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5 Reasons to Automate Your Medical Documentation Process

Sarah Lara

Feb 07, 2024
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When discussing healthcare operations, most tend to think that it starts with diagnosing the patient and ends with treating them until they get better. But of course, when caring for patients, there are actually more steps in the process beyond diagnosis and treatment. One of these steps is the medical documentation process. In fact, medical documentation is one of the most important parts of the healthcare process because it provides a record of the care provided to the patient.

However, according to healthcare professionals, medical documentation is also a time-consuming task. In 2021, an article revealed that healthcare professionals spend an average of 15.6 hours weekly on documentation tasks alone. This means they aren't spending as much time with their patients as they should.

Luckily, however, there is a solution to this dilemma: automating the patient documentation process. Here are the five main reasons why physical therapy practices should automate the way they document patient sessions.

5 Reasons to Automate Patient Documentation

1. It Reduces Human Error

Documentation for physical therapy and other treatments is an essential task that healthcare professionals have to complete. After all, by documenting every session, everyone will be updated on the patient’s current diagnosis and treatments. However, if done manually, mistakes can occur in the documentation. Additionally, mistakes can also occur if the physical therapist feels burnt out. 

According to Becker’s Hospital Review, around 70% of patient records have incorrect information written in them. Usually, this can be traced back to poor patient documentation caused by human error. Since these errors can sometimes lead to unwanted consequences, it’s vital that physical therapists and doctors avoid making documentation mistakes as much as possible. One way to achieve this is by automating the patient documentation process.

Healthcare workers can take advantage of advanced tools by automating the documentation process. These tools make the process more efficient as they can automatically correct errors in healthcare documents. Some can even have advanced functionalities that can assist professionals in diagnosing and treating patients more accurately. 

Thanks to the features mentioned above, you can avoid medical documentation errors. As a result, patients' quality of care will increase dramatically. This, in turn, allows them to be on the road to recovery much faster. 

2. It Makes the Process More Efficient

When treating patients, careful yet quick decision-making can sometimes be vital. After all, if deciding the proper course of treatment takes longer than it should, it could be detrimental to the patient’s health. Sometimes, these decisions could be made after seeing the patient’s documentation. This is where automation can be a great help.

In today’s age, where technology is readily available, it’s highly recommended that clinics and hospitals automate patient documentation. In fact, an article by McKinsey Digital states that around 36% of the healthcare industry has the potential to be automated. Unfortunately, many healthcare facilities still conduct medical document processing manually, which sometimes results in inefficient treatments.

By automating the documentation process, clinics can easily avoid this problem and enhance efficiency. This is because physical therapists and doctors can have instant access to the patient’s medical records. Thanks to this instant access, they can easily be updated on the patient’s diagnosis. This helps speed up the decision-making process regarding the patient's course of treatment.

3. Automation Increases Cost Savings

Savings is another benefit of patient documentation automation. Remember: a PT practice that hasn’t embraced automation still uses paper-based systems. This means that the facility tends to consume a significant amount of paper on a daily basis.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average office consumes up to two pounds of paper daily. As time goes by, the cost of these paper products gradually increases, resulting in significant spending. 

Based on a 2017 CAQH Index, the lack of automation for administrative tasks can cost the healthcare industry up to 11 billion dollars annually. As such, automation not only means less paper waste but also lesser costs for your hospital or clinic. This allows you to use the money saved to improve your facility’s operations further, such as training the staff to enhance their skill set.

Using PT documentation software to automate the process also helps you save costs because it ensures that the patient documentation is error-free. In a study by the National Library of Medicine, medical documentation errors are the reason for 10-20% of medical malpractice lawsuits. Through documentation automation, errors in the documents can be reduced, minimizing the possibility of such incidences. With payouts no longer necessary, the clinic can incur additional cost savings instead.

4. Helps Streamline Workflow

Another reason the medical documentation process should be automated is because it helps streamline a facility’s workflow. If a facility’s medical documentation process is still done manually, it can consume a significant amount of time. This not only prevents the doctors from catering to their patients but also dampens the patient experience at the same time.

By automating your clinic’s medical documentation process, the software’s machine-learning capabilities make it easier to root out any errors in the document over time. Apart from that, with automation, certain tools and advanced functionalities also become available to those who use them.

As a result of the automation benefits mentioned above, a healthcare facility can save time. This is because patient documentation can be completed with little to no errors and filed and retrieved at a faster pace. Because of this, physical therapists and healthcare professionals can focus more on treating their patients.

5. Ensures HIPAA Compliance

Finally, when a clinic automates the way they do patient documentation, it all but guarantees HIPAA compliance. Remember, patient privacy is a top priority in the healthcare industry. Therefore, it’s vital that a clinic complies with the necessary HIPAA regulations to ensure this privacy is maintained. 

Often, automated documentation tools are built with advanced security and encryption features. With such features, clinics can ensure that every patient's data is protected from unauthorized access. It even prevents the most experienced hackers from retrieving such sensitive information.

With such consequences on the line, it’s vital that healthcare facilities finally take advantage of automated patient documentation. That way, they can ensure that every medical document is HIPAA-compliant and properly protected.

Wondering how you can cut back the steps in the medical documentation process? ScribePT is the documentation solution to turn to! ScribePT is an advanced medical documentation tool that aims to change how physical therapists document each patient session. Take advantage of ScribePT’s next-generation AI and save up to 20+ hours on patient documentation by signing up for ScribePT's services today!

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