The healthcare industry is notorious for being disorganized. In fact, one study found that administrative inefficiency in healthcare accounted for $265.6 billion of waste every year. While the complexity of providing and paying for care makes it near-impossible to create a perfect system, healthcare practices can take steps to help mitigate waste–including transferring to electronic paperwork.
For traditional healthcare practices, electronic paperwork has been a game-changer. Reducing administrative burden, improving data storage, and streamlining processes, electronic forms save healthcare providers countless hours of labor..not to mention costs associated with paying for that labor.
That being said, is electronic paperwork appropriate for less-conventional forms of healthcare?
The needs of practices dealing in psychiatry, counseling, chiropractics, nutrition, and more may vary in nature. Can they also benefit from transferring to electronic forms of paperwork?
In this article, we’ll take a look at what electronic paperwork is…why it’s beneficial….and if it might apply to your less-conventional care practice.
What is Electronic Paperwork?
Traditionally, the healthcare industry has used physical paperwork to transfer information such as patient contact information, medical history, prescriptions, symptoms, diagnoses, appointment notes, lab results, insurance information, liability information, and more.
Much of this information must be kept critically private….and must also be transferred and recorded with utmost care.
Electronic paperwork, however, transfers and stores information on secure, electronic forms that are filled out digitally.
Electronic Medical Records (EMR) or Electronic Health Records (EHR) refer to electronic paperwork that’s accessed and stored on a private database that also meets HIPAA requirements (HIPAA refers to regulations that secure the privacy of a patient’s personal information. Not meeting this requirement can have dire consequences for a practice and damaging consequences to a patient).
The Benefits of Electronic Paperwork
Shifting to electronic paperwork does not come without its challenges. Transferring paper records to electronic records takes time and effort. Plus, your staff will have to learn new processes and protocol to properly handle electronic paperwork, which may require a bit of additional training.
But the benefits of electronic paperwork far outweigh the cost of time and effort to implement a new system.
As mentioned above, electronic paperwork reduces administrative burden…ultimately saving providers on paying staff for hours they spend on filing and scanning paperwork. According to experts, electronic paperwork also reduces the likelihood of errors (which could prove costly to providers and dangerous for patients).
Electronic paperwork does more than just reduce waste and error, however. It also improves communication between providers, making it easier for healthcare practitioners to get a comprehensive view of a patient’s health by accessing a shared record.
Finally, electronic paperwork expedites the retrieval of vital patient information–so that providers can quickly pull what they need during any given appointment.
How Electronic Paperwork Could Work For You
The benefits of electronic paperwork are potentially countless.
But do they apply to you?
The short answer? Yes.
Regardless of what kind of care practice you run, electronic paperwork can benefit you. Here are a few ideas for how integrating electronic paperwork into your practice could be a game-changing strategy.
For Counseling, Psychology, and Psychiatry
Practitioners who offer mental healthcare services have a similar challenge to conventional practices: receiving and potentially communicating critically private patient information.
Electronic paperwork can help by allowing counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists to create custom forms for patients to share information about their personal history, mental health, and past trauma. As we’ll talk about in just a minute, using an electronic paperwork platform also gives patients a way to privately message their providers–creating an avenue for quick, safe communication.
For Chiropractors and Physical Therapists
Chiropractors and physical therapists have a unique relationship with their clients, as they’re actively and frequently monitoring the mobility, flexibility, and musculoskeletal health of a patient.
Health practitioners in this space can create electronic forms customized for their patients’ needs to communicate pain, soreness, immobility and more. Not only that, but patients can easily access (and send) these forms right from their mobile phones.
For Personal Trainers & Life Coaches
Personal training and life coaching aren’t typically associated with healthcare, but as you know if you’re a personal trainer or life coach, they are definitely connected to personal care! If you don’t already, sending your new clients an electronic pre-appointment questionnaire gives you valuable intel you can use to better care for your client…and also communicates your commitment to their journey of greater physical or holistic health. Likewise, you may also want to use an electronic system to expedite and organize scheduling and appointments (which we’ll learn about shortly).
For Holistic Care Practitioners and Nutritionists
Holistic care practitioners and nutritionists typically want a more comprehensive overview of a patient’s diet, medical history, lifestyle habits, and more. This type of information usually requires quite a bit of time to communicate, and needs more than a few minutes pre-appointment to fill out.
Electronic paperwork can be effectively and securely delivered to patients well before their first appointment with a holistic care provider or nutritionist–giving them plenty of time to thoughtfully and carefully think through what they want to communicate with their providers.
Not only that, but electronic forms can be customized to include detailed questions, charts, and infographics involving a patient’s diet, exercise habits, and more. For example, a provider may want to include a special chart involving a patient’s daily eating habits. As patients can access this form right on their mobile phones, they may even want to fill out the form gradually–giving a more detailed, accurate picture of what they eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Using an Electronic Forms Platform
IntakeQ is a comprehensive electronic forms platform that allows you to send, deliver, store, and receive electronic forms for your less-conventional healthcare practice. You can customize these forms with your practice’s custom colors, logo, slogan, and send them to patients via email (also accessible and viewable on their mobile phones).
But IntakeQ offers you more than just electronic paperwork.
This streamlined solution also provides:
- Text Messaging Appointment Reminders: Remind your patients about upcoming appointments with fast, convenient SMS messages–cutting down on your practice’s administrative need.
- Patient Portals: Give each patient access to a personalized portal where they can access their personal information, appointment notes, recommendations, prescriptions, and more. Plus, they can use their portal to privately message providers–creating a safe, secure connection to ask and answer questions regarding symptoms, recommendations, medication usage, and more.
- Online Booking Widget: Give patients the ability to book or cancel appointments online. Again, this feature significantly cuts down on hours of labor…(and potentially can help you reduce the number of your administrative staff).
- Patient Surveys: Send your patients detailed surveys on what could be improved at your healthcare practice, what they enjoy, and how likely they would be to recommend your practice to a friend. Use this intel to make improvements, expand your marketing reach, and build relationships with patients.
If you’d like to create a more customized, streamlined experience for your patients–and cut down on administrative burden, errors, and cost–click here to get a free 14-day trial with IntakeQ.