After practicing physical therapy for more than a decade in an outpatient orthopedic clinic—and spending eight years of that time also working with patients outside of the clinic in a pro-bono capacity—Michelle Colman, PT, DPT, OCS, developed a passion for treating patients with scoliosis as well as runners. (The latter isn’t all that surprising, given the fact that she is a middle-of-the-pack marathoner herself.)
In November 2015, Colman left the large, national corporation where she started her career to fulfill her dream of treating patients outside of a clinic environment dictated by third-party payers. Although she took another full-time position with All-Star Physical Therapy to help pay the bills, by January 2016, Colman had a documented business plan and goals for her own private practice—one focused on providing wellness services for:
- Patients with scoliosis
- People with chronic mechanical low back pain
- Runners who push the limits of the term “functional”
- Anyone else struggling to meet a functional goal as a result of a chronic impairment
Colman offers her patients the option of receiving treatment in their homes, which is ideal for new mothers and families in which multiple members are receiving treatment concurrently.
In 2005, when Colman began her career in physical therapy, the clinic she worked for didn’t use an EMR, and there were significant challenges associated with documenting on paper. Colman used to joke that she signed more autographs than a celebrity. She even had to make special pen requests because regular pens bent in her grip from all the writing she did each day. So, when rumors began circulating that the company was transitioning to an EMR, she was thrilled; she couldn’t wait for the day the callouses on her right fingers would disappear.
Unfortunately, the clinic went with TherapySource. While this system met the practice’s basic needs—no more callouses—it wasn’t ideal. On top of not allowing users to build custom evaluation templates—something Colman lamented on a daily basis—the system required therapists to complete a full discharge note even if the patient stopped therapy in the middle of treatment. It wasn’t until Colman experienced WebPT first-hand that she truly understood there was a better option.
WebPT is an intuitive software that any clinician, new grad, or experienced pro can easily use in the clinic—thus saving precious time that can be spent providing the hands-on care that makes our profession unique.
After leaving the large corporation at the end of 2015, Colman began interviewing for a full-time position with several other clinics—and every one of them used WebPT. To prepare for her interviews, Colman requested a free WebPT demo to learn the software: “WebPT was intuitive and painless to learn,” she said. “The tutorials were easy to follow, the interface was well designed for accessing important information quickly, and the ‘homework’ helped me learn to navigate the system.” Within a month of landing a job at All-Star Physical Therapy, Colman was fully up to speed with the application and able to enter all of her notes in a timely manner—without having any additional work to complete after-hours.
Despite an increased caseload, Coleman now spends two hours less on documentation each day—and she hasn’t sacrificed a minute of hands-on time with her patients. WebPT turned out to be so good that Colman decided to use it for her private practice, too.
She particularly loves the customizable evaluation templates. After practicing for 10 years—and earning her Orthopedic Certified Specialist credentials—Colman knows how to streamline her evaluations so she can complete the most important measurements and special tests in a way that optimizes her and her patients’ time. Now, she has a documentation solution that helps, instead of hinders, her: “The customizable evaluation templates are the gold feature,” she said. “I cannot tell you enough how wonderful it is to be able to quickly fill in the usual tests and measures I use without having to wade through endless dropdown menus to input information.”
Additionally, when a patient presents with, say, cervical and ankle pain from the same car accident, it’s no sweat to add the additional measures she needs into her custom template. “Let’s face it,” she said. “Patients never follow the textbook example.” Furthermore, when Colman reviews the PDF versions of her notes, she “feels they are conveying the essence of [her] time with the patient.”
Colman also appreciates the Quick Discharge note functionality: “It’s wonderful to be able to state a patient was non-compliant without having to fill out a full, formal discharge and address each individual goal,” she said. Plus, at All-Star Physical Therapy, the front office staff can leave notes on the schedule if a patient is running late. That way, no matter where Colman is in the clinic, she knows what’s going on.