In today’s highly technological day and age, you’ll find it is not nearly as necessary as it once was to keep a whole bunch of paper files in your office. If you’re a therapist who enjoys hitting the road, visiting offices and client homes, lugging around paper files can be cumbersome – especially if your schedule is likely to change and you may add or delete appointments throughout the day. If paper works for you, so be it, but here are some things you should keep in mind if you want to be high-tech about it.
Client Management Software or Scanned Documents
You may find that a hybrid of scanned documents and paper documents is best for you. The paper will serve your immediate needs – for new client intake forms and for making your session notes. You can then scan those documents into your virtual database – saved on your PC or even in an app like Evernote – something you can sync between your PC and your smartphone, making your documents accessible at the click of a button. This will make it easier for you to review old patient notes before an appointment without having to carry an entire file around.
Your other option is to carry a laptop with a client management software program installed. There are plenty of software programs available for massage therapists to use. You’ll need to compare a few to make sure they offer the features you need. If you simply want to keep session notes, you’ll want a program that allows for client information, charting, and notes. If you accept insurance, on the other hand, you may want to find a program that allows you to input coding and print claim forms as well.
Consistency is Key
Whatever you do, make sure the system you use is consistent from client to client. If you are ever called to court because of a claim or to testify about an injury as an expert, you’ll need to show consistent record keeping from start to finish. If your notes are sloppy, your credibility will be damaged and your testimony – whether in defense of your own actions or not – may be called into question.
You’ll need to have easy access to your files and notes for your own sanity. Most states don’t necessarily care how you keep your notes as long as you’re keeping them. The consistency in your method is all that really matters because it ensures all of your client sessions are properly documented for further references – be it legal, for treatment, or even at tax time.
Backing Up Your Files
No matter what you do, make sure you are backing up your files on a regular basis. If you keep paper files, make sure you have a photocopy. If you keep digital files, use a online backup service to ensure you have virtual copies in another location in case your computer crashes, becomes damaged, or is stolen. Without your files, your business could obviously suffer.
At the end of the day, choose the system that works for you. Just make sure you actually have a system to follow.