Physical Therapy Documentation: Patient Check-In With “Self-Intake” Technology

Physical Therapy Documentation: Patient Check-In With “Self-Intake” Technology

Discover how patients’ self-intake can be very beneficial to the practice, to the physical therapy documentation staff, and even to the patient itself.

physical therapy documentation patientTechnology is moving so fast that we’re already seeing the future of medical intake procedures.

The self-intake option for physical therapy documentation software takes paper and re-entry out of the equation completely.

With self-intake software, you can add a new patient to your practice’s medical records system the instant they step into the office.

What is Self-Intake?

Self-intake in the physical therapy documentation setting is the process of using a tablet computer to conduct the intake interview. Rather than handing a patient a clipboard, you can hand them an iPad.

For patients who don’t want to tap through, there are even speech-to-text options that allow patients to say their entries right to the device. This can speed up the process for patients and speeds up the review process each time they come in for an appointment.

Self-intake physical therapy documentation technology can also be used anywhere the patient happens to be. If a patient has in-home appointments, the physical therapist can bring along a tablet computer and securely add patient information to their electronic medical record without safety concerns.

Self-intake physical therapy documentation technology should meet meaningful use guidelines for Medicare and should also match the requirements for safety of electronic medical records.

Who Benefits from Implementation of Self-Intake?

Some of the best things about a self-intake physical therapy documentation system are similar to the benefits of any technological advance. The staff benefits because the information only has to be entered into the EMR once, saving time and dropping redundant steps from staff workflows.

Additionally, because the information is so centralized, it is easy for the physical therapy documentation staff to review the information in an electronic medical record and ask relevant questions of the patient. And of course, there is a lot less paperwork, reducing the amount of printing, shuffling, and filing that has to happen each time a new patient is added to the practice.

But the other parties who benefit from self-intake are the patients. They spend less time repeating information and filling out forms. When they come back for their second visit, they can simply review the information they entered last time to see if anything should be added or changed.

physical therapy documentation self-intakeThe medical billing and physical therapy documentation staff also benefits, as the information for a patient’s insurance company is added directly to the system they will use to determine the patient’s portion of the bill.

In fact, some practices go so far as to automate their patient payment information so that the patient can pay up front for their visits.


A well-designed self-intake physical therapy documentation system will allow for paperless patient check-in as well as have customizable forms for the practice to design. Some systems even offer to include a photo, which can be taken right from the tablet, so that when a clinician reviews the patient file they will see a photo of the patient, too.

This helps physical therapy documentation clinicians to keep track of who is who, and it helps patients to have a more welcoming and comfortable experience every time they visit your practice.

Physical Therapy Documentation: Self-Intake and Mobile Technology

Physical Therapy Documentation: Self-Intake and Mobile Technology

Nitin Chhoda explains how using the latest mobile technology can have a great impact on your patients. Stating that this technology can also create positive feedback for your practice.

physical therapy documentation self intakeThe future is now, and that can’t be emphasized enough in the world of physical therapy documentation and technological upgrades.

We are looking at a whole array of possibilities for the next few years, but one thing that is certain is that medical practices of all kinds will be switching to EMRs over the next decade.

Attracting new patients is going to get harder and harder if your practice doesn’t adjust and adapt to the technological breakthroughs in physical therapy documentation and management.

Within the next five years, we are going to see a dramatic shift in what the typical patient values with regard to the type of physical therapy documentation and practice choice. We are already a society obsessed with convenience and speed, but even the definition of convenience is changing for Americans.

What Do Patients Prefer?

Patients may prefer the option of entering their medical history online at home, even before they come to the office. They may expect to pay their share up front, so the financial side of their health care is not an uncertain, stressful weight on their minds.

Patients are more and more computer literate, preferring the simplicity of selecting a choice from a drop-down menu than writing in each element of their medical history. And more than ever, patients are expecting a certain level of technological advancement from their health care and physical therapy documentation providers.

Marketing and Technology  

To appeal to the high value placed on technology, many physical therapy documentation and practices are implementing fully-integrated and automated physical therapy documentation systems, right from the start.

A modern and high-tech practice will have self-intake on tablet computers as well as the paper option just in case someone is not inclined to try the new system.

physical therapy documentation technologyOne of the most important marketing strategies of this day and age is peer-to-peer marketing.

In other words, the word-of-mouth referrals that used to provide a few extra patients here and there has changed into a critical strategic marketing hub.

The Importance of Physical Therapy Documentation

The reputation of a physical therapy documentation practice has always been important, but today your reputation can change in an instant with Internet peer-review sites and social networking.

The same patients who are reviewing or talking about your practice with hundreds of people at a time are the ones who will be impressed and relieved to find that your practice has the best in technology.

This kind of physical therapy documentation and marketing edge can make or break a practice, especially in a market that is getting more and more competitive.

Getting in on the Ground Floor

No matter how hard it may seem to change the way your practice does business, it will be infinitely harder to compete with practices that successfully make the switch. Electronic medical records are just the beginning.

Not only will your physical therapy documentation practice need the technology, but your practice should also be maximizing efficiency in the same way as the rest of the market. Rather than accepting that you will have the last of the previous generation of patients, start looking forward and hope to attract the next generation.

In Touch EMR vs. OptimisPT Physical Therapy Software

In Touch EMR vs. OptimisPT Physical Therapy Software

When deciding on the right systems for your clinic, many physical therapy practice owners come down to a decision between two great choices.  In this article, we compare In Touch EMR’s integrated scheduling, documentation, and billing suite with OptimisPT Physical Therapy documentation software and OptimisPT Physical Therapy scheduling software.

Compliance, Security, and Federal Regulatory Standards

When deciding on EMR technology, security and compliance is the name of the game.  While OptimisPT physical therapy software uses high-quality security protocols and takes standard back-ups for data protection, In Touch EMR has the most secure server management and data backup procedures on the market.  In Touch EMR is also the first and currently only vendor in the rehabilitation space to be on the certified Health IT Product List, which is a division of the Federal office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (a part of the Department of Health and Human Services).

In Touch EMR’s compliance and security protocols are vastly superior to other rehabilitation EMR/EHR software providers currently on the market, and in the event of an audit you’re going to want that kind of safety and security on your side.

To learn more about the Office of the National Coordinator, click here.

If you’d like to get more technical, click here to view the testing requirements and specs for ONC Certification and Health IT product listing.

Winner: In Touch EMR for superior compliance and security. Bonus to In Touch EMR for also being their own PQRS registry, which makes life a little easier for everyone.

The Creator Factor

For many practice owners, knowing that the higher-ups of a company they do business with understand the industry from a provider’s perspective is key.  Here’s how In Touch EMR and OptimisPT measure up.

In Touch EMR was founded by Nitin Chhoda PT, DPT.  He and is wife are both physical therapists.  Nitin serves as the company’s CEO and is actively involved in daily operations.

OptimisPT was developed by OptimisCorp, a for-profit company that owns several clinics.  OptimisCorp itself is owned by physical therapists.

Winner: We have to call this one a tie – both companies get a five star rating here for being ultimately therapist owned.


With the pleasantries out of the way, let’s discuss another crucial factor also at the heart of the decision making process: money.

OptimisPT pricing for web-based physical therapy EMR software is dependent upon a base price plus volume of visits.  For $200 monthly, you get 235 checked in and documented visits.  Beyond the purchased 235 visits, you pay $0.85 per additional visit with scaling based on volume.  The main situation in which we imagine this is advantageous is if you have a very high number of providers, most or all of whom have schedules that may change from high to extremely low and back again.  This set up may find you with a financial advantage in bursts, but can become confusing from a fiscal perspective and also doesn’t look to include any add-ons or bells and whistles.

In Touch EMR’s pricing is $49 per month per provider with price breaks based on volume (simply put: bringing on a higher number of providers at once will get you a better deal).  This also includes extra features such as marketing integration, email appointment reminders, and faxing directly through the system.  The structure is simple, inexpensive, and makes it easy to anticipate your bill.

Winner: In Touch EMR – less expensive and easier to understand.

Flexibility, Integration, and Support

OptimisPT and In Touch EMR both perform at the head of the class when it comes to flexibility with your bill.  Both allow for increases and decreases according to clinical need, however OptimisPT’s methods may lead to higher bills than anticipated due to volume.

On the documentation and development side of things, In Touch EMR takes the lead as their documentation platform is intuitive and template based, only mandating that Medicare-required questions be answered and allowing users to decide what questions are applicable to their patient-base.  Creation of custom templates for notes leads to faster documentation and a streamlined internal process.  When it’s easier to document, providers are more likely to finalize notes quickly and clinics get paid faster.  Additionally, In Touch EMR seeks out user requests for new features and add-ons and has an in house team of developers to carry them out.

For Integration, In Touch EMR and OptimisPT both integrate scheduling, billing, and documentation.  In Touch EMR also boasts an outsourced billing service, In Touch Billing, for those clinics looking to have billing done by an outside source while continuing to work with a company they trust.

In Touch EMR gets the victory in the Support area as they not only have live chat, email, and phone support, but also designate an Account Manager to each clinic who is the direct contact in charge of the clinic’s support and overall satisfaction.  It’s an interesting and unique approach to handling customer service that gives clinics a “go-to” support representative that gets to know them and their clinical needs.

Winner: In Touch EMR.  While OptimisPT Physical Therapy Software offers flex-billing and integration, In Touch EMR has a both of these plus a superior support structure, customizable documentation, and actively looks to user feedback for new features and enhancements.

Final Results

When comparing OptimisPT Physical Therapy Software and In Touch EMR side by side, it’s hard to come up with anything bad to say about either product.  Both are affordable products created by people who understand the world of physical therapy.

In the end, In Touch EMR comes away victorious as their security and compliance measures are unbeatable, their pricing works out to be easier and cheaper in almost every scenario, their support lends itself to one-on-one relationships between clinic and software vendor, and their flexibility in documentation and development gives clinicians every tool needed to document quickly while remaining compliant.

How to Keep Track of Certifications and Authorizations

How to Keep Track of Certifications and Authorizations

Clinicians and their practice are required to keep track of numerous authorizations and strategic certifications that can adversely affect a clinic if they lapse. Clinicians must maintain their certifications in good standing and patient treatment authorizations must be current if practitioners are to be paid for their services. In Touch EMR provides practice owners with a convenient and automatic means of monitoring them all.

Automatic Monitoring

Typically, the front desk keeps track of certifications, authorizations, scheduling patient intakes, and marketing tasks as the workload allows. In Touch EMR™ automatically monitors physician certifications, complete with the identifier number and duration. The system shows a pop up reminder when certifications are ready to expire, providing practitioners with a convenient method of remaining current.

Authorized Treatment

It’s essential that clinicians ensure they have the proper authorization from payers to treat patients who have insurance policies that place limitations on the type, duration and level of treatment they can receive. In Touch EMR™ automatically tracks authorizations for each patient, their insurance company and notifies clinicians when those authorizations will expire. State laws are taken into account to facilitate the notification process.

Procedures, Please

An increasing number of insurance providers are requesting pre-authorizations for everything from lab tests to hospital admission. In Touch EMR™ has the ability to keep track of the vast number of pre-authorizations that must be obtained in the course of regular treatment. Referrals, authorizations for prescription refills, even patient authorizations to access and digitally share information with insurers are monitored.

Authorizations for a wide range of procedures and clinician certifications are an essential part of operating a practice, but keeping track of them all is a time consuming task without the aid of In Touch EMR™. The integrated system works seamlessly to monitor critical authorizations to remain in compliance and operate a profitable practice.

The Importance of Flexibility in Your Documentation

The Importance of Flexibility in Your Documentation

There’s a big problem with most EMR software providers and the templates they typically include. The documents are often created with a one-size-fits-all approach, include far more detail than the average physical therapist will ever need, and they don’t allow practitioners to document their work in their own way. These templates turn therapists into data entry experts rather than clinicians.

Too Much Information

Each practice is different. Every clinician must have the ability to create their own templates to match their workflow and office processes. Most EMR software templates force practitioners to conform to the way the template is designed. In Touch EMR™ allows each user to create and customize documents to reflect the practice and its services.

The clinician is the most important person in a physical therapy practice. He/she is what drives the money that supports the practice, allowing the bills to get paid and the clinic to make a profit. Therapists have to treat patients to support the clinic. In an effort to be efficient and comprehensive, most EMR templates take excessive time to complete, don’t enhance the workflow and don’t consider the individual needs of the practice.

Be Creative

With the In Touch EMR™, clinicians can create their own templates from scratch, providing them with greater flexibility in their documentation needs. The ability to create customized templates ensures that clinicians remain compliant. The goal of documentation should be to minimize the time needed entering information, while providing enough data to support the diagnosis and treatment.

The advantage of custom templates is that if the clinician is audited, he/she is able to go directly to the documentation data to support their actions. Custom templates ensure that the data is very precise. Templates are easily integrated into the workflow for greater efficiency at all levels of the practice.


There’s No Perfect Documentation

In Touch EMR™ provides the tools for clinicians to focus on their practice and patients. Therapists need an integrated workflow instead of focusing on the best form. The “perfect” documentation form is never going to be seen. The majority of EMR templates attempt to achieve that goal, but only succeed in creating more work for clinicians.

The goal of documentation for every therapist should be threefold. It should be simple, minimal, yet provide enough information to support their actions. Anything else is overkill and turns clinicians into data entry experts instead of the highly trained and skilled professionals they are.

What to Expect From Your Front Desk Staff

What to Expect From Your Front Desk Staff

The front desk staff has a variety of critical tasks to complete that will directly affect patients and the practice. Clinicians can make the job of the front desk easier, more efficient and help grow their practice with integrated software that has the ability to automate many of the duties for which the front desk is responsible.

Perception Is Reality

The front desk staff is the first person a patient comes in contact with when they schedule an appointment and when they arrive at the office. People make snap judgments and a patient’s first impression of the practice will be dependent upon their interaction with the front desk.

The person at the front desk must be pleasant, knowledgeable and efficient. They must possess people skills and like working with the public. Not everyone has the necessary skill set for the job and clinicians shouldn’t hesitate to shift staff around to ensure the first impression a patient has of the practice is a pleasing one that makes them feel comfortable and eager to come back when they need services.

Scheduling And Patient Intake

The front desk is responsible for scheduling appointments, obtaining essential information and sending reminders. A lot of information is obtained in a very short time from patients, ranging from eligibility and identification to secondary insurance and contact information. Scheduling can be completed directly from the In Touch EMR™.

Many of those tasks can be accomplished automatically with In Touch EMR™. Eligibility can be determined online with hundreds of insurers. Payer information is built in and new companies can be added. Patient demographics come straight from the insurance company, resulting in fewer claim denials. With a single action, a patient file can be created and all the data will be transferred automatically.

In Touch EMR™ is the only EMR software that has an app specially designed to work with the iPad. Patients can take a photo of themselves with the tablet for identification and even fill out patient forms. The information received via the iPad is automatically transferred to the patient’s file.

Front Desk Marketing

A clinician’s front desk should also be doing marketing and In Touch EMR™ provides the necessary tools. When intake information is obtained, all the needed contact data is available to send reminders, greetings, newsletters and special offers.

In Touch EMR™ has built in functionalities that enable practices to contact patients via phone and email, voice and text message, along with traditional mail using built in greeting card software. In Touch EMR™ can be used with the automated Therapy Newsletter or Clinical Contact software systems.

In Touch EMR™ simplifies the entire front desk process, from intake to maintaining contact. The software helps reduce reimbursement denials, automatically creates patient files, and helps practices maintain contact with patients through reminders and newsletters. Practitioners must work harder than ever to retain patients and generate new clients. In Touch EMR™ is a single source solution to automate and market practices.