Today’s blog post comes from WebPT co-founder Heidi Jannenga, PT, MPT, ATC/L.

By now many of you have seen, heard about, or participated in our latest campaign—”Documentation Sucks”. While much of the feedback we’ve received has been incredibly positive (in fact, we received more than 500 Ditch the Pen & Paper t-shirt orders in the first month alone). But with the many cheers, we’ve also heard a few jeers. It seems the word “sucks” has struck an emotional chord. While it is undoubtedly a part of American culture today, some wonder if it has a place in marketing or in professional business in general. Some wonder whether we put enough thought into our use of this type of language. The short answer, at least in our opinion, is yes. We mapped this campaign out over many months, and here, I would like to share with you why we intentionally and emphatically decided that “Documentation Sucks.”

We completely understand the importance of documentation to the medical profession as a whole. In no way did we start this campaign to negate the necessity of correctly completing documentation and taking pride in it; we are an EMR, after all. However, no one goes into physical therapy because they love to chart; I know I didn’t. We do it to help patients. Documentation, paper documentation more specifically, takes time away from this. It is undoubtedly a pain point for every rehab therapist I’ve encountered or worked with.

A majority of therapists still use paper documentation. This campaign is a statement, albeit a bold one, about the state of documentation today; not documentation in general. We’re encouraging therapists to up their game, to level the technological playing field among medical professionals. Thus, our mission with this campaign is to provide an outlet for rehab therapists to come together over a shared frustration and show why they refuse to be defined by their handwriting, by legibility, by the lack of compliant charting, by hours upon hours spent away from doing what they love. Documentation may be a pain point now, but it can be done better—digitally, professionally, and in an organized manner—hence, “ditch the pen and paper.”

Basically, we landed on “Documentation Sucks,” because paper documentation does—well—suck. And we plucked that word directly from the mouths of fellow therapists all over the country. Embrace the bold, we say. Yell it from the rooftop, because without boldness, without risk, without a little bit of controversy how do we take documentation, and our profession, to the next level? How do we as physical therapists elevate our profession and compete for the same respect, direct access, and authority as other medical professionals?

For all those out there warily eyeing our campaign, I hope this better clarifies our stance, and I sincerely hope you take another look. Our intention was never to be offensive or divisive. We’re here for the rehab community, to elevate the profession as a whole. The feedback on this campaign has been immense, and we truly appreciate everyone—and we mean everyone—for speaking up.

Lastly, for all those who’ve embraced WebPT and Documentation Sucks, thank you! I hope this letter only strengthens your resolve and assists you in spreading—and defending—the message.

Ditch the Pen and Paper