Clinicians long for the day when they can use their mobile device, whether that is an Ipad or Smartphone, to enter data into their company’s electronic health record system. What is even more appealing is the possibility of accessing patient records or adding information to record pertinent information while away from the healthcare facility.
The freedom provided by mobile devices is self-evident to Physical and Occupational therapists. They could offer the ability to move about the treatment area with the patient and document therapy as it occurs. But currently, mobile devices are not prevalent in treatment rooms. Since it seems a natural fit, why haven’t software companies offered the technology to their clients?
The answer is multi-faceted but really simple. Essentially, mobile devices do not lend themselves to easy and quick data entry. Mobile devices rely on a small keyboard that can make it difficult to type. They also rely on gestures, which aren’t always intuitive and can be difficult to complete. Another reason, according to a study by Spyglass Consulting Group, is that healthcare facility IT departments are “resistant to supporting personal mobile devices on the corporate network," and that "Hospital IT believes personal devices are insecure, less reliable, and more expensive to deploy, support and maintain than desktop computers." Finally, security issues, especially when away from the healthcare facility, make clinic owner very wary of allowing users to access patient data remotely.
To overcome many of these problems, software providers would have to completely rewrite much of their software to take advantage of a mobile device’s strengths. And the one advancement that could make data entry much simpler, voice recognition software, is still not advanced enough to handle medical terminology efficiently.
Many therapy companies use tablet computers because they are a good mix of power and portability. And if the facility is using physical and occupational therapy software like Planetrehab, they have to option to use a mix of both the installed version and the web version, thus giving the user the ability to access the database remotely.
On September 21, 2011, Justin Moore, APTA vice president, Government and Payment Advocacy testified before Congress on the effect that the Medicare cap for physical, occupational and speech therapy services has on patients and providers. Moore was joined by witnesses from the American Hospital Association, American Ambulance Association, and American Medical Association.
Because the baby boomer generation is getting older, the demand for knee and hip replacements is expected to double in the coming years. The Medicare cap will severely limit a patient's ability to receive proper therapy following surgery unless Congress acts.
Moore called on Congress to renew exceptions to the cap and to devise a plan to deal with the yearly threat of expiring exceptions.
If cap exceptions are not renewed before they expire at the end of the year, physical therapy billing and payments would be severely affected.
You can read Moore's statement to Congress on Expiring Medicare Provider Payment Policies.
On Sunday, September 18th, we released Planetrehab 2.200, which is a major upgrade to the software. The latest upgrade contains the new documentation entry interface.
You can download the tutorial from our website.
Planetrehab user and clinic owner, Julie Tanka
, wrote an article
for Physical Therapy Products Magazine
about the challenges she faced when opening her California clinics, Pine Mountain Therapy
and Therapy for Life
Julie discusses how the Planetrehab Physical Therapy software
and billing service
helped her navigate the problems and pitfalls that she faced when opening her clinics and how Planetrehab helped her succeed.
In the article, Julie lists the what she finds invaluable about Planetrehab.
A great article by Samuel S. Sprague touching on the affect Accountable Care Organizations
(ACOs) will have on physical therapy practices.
ACOs will provide a tangible benefit for physical therapy providers by improving the quality of care and lower the cost of the care.
However, there are some concerns that freestanding physical therapy clinics will be squeezed out of the market by large ACOs, but provisions have been created by the Department of Justice to combat anti-trust activities.
Sprague points out that it is critical for physical therapy clinics to adopt physical therapy software
so they can incorporate EHR into their practice.
Although the final rules for ACOs have not been finalized, it is important that physical therapists stay apprised of forthcoming developments.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing for physical therapy clinics?
Cloud computing has been in use for quite some time. Everyone who accesses their email online (webmail) is using a form of cloud computing. In the coming years, there will be an even greater use of cloud computing. Google Apps and MSOffice 365 are poised to centralize word processing and spreadsheet functions. Online backups, such as Mozy, Carbonite and Jungle Disk are becoming the standard as is online picture storage (Shutterfly and Photobucket).
Cloud computing is perfect for these functions. Being able to access your data from any computer that has an internet connection allows the user to be more mobile and more productive.
However, depending on a working internet connection to access time-critical data is much more worrisome. In a clinic setting, users must be able to access patient data immediately. And if their internet connection is not working, even for a short period, they will not be able to check in or schedule patients, review past documentation or check on the status of a claim until their internet connection is restored. Most businesses can wait 30 minutes to access their email, but cannot wait 30 minutes when they have a waiting room full of patients.
Installed software generally offers more security and dependability. It also offers greater speed. Accessing data over a local network as opposed to retrieving data over the internet is much faster. And what happens to your data if your cloud-computing vendor goes out of business?
A common misconception is that physical therapy cloud software is easier to use than installed software. Just because software is available over the internet does not mean that is easier to use. In fact, depending on the way the interface is laid out, online software can be more difficult to navigate. Any potential user should fully evaluate a software’s interface before deciding on a particular package.
Another misconception is that physical therapy cloud computing is less expensive because a business does not have to maintain costly hardware. But, every user must have a computer that is on a network so they can access their software and patient data. Thus, a business must purchase and maintain hardware and insure the viability of their computer network.
In the current software environment, users should expect to have the option of using installed software, a cloud version or a combination of the two. The perfect scenario is to have installed software that is distributed over a local network. And if the computer that contains the clinic’s data or their network were to fail, then users could access their data via the internet until the hardware or network is repaired. Mobile users could also access from any computer that has an internet connection (but, again, understanding the limitations of spotty internet service).
Planetrehab offers the installed/cloud hybrid physical therapy software.
Planetrehab's Director of Sales and Markeing Ricky Gomez was quoted extensively in this article on cloud computing and physical therapy software.The article, by Judy O'Rourke, appears in the May/June edition of Physical Therapy Products magazine and online.
Gomez discussed some of the misconceptions and pitfalls that plague cloud computing for physical and occupational therapy companies.
It should be noted that Planetrehab offers installed, web (cloud) and hybrid versions of its software.
1. Quicker Reimbursements and Reduced Number of Denied Claims.
Unless you are experienced at billing physical and occupational therapy claims, it can be difficult knowing what information needs to be submitted to get paid for the claim. Using a reputable and experience physical and occupational therapy billing company can drastically reduce the number of non-pays due to submitting incorrect and/or incomplete claims. And when claims are submitted electronically they are entered into the claims process quicker than when they are submitted using standard mail, thus the claim is paid faster.
2. Reduce Accounts Receivables and Improve Cash Flow.
4. Minimize Disruption Due to Employee Turnover, Reduce Your Staff and/or Make Your Staff More Efficient.
When a physical and occupational therapy claim is submitted with the correct information, the number of days a claim goes unpaid is drastically reduced, therefore reducing your accounts receivables. This shortens the period of time from when the treatment was provided to the time you get paid, thus your cash flow position improves.
3. Increase Amount Paid Per Treatment Provided.
Physical and occupational therapy billing software will maximize the number of codes billed per session, ensuring you are billing for all treatment conducted. And the software should be able to prevent you from billing for a procedure that the patient's insurance company will not pay.
One of the most disruptive events in any business is the loss of a key employee(s), especially one with the skill set to handle physical and occupational therapy billing and collections. Finding an experienced replacement can be costly and time-consuming. And hiring someone that is inexperienced means they will be learning on the job. Using an experienced physical and occupational therapy billing company eliminates the problems that come with employee turnover. 5. Standardize Documentation and Mitigate the Impact of Audits.
Software provided by the physical and occupational therapy billing company will ensure your documentation is standardized, consistent and compliant. You can mandate that each therapist document treatment in the same way. This eliminates inconsistent or poorly written notes and makes it much easier to defend yourself in case of an audit.
Too often, Leah Stanley shows up at a doctor’s office or hospital feeling lousy. And she must, yet again, detail the 17 medicines she takes.
Sometimes she gives up and directs attention to where she has stored the tally of drugs in her iPhone.
“It’s like, ‘I’m sick,” said the 50-year-old nursing instructor. “I don’t want to have to tell my story again.”
She pines for the day when records collected at one place will, in a flash, be shipped electronically wherever they’re needed. That would certainly make her life easier and avoid the odds of error that increase every time her medical history is re-entered into a computer or on a paper chart.
We’re getting there. Government and industry are in the midst of a multibillion-dollar electronic medical records spending spree.
Click to read the rest of the article about the gradual change to digital recordkeeping.
Playing two Wii Fit video games-Step and Hula-can provide adequate exercise to improve health and physical fitness, reports a study in the March issue of The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, official research journal of the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
These Wii Fit games "can be used as an effective mode of physical activity to improve health in adult women," according to the study by honors students Jennifer R. Worley and Sharon N. Rogers, and their advisor, Robert R. Kraemer, Ed.D., FACSM, of Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond. However, the researchers emphasize that players "should strive to participate at higher (intermediate) game levels" to gain exercise benefits.
Click to read the rest of the article about how the Wii Fit can improve health and physical fitness.