A step-by-step guide for chiropractors and office administrators to get your practice paperless.
Banks are doing it. So are utility companies, school systems and hundreds of thousands of businesses across the globe. “Going paperless” is a common goal for chiropractors too, and for so many reasons. As if eliminating all those abundant piles of paper wasn’t enough, a paperless office will lead to reduced expenses (paper and storage), higher efficiency, and a smaller carbon footprint.
But how do you get started? For chiropractors and office administrators, we know the task of transitioning to a paperless practice might seem overwhelming. That’s why we’ve broken it down for you. Check out our chiropractor’s ultimate guide to going paperless.
Invest in the right software
Keeping in mind that all software is not created equal, the first step in going paperless is to invest in the right practice management (PM) and electronic health record (EHR) software. Notice we said, the right software. There are plenty of options out there that might sound like the perfect solution, but the wrong software can also create more complications and plenty of headaches. This might include programs that are counter-intuitive for users, complicated interfaces, or exposure to identity theft and hacking.
Choose software that simplifies tasks like note-taking and record management. Look for an all-encompassing design that also ensures peace of mind from identity theft with secure Private Health Information (PHI) and HIPAA compliant records. In addition, keep in mind that if you’re still handling your own billing process (and all the stress that comes with it), some outside billing services, like ACOM Health, will provide the software at no cost.
Simplify patient registration
You know the drill: a new patient walks in and you hand them a stack of forms to fill out and sign, probably with a clipboard and a pen. And so the paper process begins. With practice management software (PM), you can enjoy the paperless process from day one. As soon as a new patient calls to make an appointment, your staff will use your PM to schedule it and create a record. With this seemingly simple step, your patient registration process is not only streamlined, it immediately increases efficiency.
Patients can then make their appointments online. If that sounds scary, remember that most of your patients are already scheduling their own appointments with other doctors and businesses, so it’s not new to them. Also, they more than likely prefer it. As long as your online scheduling is properly integrated with your PM software, your patient’s data will be directly linked to your database, thus eliminating cumbersome – and redundant – data entry for your staff.
Modernize your practice
If your patients are still signing in by old-fashioned pen and paper when they walk in, replace it with a check-in kiosk on an electronic device. Of course you need to make sure your system is integrated with your PM software and HIPAA compliant. When your patient signs in at the kiosk, it will also conveniently change the status of the patient’s appointment on every computer or tablet linked to the system. In addition, mobile software can instantly access the patient’s record in your software system with health histories, electronic registration, and authorization forms.
Other standard check-in tasks, like signing forms and taking a picture, can be completed by the patient electronically without staff having to perform data entry. Once their insurance card has been scanned and the tablet is returned to the desk, the only next step is for the appointment to begin.
Improve chart notes
When it comes to replacing all those paper charts, it all comes down to using an EHR system in your office. All that electronically-entered data by the patient will be immediately viewable in your EHR system, which establishes a foundation for the clinical record of your treatment.
Using a computer or tablet in your treatment room will give you access to numerous diagnostic applications, not to mention any graphics and videos you might need to educate, treat and advise your patients. And even better, you’ll be able to send changes and instructions to the front desk, eliminating buck slips and encounter forms.
Use cloud-based services
Once your office’s patient records and data are electronic, you need to think about the best ways to store and secure them. Chiropractic offices that simply rely on in-house servers know that in case of emergency, data takes much longer to restore – or can be lost forever. Fortunately, there is a safer and smarter alternative: cloud-based services. This option is beneficial for a number of reasons, and best of all, it provides peace of mind.
If you employ a chiropractic software server host, it will transfer your current software and data to a web server located in a remote data center. A secondary redundant server that runs parallel to your system will also be maintained. This is crucial, because if the primary server stops functioning, the redundant server will automatically go live.
In addition, if your information is being managed by a software provider and stored in a data center, it will be protected from viruses. You’ll never have to worry about Windows updates, backing up data, upgrading IT equipment, updating operating systems or scheduling server maintenance. Cloud-based services not only keep your data secure, they complete your transition from a buried-in-paperwork chiropractic office to a paperless one.
Is Your Chiropractic Office Going Paperless?
Are you pondering the idea of going paperless in your chiropractic office? Or have you already accomplished the transition? We’d love to know if you have any advice or tips to share. Please leave your comments below. And if you’d like to know more about ACOM Health Billing Services (that includes certified EHR and Practice Management chiropractic software at no cost), contact us at (866) 286-5315. We’d be happy to tell you more.