When you invest in a PT documentation software system, the number of features and benefits you get are many. The efficiency of being able to access your patient files from anywhere is a tremendous leap forward. A good electronic medical records system will streamline billing, introducing efficiency to the process that was unheard of before. Those efficiencies will cut costs and improve reimbursements significantly.

It is not hard to come with a number of levels of cost savings and improvements to cash flow to help justify the investment in a quality PT practice documentation system. However, if you only focus on the impact on document management on your practice, that change alone may more than justify the effort and investment you must make to automate this aspect of running your practice.

You can make a good start on that process of cost justification of an automated solution for your physical therapy by simply putting a pencil to paper for some of the ways you handle paper documentation that will no longer happen when those patient records are buried in an automated system. Here are a few examples:

  • The time your staff must spend retrieving patient folders from the records room, updating them and then returning them can stack up. Add to this the time to go through a patient file to make sure all is in order and update it before filing it again in that room in the back and that time can be translated into a dollar value that is saved when those patient records can be accessed at any workstation or wireless device easily.

 

  • In any paper-based PT practice documentation system, there is a significant amount of error due to lost files in folders, pages being filed incorrectly and errors in filling out forms. Each time a staff member has to take time to repair a patient folder, that can add up to a lot of lost time. You can talk to your staff about how often that happens and it is likely you will learn it is a common occurrence each week.

 

  • There are numerous other demands for patient information that will send a staff member back to the filing room to retrieve a patient file. A call from a physician or a need to consult with an insurance company contact will call for having the patient file open. The need for a phone number or to look at a patient’s scheduled physical therapy plan for the therapist or for scheduling purposes can call for a run to the file room to retrieve that file. All of these trips take time to get the file, access the needed information and then return the file to its exact right location so that it is there the next time someone in the PT practice needs it.

By doing some conservative estimations of how much time is spent maintaining physical patient records and applying the average salary of staff members who typically have to take care of those patient records, you can draw a weekly, monthly and annual cost estimate of what kind of impact those files are having on your efficiency in running your PT practice.

Estimating how switching to an automated PT documentation system can save money can also be taken to the next level. The physical cost of maintaining those files is also a factor. That includes the cost of that filing room as a percentage of the rental of your clinic space, the cost of physical files, the mountain of paper and forms that you must purchase to build each patient file and other supplies it takes to care for those files. You can add those figures into the cost of staff to keep your patient files straight. Additional costs may include archiving records for legal reasons and other overhead.

The simple act of removing paper from the equation may be sufficient to offset the cost of implementing an automated PT practice documentation software solution. When your patient records are housed in digital storage, they will be indexed by numerous keys so you can access a patient by name, patient ID, phone number, date of visit or other methods. Any changes made to a patient record will become part of the patient record and viable to anyone else who needs to see up-to-date information on that patient on a moment’s notice.

Another benefit of switching to a modern, networked electronic health records system is that the data can be easily archived or backed up to an online facility, giving you 100% security of your data at a very reasonable cost. Compared to keeping a mountain of paper in a storage location that is susceptible to danger of water or fire damage, this is a far superior approach to managing your patient records.

With those factors in mind and using your basic math evaluation of the savings alone in how you manage patient records by getting away from a file room full of file cabinets full of paper files and you can easily cost justify making this change. An automated PT documentation system is endlessly expandable, so it can grow with your practice seamlessly. If you add this evaluation to the other obvious benefits, the decision to start the process of making the switch to a computerized PT documentation management system becomes an easy one.

" We were using a combination of Microsoft Access and paper and we found there was just too much inconsistency in our patient notes. Notes went missing, some notes were dictated incorrectly and we could not control compliance issues with paper.  With WebPT we are definitely more streamlined. We have less problems with follow-thru and we like the templates and documentation flow in WebPT." Damon Whitfield, Clinic Manager, Tim Bondy Physical Therapy
 

The State of Rehab Therapy in 2019 Guide - Regular BannerThe State of Rehab Therapy in 2019 Guide - Small Banner
  • articleApr 30, 2011 | 4 min. read

    Three Justifications for Making the Transition to an Automated PT Practice Documentation System

    Cutting costs is a big part of every business these days, and it is no different for a PT environment. For that reason, the time to make the transition to an automated PT practice documentation system is right now. While you will have an initial investment, an automated PT practice documentation system is going to pay for itself in no time at all. This type of program is going to enhance how PT staff is able to …

  • articleOct 11, 2012 | 4 min. read

    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 …

  • webinarMay 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...

  • articleOct 28, 2010 | 3 min. read

    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 …

  • Why RCM is a Practice-Wide Endeavor Image

    articleJun 20, 2016 | 5 min. read

    Why RCM is a Practice-Wide Endeavor

    If you think revenue cycle management (RCM) only involves billing your patients, then Houston, we have a problem. As indicated in this Greenway Health resource, your RCM strategy should account for the manner in which your practice generates, captures, and collects revenue—and that means getting your whole crew on board with adopting optimal RCM practices. But before you can launch a successful RCM strategy, you should perform a pre-check. Here are a few questions to ask yourself …

  • articleApr 30, 2011 | 4 min. read

    The Value and Practical Use of Real-Time PT Documentation Using an Automated System

    Implementing an automated PT documentation system has a lot of advantages. One of them is the elimination of those cumbersome patient record filing cabinets and replacing them with a secure online database that is backed up regularly and easy to access. The better use of your staff, higher levels of reimbursement, and better service to your patients are all additional benefits that could result in you realizing payback on your investment in the system fairly quickly. Along …

  • What Independent PT Practices Can Learn from POPTS Image

    articleJul 12, 2018 | 7 min. read

    What Independent PT Practices Can Learn from POPTS

    Physician-owned physical therapy services (POPTS) get a bad rap in the private practice world. After all, many independent PTs blame them for dwindling referrals and revenues. But, those physicians are doing what every healthcare provider is doing in this challenging healthcare environment: trying to take over the world. Just kidding—trying to remain profitable by adding additional revenue streams that benefit their patients. So, rather than complain about what others are doing—and what is and isn’t fair—PTs might …

  • Knock Out Patient Dropout: 8 Ways to Increase Retention and Revenue Image

    webinarFeb 12, 2018

    Knock Out Patient Dropout: 8 Ways to Increase Retention and Revenue

    In one corner, we have a highly skilled rehab therapy provider known for delivering amazing clinical outcomes through noninvasive, movement-based treatment. And in the other corner, we have a discouraged, disengaged patient whose quality of life has taken a major hit due to musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. [video://fast.wistia.net/embed/iframe/d11isduky2]   If you’re a rehab therapy provider, you’ve probably seen this battle play out more times than you can count—and we’re betting that more often than not, your therapy …

  • What to Look for in a PT Biller Image

    articleJul 28, 2015 | 4 min. read

    What to Look for in a PT Biller

    In the words of American rock legend Tom Petty, “Good love is hard to find.” While I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Petty’s wisdom, I think some rehab therapy practice owners might say good employees are even harder to find. And that certainly applies in the billing department. After all, your clinic’s billing operation is crucial to its financial well-being. One bad hire could mean the difference between your clinic achieving private practice rockstardom and hitting rock bottom. …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.