By trading in pens, papers, labels and folders for therapy documentation software, therapists can
- spend more time with their patients
- monitor key performance measures
- report on outcomes
- save an enormous amount of filing space in their facility
Here are some of the areas that can become automated with the right therapy documentation software:
Patient Arrival Notification. For a busy outpatient facility to maintain its schedule, it’s critical to know exactly when patients arrive. Look for a complete workflow management system that notifies therapists by pager when a patient has checked-in at the front desk.
Evaluations. A robust therapy documentation system will offer a vast array of discipline-specific evaluation forms. Look for a system developed by therapists that contains an extensive library of numerous sections. The system should enable the therapist to to customize the library of sections into sets and forms that meet the guidelines or preferences of his/her documentation approach.
Flow Sheets. A good therapy documentation system will provide electronic management of clinical data entry that allows for review of patient progress over time. The automation of flow sheets should accommodate multi-disciplinary documentation requirements. It’s also good practice to link the flow sheets back to a progress note.
Plans of Care. Look for a therapy documentation system that auto-generates plan of care reports directly from the evaluation. The report should include recommendations, plans and goals for the patient. To help administrators effectively manage multiple clinicians, the system should notify managers of incomplete or overdue plans of care as well as physician approvals. To save time and further streamline processes, look for a system in which plan of care reports may be electronically signed and faxed directly from the desktop.
Progress Notes. A good benefit of a therapy documentation system is its ability to track patient progress. The patient shoud be monitored on the system from scheduling and check-in through the evaluation and on to discharge. By automatically creating a daily progress note for each patient at check-in, the system is able to link documentation to billing and help eliminate lost charges.
Clinical Messaging and Correspondence. It’s one thing to document INTO a system and another thing to get information OUT. Make sure that your therapy documentation system can transmit authorized patient-specific information in a secure electronic format. The system should provide customizable letters, forms and reports that streamline communications related to patient treatment and reimbursement.
Patient Education. Most therapy documentation systems print-on-demand patient handouts (i.e., home programs, exercises) or even interface to third-party electronic formats. Many offer an ability to scan-in existing sheets as well as to make your own. Make sure the system includes instructional and educational materials that may be customized prior to distribution.
Therapist Productivity Management. With automation comes the ability to generate reports. Reports become an effective tool to manage the facility more effectively. Check to make sure that your therapy documentation system offers tracking mechanisms for therapist productivity by units, service analysis, billed time, total time spent, and other criteria.
For more features and benefits of a full rehabilitation workflow management system, visit our rehabilitation software website.
David Blumenthal, M.D. has been named by The Department of Health and Human Services as the national coordinator for health information technology, succeeding Robert Kolodner, M.D. Blumenthal currently serves as the director of the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He is a practicing physician, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and was a health policy advisor to Barack Obama during the presidential campaign.
A recent article in Physical Therapy Products, titled “Electronic Efficiency: Using software for business and treatment solutions” and written by Nina Silberstein, covers stories of four therapists that are using electronic therapy documentation software.
Among the therapists featured was Tracie Rodak, PT, who works for Spartanburg Regional, a large not-for-profit hospital in South Carolina that is a customer of Chart Links’ therapy documentation software. Tracie is the manager of the outpatient pediatric rehabilitation program and treats the special needs population that includes childres with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and autism.
When asked about the software’s capabilities for managers who want to track productivity, Tracie had this to say:
“…when a patient is checked in, our therapists automatically get a notification that says the patient is here. It creates an incomplete note and charge ticket. [The therapists] are constantly working down their lists [of how many notes they have left and how many evals and plans of care are due daily]. Technically, they can’t sign a file unless they’ve done all the parts. The nice thing is that they can’t sign the note and forget to bill. The system won’t let it happen. As a manager, I can see everyone’s incomplete notes, where before, I wouldn’t have any idea unless there was a problem. I’m able to manage better.”
Chart Links has implemented its therapy documentation and scheduling system for a team of 26 physical, occupational and speech therapists and assistants at two outpatient rehabilitation facilities for Southeast Missouri Hospital. Southeast Missouri Hospital is a 269-bed regional medical complex serving nearly 600,000 people in 21 counties in southeast Missouri and southern Illinois.
The implementation at HealthPoint Rehab includes functionality for electronic therapy documentation, cross-discipline therapy scheduling, referral and insurance authorization management, charges and more. It also includes an ADT and billing interface to the Meditech hospital information system.
“Transitioning to electronic medical records was the right decision,” says Frankie Erlacker, PT, MHS, Executive Director of HealthPoint Rehab. “Southeast chose Chart Links both because it could be customized to meet the unique needs of the department and because of the support Chart Links offered during the building and implementation process. With Chart Links, we will document according to national standards in a way that makes sense to both clinicians and our referral sources. The management staff will be able to more effectively monitor trends and strategize proactively.”
Southeast Missouri Hospital’s two HealthPoint Rehab complexes, located in Cape Girardeau and nearby Jackson, MO, offer a full scope of specialized physical, occupational and speech therapy services as well as orthopedic and sports medicine for both adults and children. Highly specialized therapies include lymphedema therapy, treatment for TMJ disorders and myofascial release. Both facilities are equipped with large, state-of-the-art therapy gyms as well as private treatment areas. The highly experienced, credentialed therapists make the transition from rehabilitation to fitness a personalized experience for patients. HealthPoint Rehab in Cape Girardeau also utilizes both warm water and fitness pools for therapeutic aquatics.
Chart Links software streamlines all of the daily tasks associated with a patient’s physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech language pathology, or audiology visit. The software manages adult and pediatric therapy treatment by automating evaluations, flow sheets, plans of care, progress notes, patient education, and clinical correspondence. It also manages payer compliance, provider reimbursement, outcomes reporting, administrative functions, business intelligence and enterprise productivity.
For 15 years, Chart Links has developed rehabilitation software that automates workflow for referrals, insurance authorizations, cross-discipline scheduling, documentation, charges, and more. Chart Links allows medical rehabilitation facilities to be more efficient and to provide a higher quality of care by delivering results in the areas of compliance, outcomes, analytics and revenue.
Watch the video published by the American Physical Therapy Association entitled “Move Forward: Physical Therapy Brings Motion To Life (APTA).”
The video supports the APTA’s new brand launch to depict the physical therapist as the provider of choice for helping patients restore motion and improve mobility in their lives.