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How to Interpret Diagnostic Studies for Attorneys

7 April 2022


In science fiction and superhero stories, you would have come across x-ray vision as the superpower to see through objects; these objects appear in three dimensions and in full color!

However, a normal x-ray is a lot different. The electromagnetic radiation from the x-rays pass through the body parts and continue on their way out, leaving us only the shadows of the objects, mostly bones, in black and white.

An x-ray is the most common diagnostic test.

Emergency Medicine

When you go in to an emergency department of a hospital after a fall or a sprain/strain of any part of your body, the first test the emergency room physician recommends is an x-ray. Based on the result of the x-ray, they might recommend further studies such as MRI and take you through specialty consultations to arrive at a precise diagnosis. The commonly performed x-rays are poster anterior, anteroposterior, and lateral x-rays.

Preventive Care – Disease Prevention

During a routine physical, physicians may suggest preventive studies such as a colonoscopy or mammography based on your family history or the clinical symptoms at the visit.

There are minimally invasive diagnostic studies – such as a colonoscopy, where a camera is attached to the tip of a tube (to detect changes in the colon), esophagoscopy (to look at the esophagus), etc. Likewise, there are also non-invasive diagnostic studies such as CAT scans, MRI scans, etc.

Usually, a bowel prep is given before an invasive procedure, such as colonoscopy, to clear your digestive tract and get a clear view of your digestive system.

Diagnostic Care – Probable Existing Medical Condition

Diagnostic studies such as an ultrasound, electrocardiogram (ECG), electromyography (EMG) are recommended when the physician suspects a disease condition.

For example, you will have to wear a small device called a Holter monitor that records the rhythm of your heart to detect irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias).

Another example would be a biopsy of a sample tissue extracted from the suspected disease site to test in a laboratory to identify irregular patterns at the cellular level.

To diagnose a herniated disc, physicians may recommend an MRI to determine if the disc is impinging on a nerve root.

Many other radiologic studies help diagnose various disease conditions in our body, including osteoporosis (brittle bones), osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, and even multiple sclerosis (a disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord).

Insurance, Workers, and Attorneys

Unfortunately, insurance does not cover all the diagnostic studies. There may be a case where a diagnostic analysis is not part of your insurance plan, such as a brain MRI in an accidental injury.

A workplace injury or a motor vehicle accident injury such as a sprain of the back or neck or a more severe injury such as a fractured bone will need radiologic studies to provide enough details to the physician to diagnose a disease condition. Based on this, the physician may suggest an emergent surgery or therapies before the patient can resume normal life.

Medical insurance disputes come to an attorney’s office. The attorney would end up with a large amount of medical data that includes patient diagnostic studies.

Medical Record Review for Attorneys

The names and purposes of the diagnostic studies and the medical terminologies involved in these studies may confuse an attorney.  Here’s where a medical records review summary can help.

Right at the initiation of the medical records review process, medical record indexing occurs where the lab reports and the radiology reports are isolated for a special case review to focus only on the result of the diagnostic procedure performed.

In the review of lab reports, the summary includes only the abnormal values and the normal values are ignored.

In case of radiology reports, the summary includes both the normal and abnormal. A comparison from the prior study becomes significant here to look at the progression of the disease condition.

The attorney is shielded from the medical jargon and devices involved in the procedure and provided only with the physician’s impression-and-plan segment of the report.

The date of the study and the facility where the study was performed are also clearly documented in the summary.

An efficient medical record reviewer has essential knowledge of the diagnostic studies performed and the body parts involved. They are able to connect with the patient’s medical conditions and identify the components and devices involved, and provide a medical records review summary that will help the attorneys breathe easily.

Equipped with a concise medical record summary, the attorney can proceed with the legal proceedings confidently and arrive at the logical conclusion of the case.

Why choose PreludeSys?

PreludeSys is a leader in the medical records review industry and has helped several law firms and their attorneys with a well-constructed medical records review summary to help them in their medico-legal lawsuits.

Our services have achieved the ISO 27001:2013 certification in the medical record review domain. In addition, we provide end-to-end data encryption and adhere to HIPAA compliance.

Our reviewers are constantly refreshed on best practices and are well versed in handling all types of reports, including lab reports and radiology reports. Contact our team today for a cost effective medical records review solution.

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