Four Reasons PTs Should Ditch the Pen & Paper And Get an EMRToday’s blog post comes from WebPT copywriters Charlotte Bohnett and Erica Cohen.

Paper shredding, filing, shuffling, stacking. Basically, there’s nothing appealing about paper documentation, especially if it’s a quagmire of quarrelsome patient charts—handwritten, faded, and sharp as all get out—just waiting to wreak havoc on your soft, supple paper-cut-fearing fingers.

And don’t even get us started on ink stains. Of course, there are reasons beyond paper cuts and ruined shirts to ditch the pen and paper, and go digital with Electronic Medical Records (EMR). Here are four of ‘em.

1.) Service

This one is two-fold. Digital documentation not only empowers you to provide far superior service to your patients, but EMR systems give you much better customer service than stacks of paper, illegible handwriting, and wonky Word templates. 

Let’s start with your service. Because EMRs, specifically cloud-based ones, allow you to document anywhere, anytime from any mobile-enabled device, you can chart more efficiently, allowing you more free time to devote to your patients. Plus, with an EMR, there is no misplacing of charts or brow furrowing over illegible marks. You can easily access and review data, so you devote more time to treatment rather than mind-refreshing questions.

As for customer service on the EMR company’s end, you have an entire team of tech wizards who got your back. You’re not relying solely on your own paperwork. EMRs have alerts and measures in place to help you document defensibly, and the crème de la crème of EMRs (*cough* WebPT) offer customization options, so you can tailor your documentation to your clinic’s needs. Oh, and their support team is always at the ready to help you learn or relearn anything technological. Your piles o’ paper can’t do that.

2.) Organization

You may remember the towering stacks of paper we described in our introduction. If your inbox is overflowing, your desk is a mess, and your filing cabinets feel like they’re multiplying, it’s probably beginning to impact your productivity (and your sanity). Kill the clutter and get your space—and your life!—back.

By transitioning all your documentation into a digital system, you can feng shui the heck out of your newly open office. Plus, you’ll be able to find all the information you could ever need—about your clinic, your staff, your patients, your plans of care, your productivity—anytime, anywhere with the touch of a button (and no risk of paper cut).

3.) Accountability

As mentioned above, most EMRs have a handful of alerts in place to make sure you document defensibly. Can paper do that? We didn’t think so. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need alerts; we wouldn’t need reminders; and we certainly wouldn’t need sleep. But we’re human. And last time we checked, therapists’ caseloads weren’t getting any smaller. So, we make mistakes; we forget things; and we get overwhelmed. With digital documentation, everything is there that you need to cover documentation-wise, replete with alerts and rubrics—not to dictate your documentation, but to help you stay compliant.

EMRs also increase accountability because they don’t allow for the deletion of notes. That’s a big no-no in the realm of documentation, and if you’re ever audited, you’ll be thankful your EMR empowered you to create an addendum, rather than crumple up the paper and pitch it.

4.) Professionalism

Rehab therapy is a competitive profession; we know, which is all the more reason why first impressions matter. This goes for your website, your business cards, your office, and your documentation. What image do you project when you’re flipping through crumpled, barely legible patient charts (in front of a patient) to refresh yourself on last session’s goal? Or when you spend ten minutes hunting around your front desk to locate a new pen because yours ran out of ink? Not only will an EMR allow you to enter, track, and find all your documentation in an incredibly organized and professional manner, you can access it on any device—and we hear patients just love seeing their practitioner work off an iPad.

And, if most of your business is generated through physician referrals, then make every interaction count. EMRs not only allow you to electronically (and speedily!) interact with physicians (who are all mandated to use EMRs by 2014), but also enable you to brand your notes with your clinic logo, so not only will they appear neat, clean, and legible, but they’ll also proudly display your brand for the world to see—a great way to stay top of mind.

Did you catch our clever (super subtle) acronym above? Service, Organization, Accountability, and Professionalism spell SOAP—as in SOAP notes, the backbone of your documentation and the main reason why you should ditch the pen and paper and go digital with EMR. Because SOAP notes can and should be simpler, faster, cleaner, more legible, and overall, better. Isn’t it time you upped your clinic’s game?

Webinar - Preparing for ICD-10 - Regular Banner

article Feb 16, 2011

Digital PT Management Documentation

Is the Transition From Paper PT Management Documentation to Digital Difficult? One would think that any physical therapy practice would jump at the chance to get away from keeping records using the out-of-date, paper-based system. By any estimation, the maintenance, storage and management of massive paper files is cumbersome and inefficient. Paper is costly to buy, fill out and store. It takes space to keep good patient records and it is difficult to keep them all current. …

article Feb 16, 2011

How to Transition to Electronic Medical Records in Your PT Practice

Taking Due Care in the Rush Toward Electronic Medical Records Systems  In almost every industry, the rush to get systems automated and put online seems urgent. For some reason, there is an obsession in almost every aspect of life to get applications into a networked solution and preferably to turn a business practice into an online social network or a smart phone app. As physical therapists, we are part of the medical community and it is up …

article Oct 11, 2012

What Can Your EMR Do for You Beyond Documentation?

Today’s blog post comes from copywriters Charlotte Bohnett and Erica Cohen. Earlier this week we tackled four reasons your practice should ditch paper documentation and go digital with Electronic Medical Records (EMR). At this point, you've either already made the switch or you’ve probably at least made up your mind to go digital soon. No matter what stage you’re in, we all know that EMR is an investment, and you might be wondering how to get the …

article Oct 23, 2012

How to Pitch an EMR to Your Clinic Director (or Your Staff)

Today's blog post comes from WebPT  Copywriters  Char Bohnett and Erica Cohen. You’ve done your research; scoured the tradeshows; evaluated your options, and frankly, the writing’s on the wall: Digitally documenting with a rehab therapy-specific EMR just makes more sense than charting on paper—for your practice, for your patients, and for your sanity. But before you go ditching the pen and paper, you need buy-in, maybe from the clinic decision maker or maybe from your staff. Here’s …

webinar May 7, 2012

How To Increase Revenue In Your Physical Therapy Clinic

In this webinar, we will explore new emerging business models in Physical Therapy, ways to reduce your overhead, and revenue increasing tips and tricks. This webinar was hosted by WebPT Co-Founder Heidi Jannenga PT, MPT, ATC/L and WebPT Expert Michael Manheimer. Webinar attendees will learn: Identifying a need in your community How to determine which new service/model for your clinic Ways you can reduce overhead costs and increase profits Tips and tricks And more...

article Mar 23, 2011

Top 5 Benefits of an Integrated EMR and Billing System

Traditionally, PT billing and documentation have been separate processes with their own set of frustrations. The new WebPT integration with Certified Billing Partners (Kareo, BMS) will create a better streamlined workflow between your EMR and billing systems allowing you to run your clinic more efficiently and focus on patient care. Simplifying clinical and financial processes for PTs has always been our goal at WebPT. Integrated billing is an important piece to that puzzle. The all-in-in one EMR …

article Oct 28, 2010

TOP 10 Ways a Web-based EMR System Can Improve Your PT Practice

More focus on patient care . Less time spent with double-entry of findings and less room for error and confusion that is inevitable in hand-written notes. Simple and consistent SOAP note formatting gives you uniform documentation throughout your clinic. More professional image. Physicians have already started using EMR systems and come to expect the same from other medical professionals. Reduce supply costs . Average cost of paper charts can be anywhere from $3 to $6 in raw …

article Apr 12, 2011

7 things to look for when evaluating EMR software

1.     Google the Company – What is being said and written about the company? User message boards and forums as well as articles often talk about EMR companies both positively and negatively. Look for articles that mention companies who have recently cut their staff or burned through millions of dollars that was raised in financing. Also Google industry keywords (Physical Therapy EMR; PT Software, etc) – companies that show up at or near the top of the …

article Apr 8, 2011

5 Ways to Make PT Practice Documentation Training Successful for Your Staff

There is no question that the move toward buying and installing a PT practice documentation system is a great move for your practice. The benefits in terms of efficiency, elimination of paperwork and increased revenue generation due to better management of billing practices are many. By even a conservative estimate, the return on investment in better revenue management and reduced costs because of a good PT practice documentation system can be realized quickly. One aspect of what …

Get exclusive content delivered right to your inbox.