Physical Therapy EMR | My Onboarding Experience
Dr. Amy Vant, DPT
Physical therapist specializing in geriatric care with a clinical interest in neurologic conditions
In PT school, most of us never learned the importance of business savvy skills. When I was in school, I dreamed of treating unlimited patients, with unlimited amounts of time, and with no pressure of deadlines, schedules and productivity. After practicing for many years, I know physical therapy clinics cannot run on idealism. I’m not saying that we cannot be autonomous, dedicated and thorough with our patients. Believe me, I know that therapists can still be profitable, while providing top-notch care and delivering one-on-one therapy. For this reason, I understand the importance of an electronic medical record system that handles important administrative tasks and makes a therapist as efficient as possible. I value an EMR system that does more than save my data entry.
As therapists we are continually looking out for the best interests of our patients. We really do not have time to continually review all of our daily notes, evaluations and billing documents to ensure that we have checked all of the right boxes and marked all of the right codes. Yes, we have the responsibility of keeping up on the ever-changing demands of Medicare and private insurance companies. However, we need a system that will ensure that all of those Medicare requirements are included. We need a double-checker because we certainly don’t have time to do it!
We need an EMR system that is user friendly, yet thorough. With bestPT, I have found that everything you need in an evaluation or daily note is available and the system even cues you to testing items that you may have forgotten. I am not new to electronic medical records. In fact, I have used many different types of EMR systems since becoming a physical therapist. Trust me, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly.
When implementing a new EMR system, there may be resistance by clinical staff members who are set in their ways of documentation. Change is difficult, especially when it slows the pace of a clinic initially. The first few days using a new physical therapy EMR system can be crucial to your overall success. If your staff feels that the system is not helpful or does not save time, they will not not use it. If your new system does not offer a fun and easy way to learn it and quickly put to practice, then it will quickly turn into hindrance and you will regret the decision you made to purchase it. Other important stages of on-boarding a new system beside training, include definitions of your fee schedules, enrollments with your insurance companies, and patient record transition. Many EMR installations fail because EMR vendors lack the experience to perform a successful on-boarding.
Usually EMR companies have pretty easy solutions for your fee definitions and patient record transitions because those are the most technical and best understood functions. Training is more challenging, because in addition to system knowledge, they also need to build training skills and a knowledge transfer protocol and experience. The toughest part of on-boarding is enrollments. Enrollments are challenging because insurance companies are your adversaries – they gain from underpaying us and from delaying our payments. Since an incomplete enrollment delays your payments, insurance companies have no incentive to help accelerate this process. On the contrary, they keep bringing up new obstacles at every opportunity. Your EMR vendor must both coordinate between your office and the insurance companies and handle payer adversity professionally and effectively. A PT EMR vendor who has experience in enrollment process makes a key difference to your success.
Besides being a thorough and complete source for therapy documentation, bestPT comes with a support staff that is readily available for help. I have found that using bestPT means that you get a quality EMR system, and you get the dedicated team behind it. Utilization of the billing, management and marketing components optimizes your bang for your buck with bestPT. You can use the tools to create a more efficiently run clinic, without having to hire consultants to track your outcomes and take your profit.
During my on-boarding experience, I found excellent customer service from the bestPT team. It is essential that the EMR Help system must be HIPAA-compliant because you will likely have questions about a particular patient problem. Unfortunately, email is easy for communication, but not HIPAA compliant. That’s a problem, especially in light of massive security breaches in 2014, including: Home Depot, Target, Community Health Systems (giant hospital operator), JP MorganChase (the nation’s largest bank), Sony Pictures, White House, and the State Department. bestPT has a built-in Help desk system, complete with two-factor authentication, 256-bit military grade encryption, automated ticket tracking, and accountability reporting. So, instead of an email-based question-response cycle, you can get your questions answered quickly within bestPT system and remain HIPAA-compliant. This eliminates liability for breaking HIPAA and keeps patient’s private information safe.
I quickly built confidence that I would have support when I needed it. I appreciated the dedication to user satisfaction throughout my training. Their dedication does not stop once on-boarding is over. I know that I can reach out for assistance anytime I need it.
One of the greatest features I discovered during my on-boarding experience is the regular email updates, tips, tricks, and guidelines that are sent out to each bestPT user. These updates are full of valuable information, including: Medicare regulations, documentation, practice management and so on. I find these articles to be invaluable to user success, both during on-boarding and throughout utilization in practice.
Overall, I feel that bestPT provided a clear, streamlined and friendly on-boarding experience for myself as a new user. I feel confident in the expertise and skill of the bestPT team, and feel confident in my ability to use this EMR in practice.
Disclaimer: For HIPAA compliance, all characters appearing in this post are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons or actual events is purely coincidental.
Dr. Amy Vant, DPT