Paper was a marvelous invention—and it still has numerous wonderful uses. But its heyday as the medium for medical documentation has come and gone. After all, who wants to spend their days shredding, filing, shuffling, or stacking paper? Just writing that has us feeling sleepy. At this point, there’s not much about documenting on paper that is particularly appealing, especially if it’s a quagmire of quarrelsome patient charts—handwritten, faded, and sharp—just waiting to wreak havoc on your soft, supple, paper-cut-averse fingers. And don’t even get us started on ink stains. But there are even more reasons—beyond paper cuts and ruined shirts, of course—to ditch the pen and paper and go digital with an electronic medical record (EMR). Here are four benefits of EMR systems:

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1. You’ll provide better service.

Digital documentation enables you to provide not only better clinical care, but also better customer service. Just think of all the extra time you can devote to your patients when you’re not dealing with overflowing stacks of paper, illegible handwriting, and wonky Word templates. Because EMRs—specifically, cloud-based ones—allow you to document anywhere, anytime, from any Internet-enabled device, you’ll be able to securely access and add to your patients’ important medical records whenever you need to, thus making your documentation significantly more efficient. Plus, with an EMR, all of your notes will be legible and searchable, so you can easily access and review data with a couple of keystrokes. As a result, you’ll have more time to spend working with your patients—or brushing up on a new course of study.

2. You’ll be more compliant.

The very best EMRs come with built-in—and constantly, automatically updated—features and alerts designed to help you document defensibly and remain compliant with ever-changing regulations and reporting requirements. With the sheer number of requirements rehab therapists must adhere to today, it’d be nearly impossible to remain compliant without the help of software. Just be sure to choose a software vendor that offers free, lifetime access to expert customer service. That way, you’ll always have someone who can help you navigate the system and leverage customization options designed to help you match your documentation workflow to your needs. The best EMR companies also provide tons of great educational content to help you stay abreast of industry changes and opportunities to advocate for the profession.

3. You’ll exude professionalism.

Rehab therapy is a competitive profession—and first impressions matter, whether we’re talking about your website, your front office, or your documentation. So, ask yourself: What image do you project to your patients when you’re flipping through crumpled, barely legible patient charts to refresh your memory about last session’s goals? Or, how about when you spend 10 minutes hunting around your front desk to locate a new pen because yours ran out of ink? With an EMR, you’ll be able to complete and access all of your documentation in an organized and professional manner using any Internet-connected device—and we hear patients just love seeing their practitioners work off iPads. It certainly does project a modern, tech-savvy vibe. As a bonus, the notes you send to referring physicians will also ooze professionalism—and you can brand them with your clinic logo, which will surely help you stand out.

4. You’ll be more connected.

With the right EMR, you’ll also have access to a host of other incredibly beneficial products and features—such as embeddable electronic patient intake forms, a digital home exercise program (HEP), integrated outcomes tracking, robust analytics, and integrated billing solutions—all of which can help you provide better care and improve the patient experience. This type of fully connected, rehab therapy-specific practice management solution empowers therapists to provide efficient, 100% patient-centered care—which is crucial in today’s changing healthcare environment. And speaking of connected, with the healthcare industry’s push toward interoperability, you’ll want to make sure that any EMR vendor you’re considering has full interoperability on its not-so-distant roadmap.

Are you ready to ditch the pen and paper—and switch to the very best cloud-based EMR designed specifically for PTs, OTs, and SLPs? Click here to schedule your complimentary demo of WebPT.

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