Today’s post comes from WebPT Member Mike Taylor, PT, MBA, OCS, from OrthoSport Physical Therapy. Thanks, Mike!
I remember how excited I was in 1989 to legally be able to sign my notes with “PT” after my name. All the schooling and training was finally over, I was really proud and very happy to sign that signature. Writing a SOAP note? My pleasure. Discharge Summary? No problem.
Oh, how times have changed for me after 23 years and approximately 75,000 SOAP notes. I can't even recognize my own signature. Writing so many of the same words and phrases over and over has left an indelible mark on my psyche. I can't even write a check without putting “PT” after my name!
About ten years ago, I began to look for software for an in-house EMR at my outpatient clinics. First I heard $75,000. Seriously? Then a bunch at $25,000–$50,000. Crazy. I put it off for years and years, all while everybody around me was "going digital." A few years ago I finally caved and purchased an EMR/front-office accounting package. I paid $30,000 up front before we were even fully trained on the product—stupid, stupid, stupid. Literally, half way through our first day of training I knew I had made a mistake and told the trainer just that. Long story, but I'll jump to the end—no refunds, not even if it was unusable and sold as something very different over the phone. So, I ended up using the front office part and shelved my EMR disc—literally put it on a shelf and never touched it again—$25,000 (cue sound of toilet flushing). But luckily, I had the grand fortune to use the front-office side of the product, for which I spent $15,00 customizing (i.e., rewriting the code to make it actually work), $1,200 a year in fees, and $800 a year in upgrades. All I received in return was the generous offer to call them at any time for a mere $5 per minute.
I knew (because I had searched high and low) that there really wasn't anything on the market that met my needs or that I could afford. Anything that came close was expensive or needed lots of customizing. So onward with pen and paper it was until I came across an ad for WebPT. I called them, bracing myself for my usual experience in these situations—call; leave a message and never receive a call back; finally talk to somebody who really doesn't understand the product; get transferred five times; talk to someone else who knows just the person I should be talking to; get transferred again; and then eventually hang up, wondering why I thought it was going to be any different. Cynical? Me? This time to my pleasant surprise, though, I immediately had Matt from Sales walk me through an online demonstration. I'm sure the half-hour that we spoke I had my best skeptical/disbelief/what's-the-catch face going the whole time. I believe I even said to him, "If everything you say is true, why wouldn’t I do this?" He chuckled and told me to take my time and give it some thought. Wow. I guess if you live long enough...
All I could think about was how many less times I was going to go to Costco for pens and paper; how many less times to Office Max for charts and all of their parts; how many less times moving seven years of patient records times multiple clinics; how many less times calling Shred-It; how many less times begging other therapists not to take their charts offsite; and how many less server upgrades and tech calls I would have to make.
It's been a while with WebPT now, and I'm still giddy-happy. I can tell some of the younger therapists, although very pleased, clearly aren't as excited as I am. Shoot, if I had written only 1,500 SOAP notes before a super awesome EMR came along, maybe I'd be merely "pleased" as well.
And that’s why I believe in ditching the pen and paper. That’s why I chose WebPT.