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How Technology Can Improve Productivity Within Your Physical Therapy Practice

Technology and your PT practice

Technology is everywhere today. It’s in your pocket, on your wrist, and everywhere in between. As a tech company, we love technology! It’s key that you understand how technology can make a difference in your PT practice and some other important nuances that will really help you make the most of the tech that you choose to adopt.

Can technology make a difference in your PT practice?

There’s no question that technology can help improve the efficiency of your practice. With that said, it’s more of a question of how much. If you acquire any sort of technology for your PT practice (EMR or otherwise), you may instantly experience gains in efficiency but if you’re serious about really making the most of your investment then there’s a bit more to the story.

Align process with technology

The most efficient (and in a lot of cases most profitable) practices have the best processes in place. The processes cover things like intake procedure, check-in procedure, discharge procedure and more. The idea is that with a consistent way of doing things, patients will receive a consistent experience with your practice, employees will know what to when, and improvements can be measured and implemented. This concept applied long before technology every became a mainstream part of many practices.
 
The key is taking technology and integrating it into that process. There will be scenarios where your process can be changed to accommodate technology for the better. In other cases, there will be scenarios where the technology should be made to conform to you process. In either case, the key point is:

KEY POINT: Your technology and process must align 100% to maximize efficieny and consistency.

Let’s try and make this a little bit more concrete:
 
Example 1: Process conforming to technology
With the advent of patient portals, patients can now complete online intakes allowing for the offloading of this aspect to the patient. In this case, your intake process in the practice can change to reflect this change
 
Example 2: Technology conforming to process
You and your staff therapists may have a specific way of documenting that reflects your style, typical patient types, flow, equipment, etc. In this case, your EMR should be able to be customized around your documentation preferences. Customization isn’t cosmetic, it’s all about efficiency and your process.

It’s really important that you consider having a manual that documents your procedures, this can really help you make the most out of your technology, staff, and more. Having it written down also plays a huge role in business continuity.

4 ways tech can improve efficiency

With the important notes above, here are 3 important ways that you can look to technology to improve your practice.

Improve Communication

Good technology should help staff-to-staff,  staff-to-patient, and practice-to-patient communication.

Staff-to-Staff
Whether it’s clinicians communicating with each other or front office and back office working together, communication is critical. This communication link ensures that everyone is on the same page and can provide a unified front to the patient. Staff-to-Staff can also play a pivotal role in patient care. PTs may be sharing patients or PTs and PTAs may be working collaboratively together – in both cases a strong communication link is important.

Staff-to-Patient and Practice-to-Patient
Patients have increasingly high expectations for communication. This tracks with increasing use of technology in all aspects of daily life. From reminders to communicating directly with a clinician, patients want convenience and instant ways to communicate. With the right technology, you’ll be able to deliver everything to patients

Reduce errors

Reducing human error is also a core goal of technology in a PT practice. From entering demographics to scheduling patients, there are opportunities for improvement along the way. Modern, competent systems should have some measure for error checking done by the system, this can alert you to missing or invalid information. In other cases, it’s the structure and organization of having technology that can result in reduction of errors.

Reduction in errors pay off substantially in every step of your process but particularly when discussing insurance claims. Having complete information is key to reducing denials and rejections. That saves time and time = productivity.

Eliminate double-entry

In days of old, many practices were used to doing things in a variety of systems. This still represented an improvement over pencil and paper but was just a stepping stone to the modern age where the idea is to do everything that you need in one spot. In today’s modern age, the more things work together, the better off your practice will be. You’ll be much more productive – able to enter things in one place and use that information everywhere that you need to.

Convenience

With web based technology, you can really work where you want to, when you want to and on the device of your choice. Staff wil really enjoy this flexibility because technology doesn’t have to be an anchor. This also opens the door to more ways to setup your practice, whether it’s in an open air gym or more of a treatment-room style office. This will allow you to be productive in more places and on more devices.

Security

Technology can also offer significant benefits in security by offering access controls, auditability and more. By taking advantage of the features that technology has to offer, you can bolster your security and compliance stances. Much like aligning your process with your technology, it’s important that you understand the security features that is offered and to set it up. There are times where security and convenience can be trade-offs, you can decide how to set things up as you go. This will help you spend less time on security allowing you to be more productive.

The bottom line

Technology is a great thing and when aligned with the processes in your practice, you can take everything to the next level. Your practice will be more efficient and more profitable.

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