Ways to Streamline Your Day as a Therapist
A common complaint with virtually every medical professional is a lack of time. A greater number of patients being scheduled results in a greater number of files that need to be updated, therapy plans to be created, and insurance matters to be dealt with. You probably spend more time on paperwork than with patients.
Taking notes during a session and then formatting them into the chart can be time consuming. Trying to update the chart at the end of the day with all of the other charts you have to do can be nearly impossible. There are many free data sheet resources available online. Digital solutions are often superior, if a tablet or smart phone is available. Google spreadsheets can be configured to track goals and notes per session, and then printed and put into a physical folder or stored in the patient’s electronic file. Some companies, like Talktrac, have made an effort to integrate their digital services across computer, tablet, and smart phone to make it easy for therapists to collect data with whatever device is available.
Choose the collection method that makes the most sense for your practice. If you have physical files for every patient, you may want something you can write on during a session and simply file at the end. Or if you prefer technology, choose a digital solution that will allow you to print your notes for your physical file. If your facility is transitioning to a paperless environment, taking physical notes is a waste of your time, and finding a good digital fit will save untold hours each week.
A new movement that is rapidly gaining popularity with individuals is minimalism. With this concept, people make sure that everything they own is functional and loved. As a speech therapist, this isn’t entirely practical, it is necessary to have a wide variety of tools at your disposal for the many different types of patients you will work with. However, you can make sure that you are only keeping those tools that you actually use, and that they are easily accessible.
The key to streamlining with organization is that you need to have a well established system and routine for preparation and cleaning up at the end of the day. The more automated your tasks are, the easier it will be to keep up with them. Consequently, the easier it will be to move through your day from patient to patient.
Did you know that if you have the latest version of Microsoft Office, you already have a powerful speech to text tool on your computer? Most people are able to speak far faster than they are able to type. Use this to your advantage and input your notes verbally. You are able to read along and make corrections as needed. If you aren’t able to save the file notes in word, you can copy and paste to the program you use.
If you don’t use Office, there are a number of free and commercially available software programs available, such as the many options available by Dragon. One that you can use with your phone as you are able to find a spare moment can help speed up your paperwork even more.
Streamlining your day comes down to preparation. It will take time to find the optimal note taking system, but once you have it in place it will greatly improve your efficiency. Organizing your therapy equipment, and possibly pairing down, may seem overwhelming at first, but once you have only what you truly need you won’t spend time searching through the things you don’t need. Finally, writing reports using voice to text can save all but the fastest typists time. Utilize these methods, and look for other ways to integrate automated routines into your schedule to shave time off of the mundane tasks so you are able to spend more quality time with your patients.