Physical Therapy Documentation: Streamlining Patient Check-In with Self-Intake Technology

Physical Therapy Documentation: Streamlining Patient Check-In with Self-Intake Technology

The developer of a cutting-edge ‘self intake’ technology designed for portable devices like the iPad, Nitin Chhoda explains how patient check-in can be simplified and automated. This will make your practice significantly more efficient and profitable.

physical therapy documentation software programsStaff members spend a significant amount of time each day scheduling appointments, ensuring medical forms are completed and checking in clients.

A physical therapy documentation system can automate those functions and others, saving time and freeing staff to perform a variety of other tasks.

Self-Intake Technology

A patient portal is perhaps one of the most important features of an EMR, saving time for staff and offering convenience for clients. Self-intake physical therapy documentation technology allows patients to access essential forms to provide their medical history and insurance information long before they visit the office.

The current trend among medical professionals is to encourage patients to take a more active role in their healthcare and an EMR provides the means to accomplish that.

Clients can schedule an initial visit, ongoing treatments and provide referral information. Patients can complete forms online, save them and update information as needed.

Pre-visit registration allows therapists time to examine the data and become familiar with the patient’s condition before they arrive for an appointment. Modern physical therapy documentation also offers staff the means to validate the client’s insurance and available coverage.

Reviewing Treatments Are Easy

Duplication of tests and procedures can delay essential and even life-threatening treatment. Therapists can easily view other treatments, prescriptions and testing that has been completed to expedite procedures to eliminate pain, increase mobility and assist in relaxation.

When testing is necessary, therapists can post test results that patients can access through the patient physical therapy documentation portal with their password-protected account.

physical therapy documentation schedulingA physical therapy documentation system offers clinic owners multiple ways to consult with other medical professionals the client has seen and confer with them to achieve a premium course of treatment.

Instant Communication

Communication is virtually instantaneous, eliminating long waits while written missives are transported through the postal service as in years past. Multiple healthcare providers can access the information at the same time for an increased level of care.

Patient perception is a key element in any practice and practice owners that utilize an EMR are viewed as progressive and innovative type of physical therapy documentation. Therapists using laptops and tablets are perceived as being those that can provide a superior level of treatment.

That patient perception translates into more clients and an EMR streamlines the entire patient referral and check-in process for existing and new clients.

Increase Productivity

Self-intake technology increases the efficiency and productivity of any size practice. It’s a valuable physical therapy documentation tool that assists therapists in meeting meaningful use requirements.

Clients can easily request prescription refills and pay their bills online from the comfort of home, features that are especially helpful for elderly patients and those with disabilities.

An added benefit of implementing an EMR is the ability to capture email, insurance and referral information. Practice owners can collate the data to ascertain the average age of patients, where referrals are originating, and send email or mobile messages to clients.

That information can be used to conduct marketing and physical therapy documentation campaigns that obtain the maximum results. Patient portals streamline many of the processes that are essential to the office, while ensuring that critical client information is obtained.

Self-intake technology allows patients to take a greater role in their healthcare and provides therapists with the tools to provide a better level of service to more patients. Physical therapy documentation systems offer therapists the means to obtain greater control over their practices for better productivity.

Physical Therapy Documentation: Can an EMR Help Improve Business Metrics and Staff Producivity?

Physical Therapy Documentation: Can an EMR Help Improve Business Metrics and Staff Producivity?

As physical therapy documentation, billing and coding becomes more complicated, it becomes more difficult for the practice to monitor revenue and maintain staff productivity.

Nitin Chhoda explains why an EMR should include ‘business metrics’ and ‘clinical timers’ to measure staff productivity in your practice.

physical therapy documentation softwareIt can be difficult for many physical therapists to identify accurately how their practice is faring financially. They know something is amiss, but locating the source of the deficit can be an elusive goal.

With physical therapy documentation software, therapists can contract with the best payers, identify staff members who are stealing time and determine trends in revenue for effective planning.

Once implemented, EMRs can help therapists conduct an operational analysis of their clinic to locate problems, but it’s critical to document problem areas prior to making the transition to an EMR.

Problems Augmented Through EMR

Existing problems can be amplified and it’s essential for therapists to know what they want the EMR to accomplish for their physical therapy documentation process before making a selection. A thorough operational assessment will tell practice owners if they’re exposing themselves to liabilities or missing opportunities.

An analysis will disclose if fees are adequate for the services provided, the labor costs, the productivity of staff, and whether the practice is advancing or stagnating. Current workflows should be examined to determine which EMR will be the least intrusive, while meeting the physical therapy documentation needs and requirements of the individual practice.

EMRs offer clinic owners with numerous tools that can be used to save money and obtain the most lucrative reimbursements. The productivity and financial viability of the practice can be charted in multiple departments, from patient scheduling to billing and collections.

EMR Physical Therapy Documentation

Physical therapy documentation systems can be used to ascertain where the bulk of referrals and revenue are originating, determine the best payers with which to contract, and ascertain the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

Implementation of an EMR in physical therapy documentation is an investment in the health and profitability of the clinic that can demonstrate up to a 73 percent return on investment within the first 12 months.

Practice owners can utilize physical therapy documentation software to streamline all processes within the clinic, and assist therapists in identifying highly sought patient services. New equipment purchases can be planned and services offered to attract and retain patients.

In the current economy, it’s more important than ever for therapists to keep a tight rein on expenses and control the management of their practices. EMRs offer better patient management and flexibility in coding and billing for an optimally funded clinic.

EMR is a Great Tool

physical therapy documentation examples

In addition to offering a more positive patient experience, therapists can utilize EMR technology of physical therapy documentation to plan and initiate marketing strategies and nurture ongoing relationships with patients.

Detailed information can be obtained on a wide range of physical therapy documentation providers to negotiate contracts that maximize cash flow.

Today’s therapists work with an extensive number of payers, from traditional insurance companies to state and federal organizations. An EMR facilitates locating, enrolling and contracting with the best payers.

An EMR isn’t a magical wand that will miraculously transform a flagging practice into an extravagantly successful business, but it does contain all the components needed to build a thriving practice.

EMRs contain the tools to monitor the productivity of staff, discover the best payers and increase the overall productivity and profitability of clinics. A physical therapy documentation system simplifies the process of enrollment with insurance companies to best fund a thriving clinic.

Physical Therapy Billing: How to Use Software To Minimize Physical Therapy and Medical Claim Denials

Physical Therapy Billing: How to Use Software To Minimize Physical Therapy and Medical Claim Denials

There are many possible reasons for physical therapy and medical claims denial. Using physical therapy billing software, claim denials can be minimized, allowing you to improve cash flow and grow your practice.

physical therapy billing softwareEvery physical therapy billing precaution can be taken and extensive documentation provided, but at some point, physical therapists will experience a denial for payment.

Claims are denied for any number of reasons, from incorrect physical therapy billing coding and services that aren’t covered to medications that were prescribed.

Patients may have exhausted a lifetime benefit cap on services or received what’s deemed as an experimental treatment by their insurance carrier.

Billing Affects Profitability

Navigating the labyrinth of rules and regulations of physical therapy billing each payer maintains can be extremely confusing, but it can also severely affect the profitability of a practice.

In an effort to cut costs, many insurance providers are requiring preauthorization for treatments and procedures that were never questioned in the past. Each insurer has their own appeal process, complete with deadlines and specific types of documentation that’s required.

EMR Advantage

One of the advantages of an EMR is being able to verify a patient’s insurance coverage long before they come to the office. The availability of time stamping provides documentation of when the treatment was received, who did the therapy, why a particular treatment was used and the patient’s response.

Physical therapy billing software also provides information about the referring physician and the client’s past history, which can play a critical part in contesting a denial.

Those who have implemented physical therapy billing software have an advantage. Therapists utilizing an EMR receive information and updates about denied claims in hours or days instead of weeks.

The same software system allows therapists to quickly submit required documentation, explanations or correct coding errors. EMRs offer billing and coding options and flexibility that actually reduces the number of denials.

Claims Procedure

Claims for reimbursement go through a rigorous physical therapy billing documentation process before payers approve or deny a claim.

In some instances, a particular procedure may be used to treat more than one type of complaint and the payer will automatically deny a request for reimbursement unless the therapist can prove it was medically necessary.

Therapists must be prepared with appropriate physical therapy billing documentation if they’re to receive reimbursement and provide the patient with needed care.

An insurer may also question a curative treatment versus a palliative one. One of the great mysteries in healthcare is why one insurer is willing to pay for months or even years of palliative treatment without a “cure,” while others are more likely to approve curative remedies.

physical therapy billing codes

Once treatment has commenced, physical therapy billing insurers expect the therapist to continue, even if a denial has been issued. These expectations raise serious questions about reimbursement for the practice owner.

Therapists can continue to submit claims for the patient during the time the request is being contested, but ultimately, there’s no guarantee that they will be paid.

Physical Therapy Software

Physical therapy billing software offers clear and concise documentation to help therapists reduce and minimize reimbursement denials, and contest them when they occur. While denials can arise for a number of reasons, most can be traced to errors in the manner the claim was submitted or the coding used.

EMRs are a therapist’s best friend, offering extensive documentation, time stamping and copious amounts of information, all of which can be submitted electronically to quickly and efficiently address reimbursement denials.

Physical Therapy Billing: Using Revenue Cycle Management Software to Boost Revenue in Your Practice

Physical Therapy Billing: Using Revenue Cycle Management Software to Boost Revenue in Your Practice

Discover how real-time software can instantly determine the patients’ insurance coverage and eligibility. This helps you get paid for your services. Discover the importance of eligibility verification function in your EMR.

physical therapy billing guidelinesRevenue cycle management should be a top priority of any physical therapy business. Simply putting it as taking the necessary physical therapy billing steps to ensure therapists are paid for their services and that they’re compensated in a timely manner.

Where Revenue Cycle Starts

A revenue cycle is attached to every client. It begins the moment the patient calls the office for an appointment and ends when their balance is zero.

It’s essential during that initial contact to gather patient data that includes their name, phone number and information about their insurance provider.

Typically, data is provided by the patient when they arrive for their appointment, a time consuming endeavor that involves numerous pages of written documentation that can be streamlined and simplified with physical therapy billing software.

Some clinics gather basic information when a client calls to schedule an appointment, but neglect to ascertain insurance information, an oversight that can cost the practice dearly.

Insurance Coverage and Eligibility Should Be Verified Immediately

Verifying insurance coverage and eligibility for services saves time and physical therapy billing headaches for the clinic in the future. If problems arise, it’s an easy matter to contact the patient or their insurance provider for further details, or reschedule the client if necessary.

Reimbursement denials can be significantly reduced with the use of an EMR that provides electronic billing, coding and submission capabilities. Physical therapy billing software offers flexibility and multiple coding options to reduce rejections and denials significantly.

It’s estimated that it costs approximately $25 per claim to manage each denial. An EMR reduces those costs, while drastically cutting the time needed to provide additional information or challenge denials.physical therapy billing services The value of an EMR can’t be overstated in the management of revenue cycles.

Patient portals provided by physical therapy billing software allows therapists to capture a wide variety of client data ranging from names, phone numbers and insurance providers to email addresses, mobile device information and complete health histories.

EMR Advantages

The advantages of an EMR doesn’t stop with the initial intake physical therapy billing documentation. They offer powerful tools that can be used to track claims, file disputes and provide additional information when a denial occurs. Claims can be submitted individually or batch filed for greater efficiency and they can be automated.

EMRs allow therapists to clear up questions in hours or days instead of weeks or months.

Therapists that harness the power of an EMR have the needed physical therapy billing tools for patients to make convenient one-time or recurring payments, notify clients when they have an outstanding balance and obtain critical insurance information for verification of eligibility.

EMRs also provide practice owners with multiple ways of contacting patients for any number of reasons using text and voice messaging, phone and email. Using revenue cycle management software provides clinic owners with essential tools to track client accounts for better profitability.

Enhanced  physical therapy billing and coding options, combined with electronic submissions, facilitates the reimbursement process from self-pay patients and claims that go through individual insurance companies and clearinghouses. Physical therapy billing software works for therapists to reduce denials and clear up claim problems when they arise.

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.