Physical Therapy Software: Adoption of a Tablet-Based EMR

Physical Therapy Software: Adoption of a Tablet-Based EMR

Investing in a tablet-based EMR can do a lot for your practice. Although it is not a requirement to have tablets in your practice, doing so will make the physical therapy documentation process a lot faster. Nitin Chhoda explains the benefits of having a tablet in your practice in further detail.

physical therapy software tablet-basedTablet computers are everywhere these days. They are used as educational tools, as the fast and easy replacement for a laptop, and as a way to improve informational exchange.

Tablet-based EMRs and physical therapy software really are making the job of a physical therapist more flexible and successful.

But the improvements come with a lot of changes, and for many, those changes will be challenging. So why should you consider spending a lot of money on new tablets and an integrated physical therapy software tablet-based EMR?

The easy answer is that in the long run it will save you money and make your practice more efficient.

But that may not feel like a fair answer. How can a small physical therapy private practice really make up for a big expense like fancy tablets?

The Costs Aren’t What You Think They Are

First of all, it turns out that purchasing tablets for your physical therapy software and practice will not be the overwhelming expense you expect it to be. Tablets can be just a couple of hundred dollars each when you buy them as a consumer.

If you do some research and communicate with tablet manufacturers, you may find that you can get an even better deal on a large purchase.

You can get close to wholesale prices if you are buying for your practice, and as a health care provider and physical therapy software user, some companies will give you great discounts. The tablets will not be the biggest capital investment you make, but they will make implementation and adoption of an EMR much more fun, exciting, and interesting for your staff.

physical therapy software adoptionBenefits Abound

And if your staff is truly on board with the big changes that will come from physical therapy software adoption, then the entire process will go more smoothly.

You can expect some difficulties, as with any change in the way people do their jobs.

But if you make implementation the priority and introduce the software and hardware together, you may find that your staff will be more interested and excited to learn new things.

Starting Out Slow: Some Good, Some Bad 

If you do adopt physical therapy software without tablets, at least at first, you may not get the full benefit of the programs. Clinicians will still need to get back to their desk to make the notes they need to make.

Or they will continue to carry paper and pens around, which is one thing you’d be better off eliminating entirely. Of course there is also a good side to taking things slowly. Naturally, your bottom line will have more time to adjust.

It’s Better to Start Sooner Than Later

You can make the changes to your physical therapy software scheduling and billing that come up and improve efficiency before you invest in tablets. With the improvements you and your staff see, everyone might be eager for more improvements.

The process of implementing physical therapy software should be considered carefully. What will work best for your staff?

Some practices take it slowly and things work out just fine. But other practices implement a fully integrated, tablet-based physical therapy software system and find that the way things work is dramatically changed for the better.

Physical Therapy Software – EMR Selection

Physical Therapy Software – EMR Selection

Before switching to electronic medical records system, there are important things that a practice owner should prioritize.

Nitin Chhoda points out the stages that a practitioner needs to complete before changing from a manual physical therapy documentation to an automated EMR system.

physical therapy software selectionEvery physical therapy practice manager wants to know exactly which physical therapy software is the best.

Of course, which is best will depend a lot on how the practice works currently and what you are hoping to achieve.

But there are a few helpful steps that physical therapy management can take to make sure that they are selecting the best EMR, one that will work for the staff, management, and benefit patients, as well.

Long Term Goals

Before making any decisions, in fact, before you even start looking at what is available, sit down and draft a list of long term goals for the practice. Have you been frustrated by the lack of tracking in the scheduling and re-scheduling of patients?

Do you want to improve the acceptance rate of claims submitted to insurance companies? Are you hoping to improve efficiency like using physical therapy software? Would you like your practice to have a more professional and modern feel?

Setting down a few goals is going to be critical to choosing the right physical therapy software. After all, you are not purchasing the software just because you like fancy software. Physical therapy software should help your practice to reach goals that you have determined because they are important for the continued success of the practice.

Working With Staff

While reporting and analysis may be the benefits to physical therapy management, there are numerous potential benefits to staff when adopting physical therapy software. Find out what your staff would like to improve upon.

Are your billers feeling overwhelmed? Does the receptionist handle a lot of miscellaneous tasks that could be eliminated with the elimination of a paper records system?

Not only will you learn what your staff needs from an EMR, but you will also plant the seed of potential benefit with the staff.

If you start with goals, both for the entire practice and for individual staff members, you can set your sights on the things that everyone will gain from adopting physical therapy software. If everyone knows how they will benefit, they will be more willing to work to adjust to the changes they will need to make.

Asking Around

physical therapy software EMR solutionSome of the best information you can gather about physical therapy software will be from other practices like your own.

It may be hard at first, but if you can identify practices that had similar goals, you can find out which software solutions might actually help you to attain your goals.

Often managers will have a lot to say about their experiences with physical therapy software implementation. If you give them the time to talk about what they did, you may learn some very valuable lessons.

Additionally, once you have goals of your own, you’ll know what questions to ask both users of software solutions and the software developers themselves.

By preparing yourself, you will know what you need the physical therapy software to do, and you can work towards goals rather than adopt software that may or may not actually be useful for you and your staff.

Physical Therapy Software: “Time Stamping” to Optimized Productivity

Physical Therapy Software: “Time Stamping” to Optimized Productivity

Nitin Chhoda expounds the main purpose of “time-stamping” by measuring productivity.

He also points out that this system should be done in a non-intrusive manner so that the staff and physical therapy management team will coordinate with each other to address the practice’ needs and optimize productivity.

physical therapy software productivityTime stamping is not a very new idea in the general sense. Emails are time stamped, as well as most photographs taken with digital cameras.

But time stamping in regard to physical therapy software is a very recent development, one that has the potential to improve productivity within your practice.

Gaining Productivity Starts with Measuring Productivity

For those professionals who work in practice management, measuring productivity has been imprecise, at best, and generally impossible.

Without proper physical therapy software, can you measure the success of a single visit with a patient? Does each physical therapist have daily goals for how many patients they will see? Is it worth everyone’s time to keep track of these details?

Some managers in a practice that has no physical therapy software yet focus on what they can quantify; because it is possible to find out how many patients a physical therapist sees in a day, you can measure how productive they have been based on the number of hours they have worked. But to gather the information takes time and energy, and most therapists would prefer to spend that time doing anything else.

Measuring Productivity In a Non-Intrusive Manner

No one wants to be grilled about their daily productivity; or even worse, who would want to write up reports on their own productivity? Requiring this kind of reporting and accountability without the use of physical therapy software can be very bad for morale.

The problem for a physical therapy practice will be measuring productivity. Therefore, the goal for the practice could be to find a way to measure productivity in a non-intrusive manner. The purpose of the goal will be to find ways to improve productivity, using measurable physical therapy software data.

physical therapy softwareEMR Solutions for Meeting Goals

This is the perfect goal to highlight when searching for an EMR for your practice. Time stamping is now used in some of the top physical therapy software EMR solutions as a way to keep track of the activity of each physical therapist, without forcing them to do the reporting.

Rather than focusing on productivity, time stamping is a way for each staff member to clock in and out each day.

But rather than simply tracking the hours that each staff member works, time stamping as part of an EMR system can use the information alongside other information tracked by the EMR, such as number of patients seen by each physical therapist.

Without needing to add much to the day of the staff member, the manager or owner of the practice with physical therapy software has now access to a measurable data stream for productivity.

Naturally, the question of productivity is more complex than how many patients are seen per day. But the number of visits divided by the number of hours spent at work will give a productivity measure that you can compare from one physical therapy software staff member to the next.

Reporting is Power

Once again, the real power of physical therapy software and EMR solution is to track information with minimal effort by the staff and then convert that information into valuable reports. Practice management can then use those reports to analyze the performance of staff members as well as the practice as a whole.

Physical Therapy Software : Helping Staff to Value Time Stamping

Physical Therapy Software : Helping Staff to Value Time Stamping

Generating reports to review your non-clinical staff and therapists’ productivity is now possible with the use of EMR system. 

Nitin Chhoda explains the value of relaying these changes to your staff, making it possible to discover productivity issues together and solve them immediately.

physical therapy software staffNot every staff member is going to feel good about clocking in and out each time they come to work.

If your staff already does that, then a physical therapy software and EMR with time stamping will be ideal for improving productivity over time.

But if the idea of clocking in and out will be new to the staff, it may take some careful and patient explanations to help them understand why practice management is now going to track their hours.

Remember to Engage Staff with Responsibilities

Recent research has shown that one of the ways to improve productivity among staff, within any field, is to empower staff by giving them important responsibilities such as handling physical therapy software.

When employees feel they have no important role to play, they become apathetic and lose initiative. In a physical therapy setting, the introduction of physical therapy software should happen with the help of the staff.

Staff members should feel that the physical therapy software is going to improve the quality of their job by helping them to reach their goals. One of those goals should be to optimize productivity.

Be Up-Front About Reporting

If physical therapy software is going to start measuring productivity, the staff should know that these kinds of reports will be generated. Consider this: if you do find out that one physical therapist is much less productive than the rest, how will you improve their productivity?

If they know you’ve been tracking performance, you can have a conversation about the number of patients they see per day and talk to them about why they think it is lower than other physical therapists in the practice.

But if you’ve been secretly monitoring productivity using physical therapy software system, when you confront the staff member they may feel caught off guard and singled out, not to mention spied upon. They will tell their co-workers and a rift between physical therapy software management and staff will start to form.

If you don’t trust your staff to do a good job for the practice, then how will they trust you to have their best interests in mind?

Do Not Threaten Punishment – Be Inclusive

physical therapy software valueAlthough the staff should know that you will be using the physical therapy software to track productivity, they should not feel that they are being monitored and threatened with punishment.

Let everyone know that you don’t expect them to do their jobs differently right away.

In fact, physical therapy software and practice management should be able to communicate to staff members that the purpose of reporting and productivity management is to improve the productivity of the entire practice.

Everyone who works in a practice will have certain aspects of the job that they like and certain aspects that they dislike.

Perhaps they are frustrated with the way their days are scheduled, or they don’t feel like they get enough time with each patient. In a lot of cases, these kinds of frustrations or problems will cause inefficiencies and decrease productivity.

By implementing a physical therapy software and EMR that helps to identify where problems may be, the staff and practice management can discover together where there are productivity issues. And then everyone can work together to find solutions.

Physical Therapy Software: The Relationship Between an EMR, Payers, and Your Wallet

Physical Therapy Software: The Relationship Between an EMR, Payers, and Your Wallet

Know how the EMR system, payers, and your physical therapy business’ income are intertwined with each other. This will ensure you have a productive practice and meet your income goals.

physical therapy software relationshipsPhysical therapy software is a tool. And like any other tool that we employ, it should make the job you do easier and more efficient.

Of course, there are plenty of tools out there that do not work the way they’re supposed to, or that make the job even harder than it needs to be.

But if you can find the right tool and right physical therapy software for the job of managing your physical therapy practice, the benefits will affect your bottom line just the way you want them to.

Billing Staff Appreciate Physical Therapy Software

The fact is that all accountants and financial analysts use a lot of computer programs already. Accounting without a computer is cumbersome and time-consuming.

Medical billing staff members are often using complex physical therapy software systems already to handle the work they do. But all too often, that system is completely cut off from the rest of the practice.

How does your billing staff know what to bill? Do they review paper documents and input information into the computer? Or is there a medical coder or even a receptionist who has that job? The way most physical therapy practices do this part is very inefficient.

The clinician documents an appointment, makes notes, and submits that information, usually on paper, to a receptionist. The receptionist makes sure to file the patient file, but must also communicate the information with a medical coder or biller.

The coder or biller will receive the information either on paper or via email. The coder or biller then has to input that information into their system or onto paper claims to be submitted to the insurance company.

There Is A Better Way

The simple information that the physical therapist communicates has to be repeated three times. What if the physical therapist could input that information once using a physical therapy software program and everyone else in the office received an alert and had access to that information?

The receptionist knows to schedule another appointment, the coder and biller can simply use that information from within the physical therapy software system they are using, and billing happens more quickly and accurately. And most importantly, time isn’t wasted sending one message through three different forms of communication.

The Product and Your Wallet

In the end, when you use a systematize physical therapy software program, everyone in the office has more time to improve their workflow, attend to patients, or review insurance claims before sending them to the insurance company.

physical therapy software EMRIf things could be done more smoothly because of the new physical therapy software, it’s likely your billing staff will get better responses from payers.

They will have time for follow-ups and reviews of aging reports. For medical billers, time can slip away fast with a never-ending stream of responsibilities.

And it is the biller that is responsible for bringing cash to the practice. No matter how important it is that patients are treated well and physical therapists do a good job, if the insurance company doesn’t pay claims, or takes a long time to pay claims, the practice will suffer financially.

Anything that helps medical billing to go more smoothly by using physical therapy software will ensure that the practice profits the way you want it to.

Physical Therapy Software: EMR Implementation Checklist

Physical Therapy Software: EMR Implementation Checklist

As you plan to change your manual system to an automated one, always keep in mind that you must communicate with your staff prior to the changes.

In order to have a smooth implementation of the EMR system,  Nitin Chhoda shares a few important steps to take note of when including your staff in the process.

physical therapy software EMRImplementation of physical therapy software is a daunting task. Even before you have experience with the process, you’ll know that productivity will drop during the learning period.

You know that your staff will be frustrated at times and things won’t run more smoothly right off the bat. But you can take steps to make implementation easier and smoother.

  • Plan Carefully 

A critical step will be to make a physical therapy software plan. Include the staff in your planning process. Let them know what to expect, both from the training side and from the implementation side.

Set dates for certain milestones and make sure your staff members are aware of the changes. When everyone knows what to expect, they will be much less likely to be surprised and distracted by the changes that happen.

  • Select an Implementation Manager

Someone will have to be in charge of the physical therapy software implementation process. They will be responsible for drafting the plan and getting buy-in from staff. They will schedule training sessions and be the point person when anyone has a question.

They will also be the person responsible for interfacing with the staff at the software company. In many cases, this is the person who vets and chooses the physical therapy software you will adopt.

  • Training, Training, and Training

Do not even think about implementing physical therapy software without first training your staff sufficiently. Any software solution you consider should have an extensive training program that includes organized training sessions before implementation, and resources that staff can use on their own time, before, during, and after implementation.

Give your staff time to make the adjustments they will need to make.

Give them time to go over training materials. A little bit of time spent training now will make physical therapy software implementation go faster, saving you time in the long run.

  • Inventory of Resources

physical therapy software implementationAnother task of the implementation or office manager will be to inventory the current resources.

Will the physical therapy software solution you choose work on the existing computers?

Will you need a faster Internet connection? Are you going to use mobile devices like tablet computers? How many will you need to be optimally efficient and effective?

This is a frequently overlooked step that doesn’t get done until it is suddenly time to implement the physical therapy software. Hopefully you will be working with a company that recognizes how important this step is, but you may want to do this even before you select an EMR.

  • Give Everyone Time and Space

The entire process will need to be heavily incentivized from the start. Your staff needs to know that the learning they are doing and the work they put in will ultimately benefit them and make them better at their jobs. Hopefully, that will be enough to inspire everyone to be enthusiastic.

But no matter how much you plan and train there will always be a few bumps and roadblocks. Schedule plenty of time in your physical therapy software implementation schedule so that you can adjust without causing disappointment, neither for you nor for your staff.