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One of the biggest headaches that a doctor’s office can face is managing patient records. Whether you have one patient or hundreds, this is a time-consuming exercise and requires a lot of manual effort. Managing patient records also requires a lot of space which is an ever-tightening commodity in the modern world. One of the biggest benefits of adopting patient digital accounts is that it removes the space and time constraints of traditional patient records.
The benefits of running a paperless practice are therefore not only environmental. Minimising the need for paper in your practice will also save you time, improve productivity, and save you money. There are a few changes you can make to your practice to become paperless.
The most important step to becoming paperless would be to increase automation. There are a few processes that can be automated in a practice that would greatly reduce or completely remove the need for paper:
1. Sending forms for completion prior to arrival
Sending forms adds value to both your patient and your practice. Patients can complete forms in their own time and submit the completed forms online without having to spend unnecessary time in the waiting room. The practice administrator would save time by not having to create new accounts or update existing accounts as this information should automatically be added or updated on your practice management software application.
2. Allowing patients to find or create an account themselves upon arrival
Allowing patients to search, update or create their own accounts has various benefits including saving your staff time by not having to pull files and documents to update or complete for new patients, nor having to refile this documentation yourself.
3. Integration with Pathology results
Accessing your patient’s pathology directly from your PMA should allow you access to the pathology history, allowing you to compare results and easily view highs and lows without having to deal with reams of paper.
4. Creating reports and scripts
Capturing reports and scripts online will save you time and further reduces the need for storage space for physical patient files filled with documents. Using practice management software will save you time with report templates and not having to recapture previously entered information, or manually capture medications on scripts.
5. Managing the practice diary
Gone are the days of using a hardcopy book to manage the practice diary. Using practice management software to manage patient appointments will allow you to review appointment per status at a glance and is something that everyone has access to at the same time. Receptionists or practice administrators save time by managing the appointments for one or many rooms all on one place.
6. Claims submission
For practices that work with claim submission doing this electronically and in real-time can save time and energy. Online submission reduces the number of paper claim submissions and the number of ERAs being manually printed and captured.
7. Storing patient-provided documentation
Storing this information digitally further reduces the need for storage space by saving documents sent by patients directly to their account.
Running a paperless practice simplifies the day-to-day tasks of staff working at and running the practice. It also means that all documents are stored in a convenient and central location. With this important and confidential medical information being stored electronically, an extra layer of security is added to protect that information.
Another important aspect of changing to a paperless process is to make this change with your staff. Ensure that they are included in the process and are adequately trained in order to embrace the change and feel confident in their ability to succeed.
Lastly, patient education would need to be undertaken. Going paperless will streamline your practice. It is important that your patients know what to expect from the practice in terms of changes being made, and how these changes would impact them.