Don’t slip up

Winter; a season of ice and snow, of frozen pavements and frost covered windscreens. For health professionals such as physiotherapists and chiropractors that ice and snow can also bring its share of broken and sprained limbs adding to an already busy workload.

This year, while some parts of the UK have already started to receive their share of winter weather, others are very much still in late autumn mode. For them, mud and leaves are the hazards, no less dangerous but perhaps more easily avoidable.

In 2020 of course there is one additional factor impacting on health professionals: Covid. It is still relatively early in the ski season but already the indications are that thanks to Covid restrictions far fewer people will be taking ski holidays this year. For example, at the time of writing, whilst France is allowing cross country skiing, ski lifts have been closed. And then there are pre-and post travel isolation requirements to take into account. As a consequence of these and other Covid measures there may be a reduction in demand for post ski-injury physiotherapy.

Not that that’s any reason to be complacent. With operations having been delayed thanks to Covid, there is an additional requirement for ongoing remedial treatment for numbers of individuals. When you also factor in the additional physiotherapy and rehabilitation needs of post Covid patients, particularly if they are suffering from long Covid, any reduction in ski injuries is more than offset by this additional demand.

This then is not the time for complacency. When heavy workloads impact already busy practices it can be all too easy for slipups to occur. Even in the most professional of practices errors can happen. And even if those errors are something as simple as a misfiled patient record, the time taken to rectify the problem is something which health practices can ill afford. This is where technology can help both to improve accuracy and relieve administrative burdens. Even something as simple as electronic filing of patient records can help to reduce the chance of those records becoming misplaced; thereby aiding in the efficiency of the health practice. Equally importantly, retrieving electronically file records can be far quicker than searching through storage racks, saving time and thereby helping patient flow to run just that bit more smoothly.

On the basis that ‘every little helps’, practices may also want to explore other electronic solutions such as the availability of online appointment booking combined with electronic reminders via SMS text or email. Not only can online booking help to reduce administration time, appointment reminders help to reduce no-shows. In turn this enables health practices to optimise treatment times without taking on additional administrative burdens.

It may be season of ice and snow but for health practices it is also the season of hard work and crowded diaries. If electronic solutions can help to reduce the chance of slipups then that can only benefit the practice as a whole, its practitioners, and its current and future patients.