As a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers have been looking for ways to keep staff safe without compromising productivity. For many, this has meant turning to a remote work model. Even within the essential healthcare environment, organizations have gotten increasingly creative when it comes to staffing. In particular, the medical records team is one administrative department that is well-suited to remote work.

While it can be difficult to change the mindset around remote work for release of information, there are several benefits and best practices that make this a practical solution for many healthcare organizations.

An Increased Talent Pool 

A remote release of information staffing model isn’t new, though the pandemic has certainly made it more appealing for many hospitals and clinical practices.

One major advantage to using remote staff to support release of information processes is the increased talent pool. For rural practices, especially, being able to source staff from across the country can help decrease time to fill health information management roles and strengthen the overall talent quality with this more expansive source of employees.

Employee Preference & Retention Considerations

Transitioning to a remote model for medical record management can also help healthcare organizations retain talent. While remote work has steadily increased in popularity in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has further spotlighted the appeal of this option.

Recent Gallup polls indicate that nearly 4 in 10 office workers currently prefer to work remotely, citing reasons including increased flexibility and continued health and safety concerns regarding the ongoing pandemic. The same article noted that the healthcare industry lags behind other sectors in its percentage of staff who are working remotely, likely due to the essential nature of these roles.

Looking ahead to a post-pandemic world, 26% of workers would still prefer to work remotely. Consider polling your employees to gain a better understanding of their preferences. Would they like to have the option to be fully remote? Would they prefer a hybrid environment? Use this feedback to inform future hiring and workplace decisions.

Hospitals and clinics interested in retaining their workforce should consider remote work options for their employees, where possible. While working remotely may not be possible for all positions, administrative functions like health information management can often be turned into remote roles with relative ease.

Training & Managing Remote Staff for Release of information

For a fully remote work environment, onboarding and training new hires poses a few unique challenges. First, it can be difficult for less tech-savvy employees to onboard remotely, creating a poorer experience for those hires. In addition, employers must provide a clear outline of resources for new employees to ensure they know where to go or who to ask when they have questions. If a remote release of information worker has a question on a specific EHR quirk, it’s important they know how to find a resolution. Lastly, in health information especially, it’s extremely important that employees have a secure and compliant at-home workspace, including a private area to work where other household members won’t be able to overhear or see any protected health information.

To counter these challenges, human resources and on-the-job managers should remain nimble in their efforts to get a new remote employee up to speed. The hiring manager should provide a detailed explanation of the at-home workspace setup requirements and expectations. Consider more one-on-one training and develop standard processes and reference videos to ensure all employees have access to the same materials for greater consistency in education. Virtual courses can also provide greater visibility for the employee’s manager, allowing them to track which modules the employee has completed. In addition, a digital reference guide can serve as a handy resource for new employees looking for answers on a given topic.

Rely on a Remote Work Expert for Release of Information

While transitioning onsite employees to remote work may not be possible for your unique situation, ScanSTAT Technologies brings a confident approach to remote work for release of information staff. We have employed remote workers in release of information for years and have a deep understanding of what it takes to maintain a remote staffing model to create a scalable, flexible team to support our clients in ROI. In addition to the hiring and talent pool advantages of remote work, we’ve found this option works well for our client partners, allowing them to maintain onsite space for direct patient care that may otherwise be dedicated to administrative functions.

At ScanSTAT, we partner with hospital, health systems, and clinics across the country for release of information and other health information management services. We offer both onsite and remote service models for our client partners based on the best fit for their needs.

If you’re interested in learning how to make health information management easier for everyone, get in touch with our team 

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