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A Thanksgiving Message from the CEO of MRO

As I reflect during this year’s Thanksgiving season, I find it both gratifying and humbling to see the progress that MRO has made since our humble beginnings in 2002. We formed MRO on the premise that a better platform for Release of Information (ROI) could be built, and we continue to evolve and meet the demands of our changing industry.

This year marked the company’s 15th anniversary, and as a co-founder of the company, I have had the great honor and privilege of watching the organization evolve and grow. There have been both exciting and interesting times throughout MRO’s history, including major milestones that helped transform the organization into the industry-recognized leader for Protected Health Information (PHI) disclosure management. I would like to take a moment to thank all our clients, employees and partners for the company’s continued growth and success.

Highlights and Milestones for MRO in 2017 Include:

  • MRO was named the KLAS Category Leader in the Release of Information service category for the fourth year in a row. As the 2017 Category Leader, MRO was rated No. 1 for ROI with an overall performance score of 93.7 out of 100, an increase from 91.9 in the 2015/2016 Best in KLAS: Software & Services report. KLAS scores are weighted in the following key areas – sales and contracting, implementation and training, service and support, and general and overall services.
  • Our Patient Advocate program at MRO’s National Service Center won a Stevie®Award for innovation in customer service. The Patient Advocate program was initiated by MRO’s Client Support team in 2016 to elevate the PHI disclosure management company’s focus on patient satisfaction. The Patient Advocate team provides specialized support to patients requesting medical records from MRO’s client locations.
  • named MRO the No. 34 midsize company on a list of Top Workplaces in Philadelphia. Out of 14,000 companies in the Philadelphia area, only 125 companies made this prestigious list.
  • Inc. magazine named MRO one of the fastest-growing private companies in the nation for the third year in a row. MRO’s appearance at No. 3988 on the annual list was a rare third showing after the company ranked No. 3903 in 2016, and 3290 in 2015.

We are proud to be recognized for our strong client and employee satisfaction scores as MRO grows, and we strive to continuously exceed expectations.

I’ll close with a note to our clients that it was great seeing so many of you at the recent AHIMA Convention in Los Angeles. Being at the convention this year only added to my sentiments as we had one of the larger booths in the exhibit hall. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that we were a first-time vendor with a small exhibit space and a handful of clients. I talk about MRO’s history exhibiting at the convention in the below video. Watch it to hear a funny story about our first time exhibiting!

2017 AHIMA Reflections Video: MRO’s History of Exhibiting

Our company’s success would not be possible without the contributions and support of so many people over the years, for which I am eternally grateful. Thank you, and Happy Thanksgiving!

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Outsourcing Release of Information: Henry Ford Health System Testimonial

Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) is one of the nation’s largest healthcare providers. The auto pioneer himself founded it in 1915 to serve Detroit autoworkers. The group has since grown into an integrated health system employing more than 30,000 full-time workers and handling millions of patient visits a year.

HFHS Partners with MRO for Release of Information

To better meet the needs of its patients, HFHS turned to MRO for outsourcing Release of Information (ROI) more than a decade ago. HFHS was one of MRO’s early clients, and we’re proud that they are still a client today. Over the years, we have continued to evolve our Protected Health Information (PHI) disclosure management services to meet the changing needs of our clients. A recent example is the implementation of MROeLink®, an interface between MRO’s ROI Online® platform and HFHS’s Epic medical records software. With the interface in place, our client has realized notable productivity improvements.

Watch the video below to hear Sheila Bowlds, Director of HIM and Hospital Coding at Henry Ford Health System, share why HFHS continues to partner with MRO, including some details around our MROeLink Epic integration.


Hi, my name’s Sheila Bowlds, and I am the Director of HIM and Hospital Coding at Henry Ford Health System.

Henry Ford Health System is a large health system located with its main campus in Detroit, Michigan, with about an 800-bed hospital there. In addition to that, there are four other acute care hospitals located in the southeastern Michigan area, along with several clinics. In addition to that, there is a detox hospital and also a mental health hospital.

Henry Ford Health System has been with MRO for approximately 13 years. We were one of the initial customers, and I’ve only been at Henry Ford Health System for a year and a half. I’ve had very good experiences with MRO. We have a Shared Services relationship with MRO, where our staff do the inputting of the authorizations and then also the pushing out of the documents to MRO. Then, MRO does the rest of the release, handles anything in the call center, does all the billing and takes care of all that business for us.

I came from a health system where everything was done internally. So, working with MRO, when a patient has a question, they call MRO, and MRO handles it very positively. With any issues that come up, MRO is very attentive in taking care of any of those issues.

We did just initiate MROeLink. The MROeLink has been a really great success for our health system, and the MROeLink has improved the turnaround time because it’s the technology that can be used with that. And the request can be input more quickly because there is an interface with Epic that can pull across the demographic information; and then, also when they’re working on the releases, they can work on multiple releases at one time rather than having to wait. So, I think it’s just been a really good success.

Henry Ford Health System continues to partner with MRO because it’s been a long-standing relationship— a very positive relationship. It’s very collaborative, so whenever we have something that we need, we feel free to contact MRO. And, they’re always very attentive to anything that is needed.

The top reasons I would recommend MRO is that we have a very collaborative relationship with MRO, and that we use the Shared Services model which our staff can still control what is being sent out to the patient or to the requester, and MRO will take care of all the back office business that’s needed for those releases. They take care of all the call centers, all the billing and all the mailing. There’s also the technology from them that they can push out in a different type of file or we wouldn’t have that type of capability.

We have a very good relationship with MRO. I do feel like it is a very team oriented type of a relationship, and that they’re very attentive. They provide education to my staff. They’re very up on any new Release of Information type of regulations that come up. And, they help guide us also in that type of release and making sure we’re up to date on everything.

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Reflections from AHIMACon17: Merger Mania and its Impact on Privacy and Health Information Management Systems

Merger Mania

At the 2017 AHIMA National Convention and Exhibit, MRO’s client Melissa Landry of Ochsner Health System and I co-presented a session titled “Merger Mania: Impact to Privacy and Health Information Management.” In this presentation, we discussed industry trends around mergers of healthcare organizations and the impact on privacy, Health Information Management (HIM) systems and Protected Health Information (PHI) disclosure management.

Melissa Landry shared how Ochsner successfully responded to challenges resulting from healthcare mergers. Audience members learned strategies for addressing these types of challenges. Below is a video interview where I recap the presentation.

Video Recap: Merger Mania and its Impact on Privacy and Health Information Management Systems

Video Transcript

Rita: I’m Rita Bowen, and I am with MRO. And, I am their Vice President for Privacy, Compliance and HIM Policy.

Question: Tell us about the presentation you gave at the AHIMA Convention about “Merger Mania.”

Rita: I had the opportunity to work with Melissa Landry from Ochsner on a discussion of Merger Mania, and that has been so important because there have been so many physician facilities that are actually merging, buying physician practices, and there needs to be a dedicated process in getting that done correctly. It’s not simply, “I’m going to buy you, and make you part of my team.” There are Information Governance components that have to be demonstrated to make it work correctly.

Question: What best practices did you discuss during your presentation?

Rita: During our presentation today, we talked about best practices for this process of Merger Mania, and we actually took each of the components of Information Governance and threaded that through the discussion; the project management skills required in that; and, actually, the workflow that has to be determined. Because, you often find that the workflow in a physician practice has never been discussed, and you may find that a physician never closes their record, and most of the records will not come into an electronic health record system that you may be trying to merge unless they have actually been closed, which means someone has signed off on those records.

Question: What is MRO doing to address Merger Mania?

Rita: At MRO, we’re doing many things to address Merger Mania—through our acquisition process when we’re bringing on and partnering with a new customer, through the implementation process. We have an assessment phase that helps us do a deeper dive into workflow, and helps analyze those workflow issues. Then, there’s the policy review, which I do, which helps identify policies that the facility may be missing and/or may be complementing policies that we have; or they may be more stringent; or we may perhaps have a policy that’s more stringent, so that sets the foundation for the framework for the implementation team as they go through their education process.

Question: What are some of the biggest trends and themes you’ve noticed at this year’s AHIMA Convention?

Rita: At this year’s convention, some of the biggest trends that I’ve noticed and observed, especially in the general sessions, is that there’s still a focus and discussion regarding Information Governance (IG). There’s still a disconnect from many members thinking they’re not in that IG space. I contend that everything that everybody does in HIM is IG. Everybody is in some kind of lane of IG. It’s not different; it’s not a different domain; it’s one in the same of Health Information Management. The other big thing is population management and how information has got to flow in a way that it can be used in a way that patient privacy is still protected but it actually helps the population management improve health and improvements can be seen—because we still have a way to go there in this country.

Question: What is your favorite part about AHIMA?

Rita: When you ask me what my favorite part about AHIMA is, that’s hard because this is my 43rd convention, so obviously I love to come here. But, my favorite part is seeing friends. Seeing and networking with all the colleagues who I’ve worked with over the years. And, then networking is an excellent way to learn. You stay engaged with someone that’s doing one niche, because you may be working in a different lane, so it helps you stay identifiable into the whole processes. But, the friendships that you’ve maintained through those years is just so vital.

To download slides from MRO’s Merger Mania presentation, complete the form below.

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MRO’s 2017 AHIMA Product World: Panel of HIM Directors Cover Best Practices for Release of Information

MRO’s 2017 Product World Presentation

During the 2017 AHIMA Convention and Exhibit, I hosted MRO’s Product World presentation. During this session, myself along with four other panelists of Health Information Management (HIM) Directors reviewed the current environment in which HIM departments operate, and the associated challenges related to Protected Health Information (PHI) disclosure management. We then explored best practices for PHI disclosure management.

The four panelists in this session included Cindy Zak, Executive Director of Corporate HIM for Yale New Haven Health, Sandra Allen, Director of HIM for Ochsner Health System, Kyle McElroy, Assistant Vice President of HIM for IASIS Healthcare which is now a part of Steward Health, and Sheila Bowlds, Director of HIM and Hospital Coding for Henry Ford Health System. Below are some of the best practices that were discussed during the panel.

Implement Multiple Layers of Quality Assurance

Quality measures need to be highest priority to help ensure Release of Information (ROI) processing for healthcare organizations is compliant, secure and efficient.  It is important that multiple levels of Quality Assurance (QA) are applied to both the request authorization, and the health information to be released.

According to panelist Kyle McElroy, AVP of HIM for IASIS Healthcare/Steward Health, MRO’s QA technology enabled his organization to improve accuracy and compliance, and safeguard their health system against breach. The technology he referenced, called IdentiScan®, uses optical character recognition (OCR) verification technology to examine each page in a medical record for patient-identifying information before PHI is released.

Utilize Remote ROI Staff and Services

ROI vendors with advanced capabilities will offer remote ROI services to manage the ROI process for a healthcare organization from end-to-end, remotely. Additionally, such remote services may also be used to provide supplemental audit support through batch logging audits, pulling electronic records and releasing records remotely.

According to Cindy Zak, Executive Director of Corporate HIM for Yale New Haven Health, one of the biggest challenges her organization faced with ROI was that their staff handled too many tasks and were not able to receive proper ongoing training. By taking advantage of MRO’s remote services and implementing MRO’s MROeLink® Epic integration technology, Zak said her organization was able to utilize MRO’s highly-trained ROI specialists to streamline processing efforts, plus reduce paper transactions, improve their billing process and attain a consistent disclosure process.

Sandra Allen, HIM Director for Ochsner Health System, echoed Zak’s remarks about the improvements her organization realized through implementing remote services and MRO’s technology for automating Release of Information. Read the case study to learn more.

Consider a Patient Advocate

A Patient Advocate can provide targeted assistance to patients experiencing confusion, frustration or perceived difficulty regarding the medical record request process. Having a patient advocate in place shows patients that you care about them and provides them with an extra set of helping hands. During the AHIMA presentation, we discussed MRO’s award-winning Patient Advocate Program that provides specialized support to patients, with a heightened sense of compassion and empathy, by identifying and resolving urgent issues, while also simplifying and facilitating navigation through the ROI process.

Provide Ongoing Training and Education

To stay ahead of breach threats, healthcare organizations need employees who are trained on the most up-to-date HIPAA regulations and ROI requirements at the federal, state and facility level. Investing in the hiring, training and education of your employees is critical for ensuring the best client experience.

MRO’s training and education programs are powered through MRO Academy, a rigorous and required online educational curriculum for all MRO employees. Additionally, the company can provide custom trainings on ROI policies and procedures to hospital HIM staff. During the panel presentation at AHIMA, Sheila Bowlds, Director of HIM and Hospital Coding for Henry Ford Health System, said that MRO provided education for her staff, which helped improve her organization’s ROI process tremendously.

Release of Information Best Practices

Other ROI best practices that were discussed include: electronic request receipt and distribution capabilities, the needs for requester notification processes, interface connectivity with an EMR (specifically Epic), ease of implementation and onboarding processes, reporting transparency and management responsiveness.

To download MRO’s Best Practices Worksheet, complete the form below.

For additional information about our Product World presentation at AHIMA, watch our video, which touches on additional topics we covered like the impact of payer audits to HIM and the OCR’s initiatives around patient access. This video also recaps some themes from the AHIMA Convention, and some commentary about my favorite parts of the annual event.

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