If you’re a physical therapist on the front end of a big EHR shopping expedition, by now you might be thinking, “I sure wish there were software with features designed just for physical therapists.” Well, actually, there is.
10 Of The Most Essential Physical Therapy EMR Features To Look For
When considering your next EMR software for your physical therapy practice, consider the following 10 essential features. Each has the potential to synergize your PT practice with integrated features and functionalities that you're now probably having to search for or use on a separate paid platform.
1. An Exercise Library
This remarkable resource includes thousands of exercises that patients can do at home - and all of it right at your fingertips. It comes complete with instructional videos and printable handouts.
Do you have an exercise that's not already in the library? If so, this software should allow you to create your own, add it to the library, and it’ll be there next time you need it.
Searches by body area, muscles, protocol, keyword, or common characteristics each typically produce several exercise options that match your search criteria. Other software features include:
Exercise specifications - such as number of reps and sets, pace, rest between sets, and frequency (times per day, week) - can be customized for each patient, depending on degree of injury.
Video weblinks that can be sent to and accessed by patients with username and HIPAA-compliant web password. PDFs can be sent or printed out for patients.
Exercise Pro Library (above) includes video, images, and written instructions and can be printed out or sent to the patient as a PDF.
2. Exercise Flowsheets
Searchable options specific to each patient injury-type should provide tracking, charting and workflow efficiencies that include:
Automatic attachment of CPT and procedure codes to exercises which carry over between appointments.
Prescribed exercises – along with patient history, records, and provider notes – that are automatically added to patient’s chart and carry forward to the next encounter.
Seamless migration of exercises and data from previous encounters that enables convenient charting of patient’s progress, which helps identify most and least effective exercises and aids in next-step decisions.
Tracking of long- and short-term goals.
3. Patient Eligibility Verification
Let's suppose your practice has 25 appointments tomorrow. How great would it be if every patient's insurance eligibility could be automatically verified before you arrive at the office in the morning? With a software's integrated clearinghouse, it’s that fast and simple. And with real-time insurance eligibility by batch, the savings in time and resources is immeasurable and invaluable.
Also, because verification results are available first thing, you have a better chance to address and possibly resolve patient's insurance eligibility issues before their scheduled appointments.
4. Electronic Remittance
ERAs are automatically downloaded directly to your software's claims queue every 24 hours. If the list of total active claims seems unwieldy, it can be filtered to include, for example, rejected claims only. Then just click on each individual claim, learn the reason for the rejection, make necessary adjustments, and resubmit the claim. Centralizing this workflow within a single system makes for fast, efficient work.
5. Waterfall Billing
Any efficient software should include a waterfall billing system that first posts claims to primary payers, then automatically resubmits any balances to secondary payers. The process is as simple as selecting “all” (all of the patients appearing on the claims list) and “post payment” to trigger the automatic allocation of all claims – and the attachment of those claims to each respective patient file.
6. Billing Reports
Dozens of different reports - including Outstanding Balance, Payer Reports, and Procedure or Diagnosis utilizations, to name a few - can be conveniently stored and accessed from the software. From a wide array of options, you can select the tailored report that best serves your needs, whether financial or clinical.
7. Rapid Notes
Do you suffer from “note-bloat burnout?” Too many notes, too much computer time, not enough meaningful interaction with your patients, and too little time for yourself? Then consider software that allows you to chart patient notes in a fraction of your normal time. How?
The complete integration of Practice Management and EHR platforms means no more flipping between programs and no more duplicate data-entry.
Specialty-specific charting programs for physical, occupational, or speech therapy practices expedite the entire note-taking process.
Templates that allow for common conditions to be charted instantly, allowing you to add detailed notes instead of endlessly searching through drop-down menus.
8. Plans & Goals
Even the best treatment plans sometimes require adjustments. Maybe one exercise isn't working, so a new one is added to the program. Or maybe a new problem crops up for the patient, Whatever the case, your timely response can make a big difference in the patient's care. Specialized software provides a 360-view of your patients’ therapy treatment plans. This includes start dates, target dates, achievement dates, short- and long-term goals and interventions – and all can be graphed over time.
9. Telehealth Physical Therapy
Once an afterthought (at best) among the vast majority of PT practices, an American Physical Therapy Association survey indicates the popularity of telehealth among patients and practices spiked from pre-pandemic levels of 2% to almost 50% just a few months later – and is likely well beyond that 50% threshold today. Though triggered by the pandemic, many expect telehealth to be a new normal in physical therapy going forward. Advanced physical therapy software is already facilitating this game-changing telehealth transition with its Exercise Library, Exercise Flowsheets, and online scheduling and billing through the Patient Portal.
10. A Fully Integrated Patient Portal
The convenience of fully integrated portals to patients is rivaled only by its enormous time- and cost-saving value to practices. The full integration of your practice management and EMR software makes the transmission of data between patient, provider, and office staff simple and seamless.
In addition to facilitating improved patient care, instant patient-access to personal health records, and provider workflow efficiencies, other user-friendly portal benefits include:
Secure communication: Patients should be able to contact providers and practices between appointments without prolonged waits on hold – and without tying up the office with long phone calls.
Forms & documents: Patients can digitally access, complete and electronically sign pre-appointment forms and documents in the comfort of their home (thus avoiding dreaded in-office, form-filling marathons for patients – and time-consuming data-reentry for staff).
Appointments: Scheduling (in-office and telehealth), reminders, and referrals can all be arranged and/or delivered to patients through the portal.
e-Prescriptions: Requests can be made by patients, then submitted to pharmacists by providers.
Billing: Patients can view their balance and make online payments. With PCI security compliance, credit card information can be saved and later accessed for future one-time payments, recurring payments, automated payments, and payment plans.
The Right EHR Makes All The Difference
As an industry leader, InSync Healthcare Solutions prides itself as a software solution tailored specifically for physical therapy providers, practices, and patients.
InSync’s configurable and interoperable software maximizes workflow efficiencies by fully integrating Practice Management and EHR platforms within a single system. In other words, everything your practice needs – customized resources and clinical reports, billing and scheduling features, telehealth functionality, tracking and charting capabilities, and patient-portal access – is all on one screen. See our EHR configured for Physical Therapists in this brief demonstration video below.
Watch The Physical Therapy EMR Snapshot
See These Software Features In A Demo
If you're not an InSync Healthcare Solutions software user but would like a closer look at how these physical therapy features can streamline work in your practice, please click below to schedule a customized demo. Our experts will answer all of your questions and demonstrate any functionalities you'd like to see.