Keeping on track

Whether you are a physiotherapist or a hair specialist, an osteopath or a dentist; it’s a fair bet that you chose your profession because you wanted to help people. It is also a fair bet that the matter of paperwork and records wasn’t really a factor which came to the fore when you were deciding on your chosen profession.

But no-matter what the profession nowadays it seems as though movements are circumscribed by reams and reams of paperwork. And unless something is done to rein this in, the volume of paper can not only seriously interfere with patient treatment times, it can also detract from the provision of effective treatments.

In an era in which every patient and every treatment comes with a paperwork trail, it is little wonder that records can become lost or treatments delayed as records are transferred from one place to another.  Partly in an attempt to smooth out the pathway and partly to improve self-management of long term conditions the Richmond Community Neuro-Rehabilitation Team has trialled a patient-owned folder.  The folder not only contains important contact details, it also contains details of the patient’s condition and therapies which have been agreed upon.

Since the folder was trialled in 2012, the team has seen pick-up time for new patients improve by five days. In addition 92% of patients agreed that the folder helped their therapy as they were able to use it as a continuing reference point.  But even with initiatives such as the patient-owned folder there is still the hurdle of paperwork to overcome.

Moving away from a paper based system to electronic records can make a huge difference.  Paperwork safely stored in an electronic folder can be accessed at the touch of a button.  This not only saves the time taken in finding missing paperwork it also enables health professionals to quickly call up information when patients get in touch as well as facilitating the transfer of information between professionals. All of this not only helps to improve patient treatments, it also creates valuable additional time which can be spent on treating additional patients.

No more searching through filing cabinets, no more waiting for days for the post to arrive; electronic storage of patient records can make a huge difference to the daily practices of health professionals; bringing them back on track to the reason why they joined the profession in the first place – the treatment of patients.