Once you have had the pleasure of working with automated SOAP notes, you know the benefits of software that automates patient care. In all cases, patient notes are only a portion of the paperwork in a chiropractic office. In addition to SOAP notes, it is now possible. Each program eliminates the need for paperwork, but the main concern when finding the right software combination is that all the different programs are fully integrated and compatible with each other. Integration is the crucial element that allows patient information to flow freely between programs allowing for quick and accurate data sharing that saves time, effort, and money.
When billing insurance, both the doctor’s notes and the bill for services rendered must correlate. In fact, Medicare requires that your progress notes document and match your billing, and in any case in which they do not, Medicare can fine you up to $10,000 for each progress note and bill that does not match. The software you utilize should be checking to make sure that your office notes and insurance bills always match. You should not have to waste time comparing your notes and HCFA forms. A fully integrated suite of software programs issues a warning notice anytime a dis-crepancy occurs. With integrated software checking for differences, thousands of dollars are saved by keeping billing and progress notes in unison.
Integrated software allows patient information to automatically flow from the doctor to the billing office to the receptionist, eliminating duplication of effort from having to reenter information many times. Such information includes diagnosis, treatment plan, transactions, and personal information that could take hours to recreate. In integrated software, this crucial data is entered only once and is shared automatically by the programs with no additional human effort whatsoever. Therefore, you and your staff save an abundance of time and are able to concentrate more on patient care, recalls, and collections.
Integration goes a step further when a Pocket PC, a hand held computer, is involved. Technology has reached the point where a Pocket PC is connected over a wireless network, and the information is updated on all your computers as soon as you file and save your SOAP note entry. Immediately, your front desk has the information needed to schedule an appointment and enter the visit charges, your billing office knows what to send to the insurance, and your clinical findings are part of the patient’s permanent record. This technology gives the doctor complete freedom of movement while treating patients and entering notes. The Pocket PC allows the doctor to have one hand-held computer that he carries with him, which eliminates the need for a desktop computer in every room. The doctor is also able to carry the Pocket PC wherever he goes outside the office and, upon return, all the new entries automatically synchronize with the main office computer. Pocket PC technology revolutionizes your practice on so many levels that it will be discussed in greater detail in future articles in this series.
Integration of the software is achieved using a computer network that is set up within your office. It is critical that you have software that is compatible with your network. For wireless connections to work, both your computer and the Pocket PC must have the proper wireless equipment installed. A “hard wired” network means that you have wires connecting all the desktop computers in your office, and you have a wire connecting your computer to a docking station for the Pocket PC, so it can synchronize with your main computer. In order for software integration to be complete, it is necessary for all the software programs to come from one company. This avoids conflicts between the programs, databases, and development from different companies.
Once set up with fully integrated software, you will immediately notice a simplified, more efficient routine in your office. You will rapidly process insurance, schedule appointments, produce narratives, and reduce paperwork. This increases the time that you and your staff will spend on patient care, recalls, collections and expanding your practice. As a result, you are likely to have more time to do the fun things in life with your friends and family, and you are likely to have more money to do it with. TAC
Dr. Paul Bindell is a 1975 Palmer graduate, in practice in Rockaway, NJ, since 1976. In 1991, he began Life Systems so that the profession would have reliable computer programs based on chiropractic practice. Dr. Bindell can be reached by email at [email protected].