‘Paginator’ isn’t a term that most of us would have chosen to describe ourselves. A great deal of skill and knowledge is required to collate a person’s disorganised medical records. Often records are not stored centrally, and even those which are easily located are jumbled, contain other people’s records and may even be missing essential notes. Hours may be spent identifying these records and collating them into an order that can be easily analysed by legal and medical teams alike. In other words, it is not the hard work and skill that goes into the preparation of the bundle that gives us our name, but rather the polished, paginated bundle of records that the client gratefully receives from us.
By gaining accreditation you are demonstrating to current and potential clients that:
- You have a good understanding of the industry
- You are a reputable business with established protocols and quality control procedures
- You have a proven track record
- You are compliant with Data Protection and Confidentiality policies
- You are a good employer
- You have the correct professional indemnity insurances in place
You will also enjoy:
- A free listing on the PAGE directory with the option of adding your logo and a reciprocal link to/from your website
- Use of the PAGE logo as a kite-mark quality standard on your marketing literature and your website
- An enjoyable and informative members day
- Best practice guidance and advice to manage your business in the best interests of service users
Support in the negotiation of industry-wide terms and conditions or standards of practice, e.g. terms of payment
The Criteria of Membership
- Five Structured Testimonials: An accredited firm will be a proven provider of quality pagination services to the legal industry. This will be partly established through the provision of five testimonials: 1 from Counsel, 1 from a Medical Expert and 3 from solicitors of different law firms, two of which need to be panel accredited.
- Established service for a minimum of two years: The ultimate value of pagination services cannot be fully assessed until a case has settled, which of course can take years. Pagination providers with this length of experience have had sufficient time to be able to claim successes (or failures) and build up credibility. They will also have worked with key changes in the industry, which is essential to being able to provide solid advice and services to their clients.
- Quality Control Procedure: The medical records bundle is often the key piece of evidence used in a clinical negligence or personal injury claim, and they will find themselves in the hands of medical and legal experts. It is therefore of the utmost importance that a pagination firm has an established method of controlling quality. This can be demonstrated by submitting documented workflow processes and associated record keeping.
- Data Protection Policy and Data Security Overview: Compliance with data protection, confidentiality and other items of security: There is very little that is more sensitive than the handling of a person’s medical records. This can be demonstrated by certificates of security as well as company policy documentation.
- Estimate Policy: Budgeting is increasingly important to clients, and in upcoming fixed recoverable fees regime, this will be even more important. The ability to work to estimates can be easily demonstrated through written estimate policies.
- Good Employer: A pagination company needs to take extra precautions to ensure that its staff are of high quality with appropriate qualifications and are trustworthy. Employer’s contracts of employment (or terms and conditions for self-employed) can be submitted to show that they are up-to-date with fair policies and include all necessary provisions such as confidentiality policies/practices.
- Defined Sorting and Summarising Procedures: Pagination companies need clear guidelines for their staff in order to ensure consistency and clarity for the client and courts. This can be demonstrated with the provision of company training and/or procedural materials.
- Professional Indemnity Insurance: For the protection of the law firm, a pagination company should ensure that such insurance is in place or that sufficient cover is somehow included. This could be through agreed terms and conditions in the policies of the firms.
- Complaints Procedure: Most pagination firms will have had to handle instances where the legal client was unhappy about a certain aspect of the service. It is important to the client to know what his/her rights are and what can be done about such complaints. This criterion can be demonstrated by documented complaints processes and the associated record keeping.
- Ongoing training and sharing of knowledge with staff: The evolution of healthcare policies, procedures and record-keeping mean that pagination firms are required to keep their knowledge of the healthcare fresh. Likewise, new entrants to the industry may be unfamiliar with previous policies and ways of working. Such information needs to be shared and disseminated amongst the pagination team to ensure they are correctly identifying records and their significance. Meeting this criterion can be demonstrated in various ways, such as the submission of training calendars or copies of memos/bulletins that mark the frequency and range of communication with staff.
Clicking on ‘Become a Member‘ takes you to a page which registers your interest with PAGE. An application pack will be sent to you for you to complete. Once submitted and the application fee is paid, the assessment process begins. The assessment can take up to 30 days to process.
As part of the application process, you will need to submit some documentation as evidence that you meet some of the criteria required to become accredited by PAGE. These documents will not be seen by anyone other than the independent assessors. Failure to submit the following documents will result in a failed application:
- Sorting and summarising procedure: This document will demonstrate that you and your staff follow clear guidelines and procedures, ensuring that the client benefits from a bundle that is prepared consistently and logically.
- Complaints procedure: This document will demonstrate that clients have a clear means of addressing their complaints. It might also demonstrate what the client might expect in terms of coming to a satisfactory resolution.
- Estimate policy: This document will demonstrate the approach you take towards providing estimates for your work and then adhering to those estimates so that budgets are maintained and the client is in full control of potential costs.
- Quality control procedure: This documentation might come in a variety of forms, but it must demonstrate that you have methods of ensuring quality in the services that you provide.
- An example of an employee training document: This should offer an example of the type of training that your staff undergo which assures a quality service is provided to the client.
- An example of an employee information update document: This should demonstrate that you maintain regular communications with your staff to keep them updated on changing policies, procedures, client requests and the like. This could take many forms such as emails, memos or minutes of meetings, etc.
- Professional indemnity insurance certificate: This assures that the client is protected from bearing the full cost of defending himself or of damages that he might have to pay in the event of negligence caused by a serious error or omission in your work.
- ICO Data Protection registration certificate/proof: This demonstrates your commitment to safeguarding the sensitive data that you work with.
There is an application fee of £75. This will cover the costs of the independent assessor and other associated costs. This fee will be non-refundable.
Once your application has been accepted there is a joining fee of £150. This is a one-off fee and covers all the set-up costs associated with new membership as well as a contribution towards marketing and other of the organisation’s activities.
The annual membership fee is waived until January 2018. It will then be a variable fee payable once a year to cover general costs of membership and contribute towards the organisation’s upcoming activities. It will be calculated pro-rata if you join after 31 January.
This is in the constituion and has therefore already been agreed.
The Appeals Process
- Should the independent assessor deem the applicant to have not met all of the criteria noted above, and the applicant has confirmed that all information has been submitted in full, the applicant will be deemed to have failed the accreditation process.
- If the application for accreditation is unsuccessful, the applicant has the right to appeal against the assessor’s decision. There are two grounds on which they can appeal:
- If the assessment procedure was not followed correctly;
- If the application was not fairly and properly assessed against the published criteria.
- Grounds on which an appeal is not permissible include (but are not limited to):
- Disagreeing with the assessor’s decision;
- Wishing to submit new information.
- Appeals should be sent in writing within two months of the date of the letter informing the applicant that the application was unsuccessful. The address to use is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The appeal should clearly state the grounds on which the appeal is based with a maximum of 600 words commenting on information contained in the application assessment report.
- We will acknowledge receipt of your e-mail and send all documentation to an Appeal Panel. When they have reached a decision, a copy of their report will be forwarded to you. The decision of the Appeal Panel is final.
- If successful, this does not necessarily mean that you will become accredited. This will depend on what the appeal was about and what the findings were. We will let you know what this means when we send you their report.
- If the appeal is unsuccessful, you can still apply for accreditation again, however we will not be able to accept a new application until twelve months after the date of the letter telling you that your resubmission was unsuccessful. If you do apply again, your application will be treated as an entirely new application.
The process of renewal will entail a review of member services, ensuring that standards continue to be met. The details of this process are being developed and will be shared in due course.
Because a PAGE member must satisfy a strict set of criteria which has been formulated to promote professional standards and best practice in the preparation of medical records. This accreditation will demonstrate their commitment to excellence.
The criteria includes:
- Having an established business with documented protocols and quality control procedures
- Being able to demonstrate proven standards (testified by three solicitors from three different firms, one expert witness and one counsel member)
- Compliance with up to date Data Protection and Confidentiality policies 4) Showing their ability to work within agreed cost constraints and timescales
- Having a clear complaints procedure
- Being a good employer
- Being properly insured.
What our clients are saying
An accreditation process and “kite mark” standard is long overdue. Properly collated medical records and thorough and accurate chronologies are critical; omissions and errors can be costly so it is so important to be able to identify the bonafide, experienced and knowledgeable firms from the myriad of pagination companies that have sprung up. A Best Practice standard can only be a good thing for the industry and for the injured persons.
We regularly receive comments from our experts on how the quality of the pagination has made their job easier and quicker, and have also comments from trial judges regarding the calibre of the work. Recently we were persuaded to trial the services of a new fledgling pagination service. Having trialled them on one case it merely emphasised the huge gap between the service they provided and the service that we were accustomed to. Having trialled this company it merely reinforced the need to use a reputable, well established firm for these services.
Medical records are crucial to the proper investigation of any clinical negligence case. They need to be properly and reliably checked for completeness, sorted, paginated and sometimes summarised by people who know what they are doing and understand how their work fits with the bigger picture. Mistakes in pagination and sorting can be fatal to a case. Regulation and accreditation of providers is long overdue and can only drive up standards. The good specialist providers will take the trouble to accredit their businesses, and ultimately the injured patient will benefit