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Record Grabber: Copy Service vs. Retrieval Service


It can be easy to confuse Medical Record Copy Services with Medical Record Retrieval Services, thinking only one is necessary and not the other. Why are these two services continuously confused with each other? Despite being involved in the same industry, there are distinct differences between companies in the separate field. While both industries are related to obtaining the same material (i.e., medical records), the two industries meet differing needs between the legal and health fields. Let’s delve deeper into the differences between Copy Services and Retrieval Services.

Copy Service

Copy Services work directly with medical providers acting as a liaison for patients and customers. They are hired by medical providers to fill any incoming requests for medical records or billing statements. This service alleviates the burden off the facility of having to copy all records and send the records out to each requestor. Familiar company names within the Copy Service industry include: IOD, MRO, and Health Port. Have you heard of any of these? Maybe you have requested records from the company or received an invoice regarding requested records. The copy service charges a fee, “typically”, according to the state statute for medical record copy fees in that given state. The copy service works directly for the medical provider in their best interest.

The protocol that Copy Services use vary from provider to provider. Some providers suggest attorneys submit requests for records directly to the hospital, who then forwards the request to the copy service for completion. Other hospitals require attorneys to send requests for records directly to their copy service. There are also on-site copy services at some major health care providers, allowing easy access to all records.

Copy Services work to please their customers – the medical providers. Aware of the hassle involved in requesting medical records, hospitals and medical providers hire copy services to take over this burden. This can be a frustrating issue and may result in more work for your firm and paralegals. Many law firms deal with multiple copy services on top of providers who handle requests for records in-house (or, without hiring a copy service), which can lead to a managerial nightmare. There are many moving pieces between customers and their copy services and that may result in multiple invoices, duplicate records, incorrect records, and little to no response or reply from the copy service.

Retrieval Service

Medical Record Retrieval Services are designed and focused on law firms to be the mediator between them and the medical providers for retrieving records. Retrieval Services take all of the hassle out of the law firm’s hands and deals with the providers in a timely manner making sure your requests are received as soon as possible. Medical Record Retrieval Services deal with the customer on a more personal basis and work directly with, and for the law firm, instead of seeing them as a number. Each request is handled with excellent supervision and retrieved within a timely manner without hassle to the customer.

Medical Record Retrieval Services request records on behalf of the law firm by following HIPPA requirements as well as the HITECH standards for medical record storage and retrieval. These services submit the requests and follow up regularly to check on the status of the records to make sure they are being processed correctly and on time. These services work directly with the medical providers and copy services to alleviate the burden of law firms having to handle the tedious and lengthy task of retrieving records. Medical Record Retrieval Services take time to check each record received and make sure there are no duplicate records, incorrect records and make sure records have the proper certification. This process ensures that the correct records are retrieved every time. Medical Record Retrieval Services compile medical records by physical copy or by electronic download from a safe internet server. This service handles much of the retrieval process as well as the storage and downloading process for law firms to organize the needed records in a digital format.


A Medical Record Retrieval Service is an extension of the law firm’s ability to request, follow up, retrieve, review, and organize the documents needed for any case that requires medical records. They work directly with the law firm the same as the copy service works directly for the medical provider. It is easy to get these two services confused considering they perform similar duties. On the other hand, these are entirely two separate businesses that focus on entirely different industries. A misnomer between these two services is that the copy service provides all necessary facets of retrieving records for a law firm. Once you delve deeper, you can see that a medical record copy service and a medical record retrieval service are two entirely different businesses.

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