The average chiropractor sees between 20 and 50 patients per day according to the Association of Chiropractic Colleges.
When you’re cycling this many people in and out of your practice regularly, it may be tempting to spend your time in the office focused solely on treating patients, leaving the updating of their electronic health records (EHRs) to later in the day.
Though this likely seems logical because it enables you to chunk your time into blocks that are designated to specific activities—such as continuously seeing patients one after another or being able to sit and note a number of files at one time—there are a few very compelling reasons to finish your EHR notes before your patient even walks out your front door. Here are four to consider.
1. Your Records Have More Credibility
Data provided by the National Practitioner Data Bank indicates that there have been a total of 6,939 medical malpractice payments made by doctors of chiropractic (DCs) since 1990.
Now, imagine that you are tasked with reviewing these types of cases. Which DC’s notes would you have more faith in: those that were made during a patient’s appointment or those entered hours (if not days) later?
Records reviewers such as auditors and attorneys have more confidence in healthcare practitioner’s notes when they are signed relatively close to a patients’ appointment time. Conversely, if you wait too long, it becomes abundantly clear that you’re relying on your memory, increasing the likelihood that your notes could be called into question.
2. It Enables You to Better Separate Work from Home
By inputting patient notes during your actual work day, you’re better able to focus on your family and other home-based activities once you leave the office. No more spending your evenings, weekends, and holidays (and all of the other times when you could have been going to your child’s ballgame, tending to your lawn, or engaged in your favorite sport) stuck behind the computer in an effort to update patient files.
Having poor work-life balance not only causes you to miss important family functions while simultaneously making your work days feel like they’re never going to end, but Medical News Today also reports that living this type of lifestyle can also negatively impact your mental and physical health.
Specifically, when you tend to consistently work longer hours, it increases your risk of stroke and coronary heart disease. Lengthy work days also put you at a higher risk of developing mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. Why not avoid all of these conditions simply by entering patient notes during or immediately after your patients’ sessions?
3. Your Notes Are More Accurate
The sooner you document your patients’ visits, the more accurate (and the more detailed) your notes become.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) adds that “when health care providers have access to complete and accurate information, patients receive better medical care.” This is because complete and accurate patient records help practitioners properly diagnose patients while also reducing errors that can potentially put their health and safety at risk.
The ONC goes on to say that providing higher quality medical care also translates into more satisfied patients. Since more satisfied patients are generally more willing to make referrals, completing EHR notes during patient visits can also lead to faster office growth.
4. You Won’t Miss Inputting Important Information
Research confirms that the longer you wait to recall what was said during a conversation, the harder it is to recall that type of information.
For instance, one study published in the journal Human Communication Research found that subjects could only remember roughly 10 percent of conversations they’d just had moments before. After one month, the ability to recall what was said dropped to a mere 4 percent.
So, if a patient shares important information during his or her appointment, why not input it right then so you don’t forget to include it in the notes?
Plus, how many times have you been updating notes post-visit only to realize that you didn’t get as much information from the patient as you would’ve liked? On the other hand, if you’re inputting the notes directly during the visit, you have the opportunity to ask more questions if you want more detail or need further clarification.
These are just four reasons why you are better off finishing your notes before your patient even leaves your practice. Aren’t these reasons enough?