Physical Therapy Software Systems and EMRs

A very important role of any physical therapy assistant is record keeping. And with move towards electronic medical records, there’s a whole new dimension in the way in which health care documentation is being managed in the digital age by physical therapy software.

In the old days, healthcare records were paper based, and usually located in the office of a medical facility or treatment center. Accessing these records could be time-consuming and difficult, especially if information was required off the premises. Physicians and therapists relied on the organizational skills of their staff to be able retrieve essential documentation and keep it up-to-date.

Electronic medical records (EMR) have the potential to change all that – especially with systems that are “cloud-based”. Essentially, this means that records are stored on a server that can be accessed from any location by an authorized user, so that information is not only available in the office, but also when doctors or therapists are on the go – making house calls, visiting clinics, or anywhere else that takes them away from their practice base. It also facilitates the sharing of information between specialist health care providers where required.

One of the tenets of good record-keeping and database management is that information should only be entered once in a central location where it can be kept current. One of the advantages of cloud-based EMR records is that the data is immediately updated to all users and devices. This not only makes therapists’ work quicker, but also reduces the potential for error.

Portability of EMRs

Physical Therapy Software Systems and EMRs

Now, physical therapy software systems are becoming available that allow practitioners to interact with records via a portable device such as an iPad or a laptop. There systems offer physical therapy professionals great flexibility in the efficient management of their practice and a choice of operating systems that suit their overall information architecture, such as Microsoft Windows or the Apple iOS. All that’s required is internet access.

The ability to integrate EMRs with management software that handles administrative functions such as appointment scheduling, billing and coding makes for simpler, more cost-effective practice management. Yet a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle suggests that only about one in ten medical practices benefits from a fully implemented physical therapy documentation system.

As EMRs becomes the norm in healthcare and providers realize the advantages of physical therapy software for practice management, we can expect to see more and more physical therapists convert to a similar cloud-based model.

Health Games for Physical Therapy Assistants

A novel concept for physical therapy assistants is the role that health games can play in both preventative and palliative care. Since physical therapy has an important job to do in helping people maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, as well as assisting in the management of chronic pain conditions, a great deal of research time and funds are invested in innovative ways to render treatment delivery more effective and efficient.

Games and play have of course been an integral part of health education for a long time, especially where children are concerned. But the development of technology in the realm of digital gaming opens a whole new set of possibilities in healthcare. Since adults as well as children may spend many leisure hours playing digital games, this represents a golden opportunity to leverage their enthusiasm in the service of greater well-being and healthy development.

Health Games for Physical Therapy Assistants

Traditionally, parents have been advised to limit the number of hours that their children spend in front of the computer playing online games — in part because it’s a pursuit that restricts their opportunities for physical activity. Reports have suggested that children today are less healthy than previous generations, and conditions such as childhood obesity and diabetes are a nationwide problem. Some experts also maintain that there’s a connection between poor health in childhood and a lack of academic achievement. So it’s encouraging to discover that the influence of digital games is not all bad, and that in fact they can help reinforce the acquisition of important skills and knowledge.

How Might Physical Therapy Assistants Use Health Games?

Physical therapy assistants may be able to tap into this trend to find tools that will help patients of all ages to follow the course of treatment that a physical therapist has prescribed for them. A new peer reviewed publication, Games for Health Journal, from Mary Ann Liebert Inc. publishers, provides a forum and discussion articles for a wide range of professionals associated with health care in many different ways, from academic researchers and IT specialists, to physical therapists, physicians, and those working in the medical insurance industry.

Many different applications of health games are discussed and the role they can play in the prevention as well as the management of diseases and conditions, such as weight management and nutrition, post-traumatic stress disorder, diabetes monitoring, Alzheimer’s disease, and a whole range of emotional and mental health issues.

As well as improving the health and well-being of the population at large through games, another advantage will be to reduce the cost of care, especially for those who take an active role in managing their own health. Physical therapy assistants may well be able to look forward to the day when the gamification of physical therapy treatments is standard practice!

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