Managing a successful physical therapy practice can often seem like a juggling act. There are lots of competing challenges: Providing care, running the business, managing HR, and of course marketing your services. When you finally have the time to take a step back and look at growing the practice vs. just running it, the challenges come front and center. At that time, do you see your EMR as a true growth enabler or is it holding you back?
Here are some of the growth-inhibiting challenges that therapy practice owners often encounter:
Measuring therapist productivity
Therapist time needs to be spent on treating patients and generating revenue. Time spent on paperwork and administrative tasks is clearly an overhead. The more time spent on the former, the higher the productivity. On the other hand, not paying enough attention to administrative tasks could lead to claim denials and lost revenue. How well does your EMR system help you manage this tradeoff? More importantly, can you generate all the metrics needed to measure and manage your clinical teams? Your EMR should be able to generate reports for key performance indicators like Arrival Rate, Cancellation Rate, and Units Per Visit. Does it?
Disconnected EMR and billing software
Is your EMR and Billing Software REALLY one single solution? Or is it actually two different software systems linked or “integrated” together? The difference is not just technical—this disconnect can lead to several issues including duplicate data entry, lost or inaccurate data, and less than adequate user experience. As a practice owner, you may not even realize the amount of “workaround” work your team is doing to make the best of this inefficient configuration of systems.
Too much reporting, not enough intelligence
It is helpful to have access to a large collection of reports, but does your EMR system provide actionable intelligence? This type of analytics, presented to users within their workflows when they really need it, can help improve quality of care, productivity, and profitability. How easy is it for your team members to leverage your clinical and financial data to deliver insight for improving patient and business outcomes?
Inflexible system that is difficult to change
You have unique clinical and administrative processes that have stood the test of time but your EMR system forced you to change those successful proven workflows because of its own limitations. What you need is a blend of key unique processes that differentiate your practice along with scalable industry best practices in the EMR. How easy is it to customize your software for maximum value? Is your software working for you, or are you working for your software?
Customer support and training that does not instill excitement
Customer support needs to provide the critical edge for you to transition from just using the EMR to driving results with the EMR. Does your customer support team have the passion and commitment to ensure your success?
Handling change, the only constant
Regulations, internal requirements, external influences and even shocks like the pandemic: changes come in droves these days. How easy is to adapt your PT EMR to change?
The need is for PT EMR that optimizes clinical and administrative workflows and enables better clinical and financial outcomes as an agile partner in progress. The next step would be an AI powered, intelligent EMR that thinks like a therapist with workflows and documentation that are in perfect alignment with what a therapist seeks.
This could include monitoring of patient progress, seamless communication with all stakeholders, measurement of outcomes and costs, support for preventive care that helps avoid unnecessary costs, and data and patterns that provide a 360-degree view of the patient. On the Medicare side, we could be talking about compliance tools to select the right evaluation code based on complexity, alerts when selected codes are not in sync, appropriate documentation to defend classification, meaningful use certification, and connection to national outcomes databases.
How close are you to the vision of an ideal physical therapy practice? That is a conversation that should be worth having.