Medical record retrieval

Traditional Attending Physician Statements (APS) have been a part of the standard risk assessment process for decades. However, it can be cumbersome, time-consuming and costly. It’s a common pain point for both home office underwriters and life insurance agents – extending the policy issue cycle time into weeks.  It requires multiple contact points with physicians and applicants to obtain the information from the medical facility.

The frustration we hear about the APS process has resonated through our annual Customer Satisfaction Survey. Over the past three years, APS time-service and service quality continue to fall short of expectations. As a result, we have made it a priority to identify ways to improve and invest in this process, to help make it a simpler and faster solution. 

Here are 4 ways we are investing in our medical record retrievals to improve the overall process  

Real-time medical record results – Through LabPiQture™ and medical claims data, insurers can receive up to seven years of historical laboratory testing results. These results are retrieved in near real-time, allowing insurers to make decisions quickly and confidently. From physician-ordered testing results to doctor specialties, insurers receive a comprehensive report detailing past laboratory tests.

The nature of LabPiQture real-time access provides our partners the ability to incorporate medical records in an accelerated workflow or a full underwriting workflow. Recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, insurers have adopted LabPiQture as an alternative to a paramedical exam. If the LabPiQture report does not provide sufficient information, it can be triaged into a full underwriting workflow.

Electronic Health Records (EHR) – Now with a connection to leading EHR providers, ExamOne has direct access to electronic medical records. Through this integration, physicians listed in the EHR database will be identified and the APS request will be routed to the EHR system, reducing days to weeks off the APS request wait time.

Direct connection to copy service – One critical component of the process affecting the APS turnaround times is the copy services contracted to release records on behalf of the provider. We have secured direct connections that allow us to bypass the doctor/provider and reach out directly to the copy service. This reduces the number of calls and wait time in reaching out to the physician’s office and improves the overall communication/status process.

APS Summary – Through a partnership with Aosta Insurance Services, we are leveraging their technology to provide a summary of any medical file. This tool is directly integrated into our retrieval process, eliminating extra connections and reducing turnaround times. This summary service reduces the time spent reviewing each individual APS, allowing insurers to spend their time in other areas.

A few tips that could help improve time service and overall quality of the APS orders:

  • Provide the full name and address of the physician or medical facility where records are being requested
  • Provide the HIPAA authorization at time of ordering
  • Provide the applicant email address that can be utilized should the medical facility require a special authorization. ExamOne will forward the appropriate form directly to the applicant for signature

Our goal is to help alleviate some of the pain points insurers and agents feel when it comes to an APS. Applicants are making the important decision to purchase life insurance, and we want to make the process as easy and rapid as possible, for you and for them.

Note: ExamOne requires prior written consent from insurance applicants, which appears in the HIPAA- compliant authorization that is part of the insurance application. The authorization must be signed and dated prior to accessing the information.

The world has changed. How people are managing their health is changing, including the life insurance applicant population. The long-term impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the general health of millions of Americans is yet to be determined. However, we are monitoring closely the trends in our life insurance laboratory population for common health indicators like diabetes (A1c), heart disease (BMI, cholesterol), and liver issues (ALT, AST, GGT). Initially, we are seeing slight increases in our overall laboratory results database for these tests.

Society and lifestyle changes associated with the COVID-19 pandemic also appear to be having a negative impact which can be reflected in laboratory and biometric results. New risk factors such as “quarantine 15” weight gain, regular Zoom happy hours (alcohol consumption), more sedentary lifestyles, and delayed medical care in the insurance-buying population all contribute to the aggregate testing trends we show.

More weight and more alcohol
In a WebMD poll of more than 1,000 US readers, nearly half of the women and almost one-quarter of the men said they’d gained weight “due to COVID restrictions.” The poll conducted in May 2020 found that 26% said they gained 7-9 pounds and 21% attributed it to “extra alcohol consumption.”

According to a Morning Consult poll of 2,200 U.S. adults conducted in early April, 16% of all adults said their drinking had increased during the pandemic, with higher rates among younger adults. Nielsen reports alcohol sales in stores were up 54% in late March compared to that time last year, while online alcohol sales were up nearly 500% in late April. We know alcohol abuse and misuse has an impact on mortality and a life insurer’s bottom line.

Our physician colleagues at Quest Diagnostics are also monitoring health outcome changes and recently published 2 reports that outline other health challenges related to COVID-19

Reduced diabetes monitoring

Recent research discovered a trend of reduced hemoglobin A1c diabetes monitoring. The report shows interruptions in A1c testing because of daily, unusual social or societal circumstances, such as the stay-at-home orders associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, which may impair diabetes management.

Decline in cancer diagnoses due to COVID-19
While residents have taken to social distancing, cancer does not pause. JAMA Network Open published a research letter submitted by medical experts from Quest Diagnostics that found a 46% decline in newly diagnosed cases of 6 cancers during the pandemic, based on analysis of de-identified laboratory test results. The findings are significant for revealing patterns of delayed cancer diagnosis due to COVID-19, which “will likely lead to presentation of cancer at more advanced stages and poorer clinical outcomes.”

On a more hopeful and personal note, I’m seeing the potential for some positive health changes to occur during the pandemic due to the increased physical activity in my neighborhood. This may be a result of a recent rise in dog adoptions. I love seeing all the “new” puppies while walking my “older” Corgis to help keep us all in shape. Nonetheless, the one constant in monitoring these changes, positive and negative, is the importance of laboratory testing to accurately evaluate everyone’s health—including your life insurance applicants.

“On The Risk” Magazine Features Quest and ExamOne’s Response to COVID-19

September 14, 2020 Carriers

This month our Executive Vice President, Laboratory Strategy and Sales, Betsy Sears, was featured in On the Risk. In her article, Betsy discusses the response by Quest Diagnostics® and ExamOne to the coronavirus pandemic. This virus disrupted personal lives as well as many industries. Take a look at this article to see how Quest navigated […]

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A day in the life of a risk assessment insurance specimen: From blood draw to delivered results, specimens are sent through a detailed process to ensure specimen integrity

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A blood draw for a life insurance application is simple, but once the specimen arrives by air, courier or commercial delivery at the testing laboratory, things get quite impressive behind the scenes! Here’s a look from start to finish at how some underwriting decisions start with a simple blood draw.  Specimens are obtained during a […]

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Keeping a healthy heart: three health risks for life insurers to consider that could indicate future heart disease

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The heart is a tiny but powerful organ whose work is indispensable to the rest of the body. This 1-pound organ pumps nearly 2,000 gallons of blood every day. This Heart Month, we examine three contributing factors insurers can consider when reviewing a life insurance applicant’s laboratory and medical history. Smoking contributes to one-third of […]

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December 11, 2019 Brokers

You trust us to handle this important step in your client’s journey to protecting their family, but how are the health data for life insurance policy collected? It’s likely that if you’re not sure of some of this terminology, neither are your clients. We’ve found that key information about the process shared by you, as […]

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Exam location makes a difference in completion rates and turnaround time

October 21, 2019 Brokers

In the fall of 2018, ExamOne launched our expanded exam center network by adding hundreds of Quest Diagnostics® Patient Service Centers (PSC) to our life insurance exam network. This year we’re adding even more Quest locations to provide convenient options for life insurance applicants across the country. With access to more than 2,000 exam center […]

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Drinking through the life insurance exam: Why insurers should be concerned about an elevated blood alcohol concentration level

October 16, 2019 Carriers

When we talk about alcohol abuse and misuse, we can’t help but talk about the impact on mortality and a life insurer’s bottom line. Traditionally, insurers have primarily relied on applicant self-admission, the MIB, motor vehicle reports (MVRs), and the occasional APS “surprise” to identify potential alcohol-related risks. But how effective are these tools? Alcohol […]

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Celebrating Life Insurance Awareness Month: Four ways ExamOne showed our support

October 15, 2019 #Committed2 You

In September our industry celebrated Life Insurance Awareness Month (LIAM). We hope you joined us in spreading the word about the financial importance of life insurance. Here are a few ways ExamOne celebrated LIAM in 2019. Increasing awareness Throughout September, our teams focused on increasing awareness on the importance of life insurance. We offered educational videos and materials that agents […]

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