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The Pros and Cons of Medical Documentation Tools

Sarah Lara

Nov 27, 2023
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Medical documentation is usually seen as a secondary step in patient care. Despite this, however, it still significantly impacts healthcare workers, such as physical therapists. For instance, spending too much time on medical documentation duties can lead to PT burnout

Nowadays, a physical therapist must take down patient assessments, progress notes, treatment plans, and even outcome metrics. The heavy and monotonous workload can lead to unwelcome consequences for both the physical therapist and the patient. Thankfully, you can easily avoid these consequences with a medical documentation tool.

However, like every tool, medical documentation services have their pros and cons. Before implementing such a tool for your clinic's operations, let’s consider these pros and cons.

Using Medical Documentation Tools: Pros and Cons

The Pros of Using Medical Documentation Tools

Medical Documentation Tools Save Time

Using a medical documentation audit tool to record patient sessions can help physical therapists save a significant amount of time. Before these tools were created, physical therapists spent most of their day manually recording patient sessions. Sometimes, they even had to re-write or create multiple copies manually. As a result, physical therapists spend more time on medical documentation than treating patients.

This is where medical documentation tools become a great advantage. As these tools use advanced A.I. to record and keep track of patient sessions, PTs can now spend less time on patient documentation. Instead, they can focus more on their patients and their needs.

They Provide Convenience to Patients and Physical Therapists

Medical documentation services or tools can be an incredibly convenient advantage for patients and physical therapists. Not only does it make the task of documentation faster but it also allows users to save the document into an electronic medical record (EMR). This means that the physical therapist can now access the patient’s file easier.

Another way medical documentation proves its convenience is when a patient moves out of state. Should patients require treatment at a new hospital, the staff can access the EMR of the patient documentation service as long as the hospital adopts the system as well. Once again, this allows physical therapists to eliminate unnecessary steps in obtaining patient records. These steps include calling or emailing their previous hospital out of state to request said records.

Additionally, patient documentation tools also provide convenience to physical therapy patients living in rural areas.

Patients who live in rural areas have a more difficult time receiving medical attention. This is because of their distance from the nearest medical practices. In fact, some who need medical care may even decide not to go for treatments at all. As a result, they fail to receive the proper medical care that they need.

Some medical documentation tools come with their own EMR software system. Through this system, physical therapists can access their patient’s medical records and previous sessions. This can help them form treatments or routines that are more convenient for patients living in rural areas.

It Reduces Errors in Patient Documentation

Before medical scribe services were widespread, medical documentation was usually done manually and on paper. Unfortunately, poor practices in creating these documents, such as using shorthand or having poor handwriting, often resulted in illegible transcriptions. As a result, the notes could be misunderstood, leading to deviations in the patient’s treatment. In the worst case, medical malpractice could even occur.

By using a medical documentation tool, you can guarantee clinical documentation improvement. This is because physical therapists can ensure patient documentation is accurate. Since the documents are usually taken down digitally by AI or a team of transcriptionists from the recordings of your patient session, there’s no need to worry about illegible handwriting. 

Additionally, the above mentioned methods make tracking and managing a patient’s medication or treatment plan easier and more efficient. As a result, physical therapists can avoid treatment mistakes that can harm patient health.

They Help Improve Security for Medical Records

Medical documents recorded on paper are a security risk. The reason for this is because these documents also contain the patient’s personal data. If the document is lost or improperly discarded, the patient’s information could be compromised.

A medical documentation audit tool can help solve this problem. Most medical documentation tools have medical records software with top-notch security and privacy features. As a result, physical therapists can store patient information in electronic health records. With this advantage, a physical therapist will no longer have to worry about losing patient documents.

Thanks to security and privacy features built into the clinical documentation software, only authorized individuals can access the patient’s data. Thus, you don’t have to worry about compromised patient information.

The Cons of Using Medical Documentation Tools

Implementation Can Be Costly and Time-Consuming

Of course, like any tool, medical transcription tools also come with flaws. One flaw of such patient documentation tools is that they can be costly. Implementing a medical documentation tool and EMR systems can be pricey.

As a result, starting to use your medical documentation tool could require a significant amount of funding. Maintaining the tool throughout the years your clinic uses it could also be costly.

Another flaw that medical documentation tools bring is that they can affect your clinic’s workflow. Do note that properly implementing such tools into a healthcare facility’s systems can take a few months. 

Patient records currently on paper must also be moved to digital format using the medical documentation tool. Finally, you’ll also have to dedicate some time to training your team to use the new tool properly. 

This means that implementing medical documentation tools and their EMR software system is time-consuming. As such, thorough preparation is recommended if you’re considering implementing this system for your team’s convenience.

They May Not Function as Planned and Are Vulnerable to Hacking

Another disadvantage of medical documentation tools is that sometimes, they might not work as planned. Remember, medical documentation tools and their EMRs are occasionally susceptible to technical errors. If the proper measures aren’t in place when these technical errors occur, your clinic will lose the patients' data.

In addition, if your medical documentation audit tool is not properly implemented into your clinic’s systems, it might not function as well as it should. As a result, delays and confusion in the workflow and errors in the patient’s records may occur.

The final disadvantage of medical documentation tools and their EMRs is that they’re also susceptible to hacking. While the EMRs of such tools are usually only accessed by authorized personnel, any data stored in digital format can also be hacked. 

Patient records stored digitally are no different. They're vulnerable to hacks, and the stolen data could be used maliciously. As a result, many clinics are reluctant to implement medical documentation tools and EHR software out of fear that their patients’ data will be compromised.

Should Your Clinic Use Medical Documentation Tools?

Now that you know all the pros and cons of using medical documentation tools, you’re no doubt wondering if you should still use them for your clinic’s daily operations. Medical documentation tools are a great advantage to every clinic. Not only does it remove the monotony of patient documentation but it also eases the work of your physical therapists. This is a great advantage in helping prevent physical therapist burnout.

It's highly recommended that you implement the use of medical documentation services in your clinic sooner rather than later. Despite the flaws of medical documentation tools, their advantages easily outweigh them. In fact, the flaws of medical documentation tools are easily fixable.

For instance, if physical therapists fear their patients' records are susceptible to hacking, improving your framework’s security can increase the safety of the documents. Moreover, ensuring that someone knowledgeable in technology implements your clinic's medical documentation tool into your systems can ensure that the tool functions as planned. 

By ensuring that the above mentioned steps are taken, the new medical documentation system will not only be secure but will also function as intended. This can help prevent disruptions in your clinic’s workflow.

Finally, while the time- and cost-consuming aspects of implementing such a tool cannot be avoided, they are also one-time flaws you can recoup in the long run. With the aid of medical documentation tools and EMRs, your therapists can treat more patients promptly.

Make your physical therapists’ work easier with ScribePT. ScribePT is a medical documentation tool aimed at making patient documentation much more efficient. With ScribePT, you can use our next-generation AI to generate a personalized pre-note. You can also transfer all your patient documentation to your EMR with a few clicks.

Improve your clinic's medical documentation efficiency by signing up for ScribePT's services!

Medical Documentation Now Made Easier

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