As an evidence-based chiropractor, the primary commodity that you sell is time. The number of patients that you can personally serve each day is your major capacity determinant. Using a very modest example, a provider who sees 4 patients per hour and finds a way to save 30 seconds per patient could increase their capacity by 1-2 additional visits per day leading to a virtual $25,000/ year raise.
Documenting and communicating patient encounters is one of our most time consuming (and least enjoyable) tasks. While excellent chiropractic documentation will always be mandatory, the following 5 tips should help save valuable minutes each day.
Key Concept: Eliminate, Automate, Delegate!
Efficient providers consistently seek to increase their capacity by:
Eliminating tasks that are simply unnecessary, i.e. repeatedly checking your social media or following the bank deposit instructions to “list checks separately”.
Automating functionality via services like electronic bill pay, electronic employee time clock, and bank deposit couriers.
Delegating tasks that could be transferred to a well trained employee, i.e. applying therapy modalities, opening mail, preparing checks, payroll, errands, shopping, insurance precertification paperwork, taking vitals, etc.
We’ve applied the Eliminate, Automate & Delegate principle to charting to offer the following 5 tips:
1. Purchase the most efficient EHR for your style of practice.
Don’t skimp on this core component. If you’re not currently satisfied, start shopping. Do your homework to investigate exactly how long it will take to produce a quality note in the prospect EHR software. Look for options like a patient sign in kiosk that can help with documenting the “Subjective” component of your note and SALT (Same as last time) functionality that can carry over diagnoses and treatments from the previous visit for quick editing. Make sure the software allows text entry via voice recognition or transcription. Sure, drop downs will minimize typing but when it takes you 3-5 minutes to navigate that process, are you really practicing most efficiently? For many providers, directly speaking their findings into a system still provides the fastest, most accurate and informative note.
2. Consider a scribe or transcriptionist.
A well-trained voice recognition system is highly efficient but when you become so busy that every second counts, consider using a scribe or transcriptionist. They’ll save the seconds required for editing voice recognition mistakes each note, plus an in-room scribe can help with other tasks that do not require your direct presence.
3. Use form templates to guide exams and charting.
An organized exam flow is a prerequisite for efficient documentation. Using a paper form or electronic EHR template will definitely assist that process. Check out this ChiroUp Lumbar Exam that makes you more efficient by organizing orthopedic tests per diagnosis as well as allowing a side-by-side comparison to better observe and document progress (or lack thereof) on subsequent re-exams. (You can access all regional orthopedic examination forms under the ChiroUp tab: Sharpen My Clinical Skills/Chiropractic Clinical forms.)
4. Make use of MACRO’s…but not too often
Like SALT functionality, Macro’s are another efficient way to save documentation time by automatically incorporating familiar verbiage into your notes- but use caution to avoid redundancy because static notes suggest static conditions. The best documenter’s use macros sparingly, edit them to match their exact findings, and do not repeat the same macro within the same care plan. (Check out these sample Macro’s for inspiration.)
5. Communicate your findings to MD’s automatically
Sending Initial Visit Summaries and Release Reports to your patient’s primary care provider is an essential documentation task AND one of the best ways to market your practice. Busy PCP’s will read and appreciate a brief synopsis of your initial visit assessment and final visit assessment. Unfortunately, creating these customized summaries takes considerable time and effort…until now.
Last month, ChiroUp launched MD Connect, an automated chiropractic report generator that allows subscribers to produce an initial visit summary and a subsequent release report that gets read by busy MD’s. The process only takes about 5 seconds while your staff is preparing the patient’s ChiroUp lay condition report!
Check out this video to learn more about automatically marketing to MD’s while providing “best practice” chiropractic patient education.