Physical Therapy Software 2020 – What Lies Ahead

Physical Therapy Software 2020 – What Lies Ahead

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) had set a goal called “Vision 2020” to help improve awareness of physical therapy in the patient community. Nitin Chhoda explains how this vision will open new horizons for patient–physical therapist interaction.

physical therapy software for EMRThe Vision 2020 goal set by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is alive and well.

The professional achievements to be accomplished through Vision 2020 are well on their way to implementation and open new horizons for patient–therapist relations.

It’s imperative that practice owners realize that physical therapy software will play a significant role in the future of the profession and achieving the goals of Vision 2020.

What are the APTA’s goals?

APTA’s goals seek to increase therapist knowledge and provide them with the same rights as other medical professionals, while increasing access to physical therapy software and services for all.

Therapists across the nation are advocating strongly for themselves, their patients and the profession as a whole. Significant inroads have been made, but insurance providers have been slow to adopt necessary change.

Vision 2020 sets forth the following goals to be implemented by 2020:

  • Grant physical therapists the same privileges as other medical practices, with the ability to be assisted by appropriately educated and licensed staff;
  • Physical therapy software direct access to patients without a referral from a medical doctor;
  • The ability to practice autonomously and collaboratively;
  • Recognize that physical therapists require doctoral level studies;
  • Allow patients to choose their practitioner of choice
  • Establish core industry standards and professional values.

Two of those goals have seen dramatic progress in the right direction.

Forty-four states now allow patients to see a physical therapist without first obtaining a physician referral.

The Status of Physical Therapy Programs 

Eighty-eight percent of physical therapy software and programs at universities are now doctoral programs. Advances in physical therapy treatments and technology require ongoing education and programs are advancing to offer therapists the specialized training they need.

The value of physical therapy software and services has often been highly underrated by those in the medical profession and insurance providers. Instead of referring patients to therapists, many have chosen to medicate and treat symptoms.

The Insurer and Insurance Providers

Insurance providers limit or cap reimbursements and refuse to compensate physical therapy assistants, effectively prohibiting access to those who could benefit the most from treatments.

physical therapy software programsAPTA is working closely with insurers to educate them about the savings in healthcare costs provided by therapists and their assistants.

While 44 states don’t require patients to obtain a physician referral, most insurers still do, even when there’s no evidence to support the visit is necessary.

Vision 2020 goals will save on healthcare costs, lets patients begin treatment sooner, and allows therapists to manage physical therapy software client care more effectively.

The Important Role of Physical Therapy Software

Transitioning to physical therapy software will play a major role in assisting therapists meet the goals of Vision 2020. Electronic medical record (EMR) systems will help physical therapy clinics provide an advanced level of managed care for patients, while electronic billing provides the means for practices to obtain quicker reimbursements.

They offer a more efficient means of managing all facets of practices, from physical therapy software staffing to purchasing new equipment.

All aspects of a physical therapy practice will be impacted by EMRs and provide the tools for therapists to advance the standards and goals of Vision 2020. Physical therapy software contains an extensive array of benefits for private practices.

It integrates easily with existing systems to save time, control healthcare costs and provide opportunities to physical therapy assistants. The goals of Vision 2020 are already being realized and changing the physical therapy profession forever.

Physical Therapy Software: The Benefits of EMR in a Physical Therapy Private Practice

Physical Therapy Software: The Benefits of EMR in a Physical Therapy Private Practice

Electronic medical records (EMRs) are becoming a commonplace in all private practices. Nitin Chhoda shares the benefits of using EMR, how to find the right one that can save time, improve quality of patient care and help the practice owner live a life of freedom and independence.

physical therapy software documentationMuch has been written about the benefits of physical therapy software automation, but the advantages extend far beyond savings and increased efficiency for private practice owners.

Electronic medical records (EMRs) provide the technology for patients and therapists to connect and manage care no matter where they travel.

Veteran’s hospitals have been using a form of EMR for years to coordinate patient care more effectively and physical therapy practices can now share in the bounty.

The Advantages of EMR

EMRs offer electronic billing options that can make the difference between a practice thriving or simply surviving. Therapists will see a quicker return on reimbursements for greater cash flow with electronic billing, allowing them to manage their clinics with greater physical therapy software accuracy and profitability.

Practice owners can easily ascertain where the bulk of their revenues are originating, allowing them to contract with the best payers.

While the majority of physical therapists won’t see a natural disaster on the scale of raging wildfires, deadly twisters or Hurricane Katrina, all those events amply demonstrate the need for physical therapy software automation. There’s no need to rely on a patient’s traumatized memory to recall injuries, medications and past procedures.

EMRs can be used to access essential health information from anywhere an Internet connection is available. They effectively speak for patients when they’re unable to communicate for themselves.

EMRs provide continuity of physical therapy software service in the event that a therapist retires, moves or dies. Paper records can become lost, misplaced or destroyed, but electronic data provides a permanent record that can be accessed anytime.

More Benefits of EMR Defined

An EMR patient portal gives clients access to their personal health records and test results, allowing physical therapy software clients to take a more active role in their health care.

Therapists that employ an EMR will quickly discover the savings available with physical therapy software automation. They save on paper and folders, space requirements for housing reams of documents, and the time necessary for staff to file them. EMRs can be established to operate from laptops or tablets for maximum efficiency.

Cloud-based EMRs enable multiple healthcare providers to view a patient’s record at the same time for coordination of care. An EMR for physical therapy software can be used for educational purposes to explain procedures and impress upon clients the importance of their treatment and the intricacies of their condition.

Prescriptions and refills can be submitted online, appointments scheduled and forms completed.

Automation Can Save You Time

Physical therapy software automates many of the tasks that can take hours to complete by hand. Therapists can include notes within the EMR, eliminating the need to decipher handwritten notations made on the fly, reducing the possibility of errors, reimbursement denials and paybacks.

physical therapy software EMREMRs integrate easily with existing office systems for communications and marketing, including Clinical Contact and Therapy Newsletter.

Physical therapy automation software streamlines office processes and procedures, allowing practice owners to offer an elevated level of care and access to patients.

The adoption of an integrated tablet-based EMR will make physical therapy practices more efficient and profitable. They open up numerous possibilities for the future, from online diagnostic software to specialized apps.

Physical therapy software automation will facilitate research and collaboration among professionals. EMRs are setting the standard for a new age of patient care and the way medicine is practiced.

Physical Therapy Software: Adoption of an Integrated Tablet-Based EMR in Your Practice

Physical Therapy Software: Adoption of an Integrated Tablet-Based EMR in Your Practice

It’s not enough for an EMR to be web-based, it needs to be tablet-based. Although the two terms seem synonymous, Nitin Chhoda explains the important difference between the two, and what it means to your practice.

physical therapy billing softwareAdopting an EMR is beneficial for patients and physical therapists, but simply collecting information without being able to share among medical professionals defeats the spirit and purpose of physical therapy software automation.

The American Physical Therapy Association has set forth a vision that allows therapists to treat clients across multiple health care settings and a tablet-based EMR will help make that goal a reality.

What is a Web-Based EMR?

A web-based physical therapy software EMR enables therapists to document patient visits, add notes and create billing, all in the moment. There’s no need to go back later to enter data or decipher hastily scribbled notations.

Records are secure, yet available to multiple providers at the same time to better coordinate treatment. EMRs can scan, digitize and sort information much faster than staff. Documents, photos, test results and x-rays are easily added to become part of the patient’s permanent health record.

Why Web-Based EMR?

Web-based physical therapy software EMRs allow for real time communication between medical professionals when consultations are required, using traditional email, video, podcasts and Skype. Patient information can be retrieved from any location equipped with an Internet connection, an important feature for the future of physical therapy. It’s an essential function for therapists that provide treatment outside the clinical setting.

A web-based EMR increases access to physical therapy services in venues ranging from home visits and senior centers to spas and corporate wellness programs.

Physical therapy software and practices are evolving in how they deliver services and EMRs will play a key role.

Integrating Web-Based EMR to a Tablet Device

Physical therapy software automation can be deployed from a variety of tablet devices, offering a lightweight and portable solution. Touchscreen interfaces allow therapists to enter data efficiently to reduce errors and reimbursement denials.

Custom forms can be developed to fit the needs of individual clinics. There’s no need for practice owners to install, maintain or host software systems on-site with a web-based system. Authorized users simply log in and access the required data.

Tablet-Based EMR Is Flexible

physical therapy software documentationThe flexibility of tablet-based EMR systems allows therapists to integrate them easily with existing physical therapy software for additional value. They facilitate communications between patients and therapists.

In the office, tablet-based systems enable therapists to utilize photos and videos to help educate patients about their conditions and treatments.

Therapists can access any number of websites for information helpful for patients and make copies of pertinent information for clients to take with them.

Physical Therapy Software: EMR Adoption, Selection and Implementation Checklist

Physical Therapy Software: EMR Adoption, Selection and Implementation Checklist

Nitin Chhoda reveals the key factors to consider before adopting and implementing an EMR system in your practice with a simple, easy to follow blueprint.

physical therapy software reviewsAdoption of a physical therapy software like EMR shouldn’t be done in haste or therapists may find themselves repenting at leisure and regretting their choice of an EMR.

There are literally hundreds of physical therapy software EMR systems, most of which are designed with hospitals and physicians as the primary users.

Make Your Physical Therapy Software Unique

Physical therapy practices have unique needs and it’s imperative that therapists implement an EMR specifically developed for a physical therapy practice.

Before selecting any physical therapy software for EMR, therapists must first define their individual needs, decide what they want a physical therapy software system to accomplish, and determine how their requirements may change in the future.

Therapists should utilize due diligence and thoroughly research the EMR systems they believe best for their practice.

Checklist for EMR Selection

The following is a checklist of features clinic owners should look for in an EMR for maximum efficiency, enhanced patient care and increased practice profitability.

  • Created specifically for physical therapy practices;
  • Intuitive and user-friendly interface for therapists and staff;
  • Patient portal to schedule appointments, complete forms and request information;
  • Ability to create and scan in documents, post test results and submit prescriptions;
  • Electronic billing;
  • Web-based physical therapy software service for access from any location with an Internet connection;
  • Accommodates special privacy protections by patients;

  • Create printed copies of records when valid requests are received;
  • Communicate and share records with other medical professionals when needed;
  • Offers password protected access and encryption of data;
  • Ability to include notations and create custom forms;
  • Integrates with existing office systems;
  • Comprehensive physical therapy software back-up options;
  • Meets Meaningful Use objectives;
  • 24/7 vendor support, updates, bug fixes, staff training, and recovery tools

physical therapy scheduling softwareHow An EMR System Can Affect Your Practice

An EMR changes the way staff conduct daily tasks and they’ll need sufficient time to become familiar with the new system, implement modules gradually, but establish a timetable for integration.

It’s helpful to assemble a team to answer questions and offer assistance when problems arise.

Transitioning to any new physical therapy software system will cause some disruptions and delays. Practice owners will need to exercise patience throughout the process and remember that implementing features gradually allows staff to retain more of what they’re learning.

Schedule Staff Training Wisely

It may seem counterproductive, but many practices can benefit from light scheduling during the initial training phase and closing the practice on the day of installation. Begin having staff use the new physical therapy software system as soon as possible and avoid long periods between training sessions.

The adoption, selection and implementation of an EMR can be accomplished smoothly and efficiently with sufficient preparation.

Everyone learns at a different pace and retains knowledge at varying levels. A physical therapy software like EMR provides greater flexibility within all facets of the practice and clinic owners will soon see an increase in productivity.

EMR and EHR – The Difference

EMR and EHR – The Difference

EMR and EHR are two different terms that are often used interchangeably. Nitin Chhoda discusses the difference between EMR and EHR and why this is important for your practice.

EMR programsThere’s been a lot of confusion about the difference in an electronic medical record (EMR) and an electronic health record (EHR), with some using the terms interchangeable.

An electronic medal record is an integrated software system that allows therapists to interact with patients and submit billing claims online, and increase the productivity of the clinic.

An EHR is a collection of data that includes a client’s medical history, personal statistics, billing information and demographics.

The two are very different and many researchers and vendors are still struggling to define each, though both groups tend to agree that EMRs will revolutionize the way medical professionals conduct business, deliver patient care and boost the prosperity of a practice.

EMR is the New Technology

As the debate rages on, one fact remains. Therapists must implement an EMR by 2014 as per The Affordable Care Act. There are dozens of available EMRs, most of which were designed with hospitals, physicians and critical care facilities in mind. They’re generally expensive to purchase and require huge monthly fees.

The good news is that there are very affordable options available that are designed specifically for physical therapy practices. Clinicians should exercise due diligence when researching an EMR and not install the first system they explore, thinking any system is better than none.

The goals of The Affordable Care Act were many and lofty. Some facets of the act were designed to lower healthcare costs, enhance patient care and provide improved access to healthcare services. EMRs will definitely be a cost saver for insurance providers, but they also have distinct advantages for physical therapy practices.


With an EMR, therapists can access a patient’s EHR to discover what tests and procedures have been ordered, prescriptions being taken and how the client responded to treatment. There’s no need to rely on a client’s memory for crucial medical information.

It’s all there in the EHR and can be accessed via an EMR by multiple healthcare professionals. Therapists can begin treatment sooner, without the need for duplicating costly tests. Access to the information in an EHR saves time for both clients and therapists.

The documentation in an EMR is stored electronically and can be submitted online for quicker turnarounds on reimbursements.

Denials can be addressed in a fraction of the time offered by traditional paper methods and postal service, and there’s no need to wait days or weeks to obtain patient information.

EMR web basedAn EMR also offers a convenient means of communication between therapists and patients to send payment and appointment reminders, post test results, request prescription refills and verify insurance coverage.

Healthcare providers can consult and collaborate through the medium of an EMR for more effective patient care.

In contrast, an EHR is a document representing a collection of data rather than a software solution. EHRs provide a complete record of a patient’s illnesses, ailments, allergies, prescriptions and immunizations.

It offers in-depth information about the client’s health history that can be instantly updated and accessed by multiple healthcare providers through an EMR. Along with health information, it encompasses valuable demographic data that therapists can utilize to market their practice and track referrals.

Multiple Tools

The 21st century method of record keeping has arrived with EMRs and they offer therapists multiple tools to create better patient care outcomes, market their clinics, and save enormous amounts of time, effort and money. While many continue to use the terms EMR and EHR interchangeably, therapists need to understand the difference for the good of their business.

Medical Record, Health Record, Health Information and Its Differences

Medical Record, Health Record, Health Information and Its Differences

Nitin Chhoda differentiates between the terms ‘medical records’, ‘health record’ and ‘health information’. The importance of HIPAA laws to protect patient privacy, and how this relates to EMR security is also discussed.

medical record information

With the advent of electronic medical record, a specialized vocabulary has arisen and it’s confusing to many. The terms are often lumped and used to indicate the same type of document.

While one type can encompass information contained in another, they’re distinctly different.

Therapists would do well to differentiate the three, as one contains sensitive information that can create a breach of privacy and security.

Medical Record, Health Record and Health Information

A patient’s medical record includes a wide variety of information that’s been compiled over an extended period of time by multiple healthcare professionals. It includes prescriptions, therapies, x-rays and tests, along with illnesses, surgeries and notes from any number of healthcare providers.

In contrast, a health record compared to medical record is compiled and maintained by a single healthcare provider. A health record is a comprehensive document that details the treatments provided by a single healthcare professional and are kept by the individual therapist.

Health information is personally identifiable data that’s protected by law to ensure privacy. In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) set forth national standards for healthcare providers and institutions of all types for the collection, handling and maintenance of client health information.


HIPAA limits the types of medical record information that can be collected, the way it can be shared, and with whom. There are also restrictions on how much client’s medical record data therapists can use in their marketing endeavors.

Patients must be provided with a copy of their own medical records when they request them in writing. HIPAA also makes provisions for the sharing of client data or medical record among healthcare providers to coordinate care. Generally, client information can’t be sold.

Exceptions for the dissemination of medical record data are made when the data is used for research, public health reasons, or in the event of a company merger. It’s also permissible if the president declares a disaster or emergency, or if a public health emergency is declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

EMR Transition

medical record definedWith the transition to electronic medical records, patients and many clinicians have expressed trepidation about the ability to maintain sufficient confidentiality and privacy of healthcare and medical record.

Those doubts and misgivings have prevented healthcare facilities and professionals in all fields to delay the transition to an EMR.

With the deadline of 2014 looming large on the horizon for EMR implementation, the question has been taken out of the hands of therapists. The question facing professionals now is which EMR they should choose.

EMR Security

Security is a primary consideration. Previous generations of providers could simply secure patient information within the office under lock and key. Electronic records require more stringent methods of protection to ensure individual health information and medical record isn’t leaked, stolen or hacked.

Therapists can opt for an on-site server-based system or a web-based solution. Those who select a server-based system are responsible for maintaining a sufficient level of security. With a web-based system provided by a vendor, HIPAA-compliant security is handled by the EMR provider.

Records management and the steps necessary to keep sensitive information secure will play an increasing role in the everyday operation of physical therapy practices for years to come. It’s imperative for therapists to understand the importance of securing medical information and the difference between medical records, health records and health information to avoid the inadvertent release of sensitive and protected data.

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