Medical Chronologies: Expert Tips for Summarizing Medical Records

Medical Chronologies can be a powerful tool for attorneys working on medical cases. A medical chronology or medical record summary allows attorneys to quickly and accurately assess critical data in a patient’s records, understand their client’s medical background, and gain insights into where the negligence or injury occurred.

medical chronologies

ByExpert Institute


Published on January 27, 2023


Updated onFebruary 23, 2023

medical chronologies

Sorting through medical records to prepare for an expert deposition, understand trial testimony, or negotiate a settlement is a critical part of almost every medical malpractice and personal injury case. But organizing medical records is a labor-intensive and time-consuming process and even the best of attorneys can make mistakes when it comes to keeping track of important medical information. Luckily, thanks to innovative new technologies like machine learning and the expertise of our highly experienced in-house medical team, there’s now a better solution: Medical Chronologies.

What is a Medical Chronology?

At its most basic, a Medical Chronology is a time-organized record of a patient’s medical events, procedures, treatments, lab results, and medications. By reorganizing medical records based on the timeline of events that occurred, it is easier to locate or review the medical specifics of a case and identify facts and sources that will support your case in court.

A Medical Chronology is generally composed of several key elements including:

  • A high-level summary or case overview
  • A complete timeline of events
  • An impairment rundown to understand a patient’s medical history and all relevant information for each body system
  • Supplemental documents detailing diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, medication records, and lab results

At Expert Institute, our Medical Chronologies are created using Natural Language Processing (NLP) which searches and organizes the data from a patient’s medical records into a smart, searchable, and interactive document. These Medical Chronologies are then reviewed by our team of doctors for quality assurance and accuracy. You can learn more about this fast, cost-effective way to summarize medical records in our latest iQ talk:

The 5 Key Features of Medical Chronologies

A constructive Medical Chronology will have five features that help you better understand your client’s medical conditions and treatment history: a case overview, impairment rundown, document abstract, supplemental documents, and hyperlinks to the original sources.

1. Case Overview

Starting with a 360-degree synopsis, the case overview is a high-level summary that maps out the medical events in a timeline and also includes all relevant information such as a list of conditions, procedures, a summary of recent visits, medications, treatments, and lab results. To make the summary even easier to comprehend, Expert Institute’s Medical Chronologies highlights any abnormalities in red, so you can quickly identify areas of concern and go directly to the source documents for more details.

2. Impairment Rundown

Depending on the issue, medical conditions have the potential to impact various parts of the body. This is where the impairment rundown can be beneficial. The impairment rundown breaks down the patient’s medical history by organ system, organized from most to least severe.

3. Document Abstract

Next, there’s the document abstract—a treatment timeline that’s easy for attorneys to follow so they can better understand a client’s medical history. Every section of the abstract includes the date, encounter type, providers, and a summary of the visit including the reason care was needed, the procedure performed, the physician’s assessment, and the plan of care.

4. Supplemental Documents

To dig even deeper into a patient’s condition, the supplemental documents in a Medical Chronology offer a way for attorneys to browse through all diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, medication history, and lab results. Each offers valuable information that can give you an overall picture of the patient’s health history. All imaging, like scans, x-rays, and MRIs, will be listed under diagnostic procedures for easy review and comparison to different time periods. Therapeutic procedures can include surgeries, nursing care, anesthesia, and more.

Under medication history, you’ll find every drug, antibiotic, and anticoagulant the patient has ever taken—all alphabetically ordered and then organized by the type of medication and the date it was prescribed. Lastly, similar to the medication history section, all lab reports are also alphabetized and organized by date.

Looking for specific information or records? You can search and sort information even faster with additional filters. For example, Expert Institute’s Medical Chronologies allows you to filter by condition, body system, diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, medications, and lab results. There’s also a detailed index section that’s great for looking up operative notes or specific topic information during a trial or deposition.

5. Hyperlinked Sources

The final key feature of a good Medical Chronology is an easy and convenient way to access details in the reports that can aid your case. That’s why each condition, drug, date, and entry is linked directly to the respective page of the original source documents. This allows you to quickly and easily find the information you’re looking for without searching through thousands of pages of records.

How to Create a Medical Chronology

Medical Chronologies can be incredibly helpful for your case, but the work involved in creating a comprehensive chronology based on a client’s records is immense. Instead of spending time and resources to create your own, a service like Expert Institute’s Medical Chronologies can take the work off your hands.

Our process is simple. All you have to do is submit your client’s medical records. From there, our AI technology uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) to analyze every page. For quality assurance, one of our in-house physicians will review the summary to check for any errors. From submission to delivery, the entire process takes just a few days, so you’ll have a completed chronology in your hands in no time.

Why Do Attorneys Need a Medical Record Summary?

There are many benefits to using a Medical Chronology as you prepare your case. Here are just a few:

Reduce the time spent organizing critical records and medical timelines. Your time is important. Instead of losing precious time to tedious work, you can use a Medical Chronology to quickly find the information you need to understand the factors that led to your client’s medical complications.

Focus retained experts on specific medical details, events, or records. While expert witnesses can be incredibly valuable and necessary for your case, expert fees can be quite high. Instead of having your expert review your client’s medical records in their entirety, give them a Medical Chronology and pinpoint exactly what information you’d like them to focus on in their review and testimony.

Realize settlement scenarios faster. With every data point contextualized, you’ll have more insight into your client’s condition and the cause behind it. Armed with this information, you’ll have an upper hand against the defense which, in turn, may lead to a faster resolution.

Further understand where the negligence or injury occurred. Using the time-sequenced list provided in a Medical Chronology, you can identify when and where the physician or treatment team fell below the standard of care when treating your client and learn how this lapse in care led to or caused their injury.

Utilize in depositions and trials or to secure higher pre-trial settlements. Similar to realizing settlement scenarios faster, you can use the information from a Medical Chronology to place the cause of your plaintiff’s injuries on the defendant’s actions.

Ultimately, Medical Chronologies are an essential tool for attorneys pursuing medical cases. A Medical Chronology can help you quickly and accurately assess and locate the data you need in your client’s medical records and effectively gain insights into your client’s condition without wasting valuable resources. With a time-sequenced list of medical events and a physician’s review for quality assurance, attorneys can confidently focus on specific details that pertain to their case in order to secure higher pre-trial settlements and achieve better outcomes at trial.

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