up time and reduce stress within the practice.
Lorraine says, “It was a no-brainer for us. Our admin team used to spend hours every week struggling to complete reports, and now it takes just five minutes each morning. We send our instructions to the eMR+ team who manage the entire process, including same day response, Clinician sign-offand billing and payment services.”
Putting quality and security first
Medi2data’s CEO, Richard Freeman, said, “We built eMR+ in collaboration with GPs, clinicians and practice staff to ensure it meets the highest quality and security standards.
GPs like the secure protocols used to ensure high quality redaction processes are used to complete reports. eMR+ automates any fee payments too, which means practice managers can easily keep track of reports and payments, without having to spend time chasing third parties.
“As practices are struggling with an ever-increasing workload, this free service removes some of the non-essential pressure on staff, so their time can be reallocated to other tasks.
“Third parties are happy because they receive high-quality digital reports, and patients are happy because their claim or request is processed quickly, removing the stress and anxiety of waiting for paperwork that directly affects their lives”.