Streamlining Your Practice: A Speech Therapy Software Buying Guide
- By Renato Parletta
- September 29, 2021
Did you know that there were over 160,000 speech-language pathologist jobs in 2019? Over the next decade, that number is expected to increase by 25%. Professional therapy jobs are in high demand with great outlooks for job opportunities in the years to come.
An efficient speech therapy software is essential to balancing patient caseloads and good productivity. With increased cuts to therapists from changes in legislature, being productive and efficient during your day is becoming more and more of a necessity.
Rehab directors and managers have to determine what creates a smooth working environment in the chaotic world of health care.
What Is Speech Therapy Software?
Speech therapy software is essentially where you keep electronic documentation, billing, and records. Why is it essential?
Technically – you don’t need electronic medical records (EMR). You can still get by nowadays with paper documentation, but it is quickly becoming an ancient tool in the health care industry.
As a speech therapist, it is important that you have as much patient interaction as possible. Incorporating a cloud-based electronic record system helps to increase your direct patient care time.
Some of the best speech therapy software systems will include medical billing software, NDIS CRM software, and custom forms, to name a few. This software is designed to put all of your management tasks, documents, and billing into one area.
You’ll be able to track anything from contractor costs to KPI reports. As a manager or rehab director, this will help you balance costs and staff productivity more efficiently. You’ll have one place that has everything versus multiple documents and systems that you have to constantly work between.
Many of these software programs offer an initial free trial. This lets you test out the software with your company before fully diving in.
Why Are Electronic Records Necessary?
Transitioning to electronic records isn’t absolutely necessary. But – it is extremely beneficial for you and your company.
Electronic records in the health care system are broken down into two parts. Electronic medical records include the patient’s medical history, diagnosis, and treatment plan.
Additionally, electronic health records (EHR) provide a bit more in-depth view of what is actually going on with the patient. It provides updated patient records, charting, and recent test or lab results. An EHR is something that is usually passed between providers as necessary.
The benefit of having a health record documented electronically is that other providers have the capability of seeing it almost immediately.
Do Speech Therapists Require It?
As a speech therapist or other members of the health care team, you will benefit from transitioning to an electronic record system.
Speech therapy documentation software can easily allow you to input your daily patient treatments, evaluations, and any other notable tests. In a hospital setting, speech therapists often help with mobile swallow studies. The results of these tests are vital to helping the therapist view how the patient is swallowing.
From there, they can make an accurate determination to food textures that the patient can start with. If a patient is silently aspirating water, they won’t know for sure until a study is done.
These tests are very important for patients and therapists alike to determine the next step in the plan of care.
Quite often, a patient will get transferred out of the facility they were at and to a lower, or different, level of care. What happens to these records?
If the speech therapist is working with an electronic record system, then he or she has documented the findings of the test, uploaded the results, and written a plan of care.
This automatically gets transferred to the following clinic where the speech therapist can have access to it. This helps tremendously with continuity of care.
Speech-language pathologists have the tedious work of doing paperwork. This is a common theme in the health department, across many platforms.
Documentation helps health care workers and therapists for a couple of important reasons. Most notably, if it wasn’t documented it didn’t happen. No one can know for certain what was done in your daily patient care if you didn’t document it.
Why is this important?
There is a reason why many employers in the health industry provide malpractice insurance. It is to cover you, as an employee, against any claims against you.
What can help save you? Thorough and quality documentation.
However, quite often therapists are struggling between maintaining a patient caseload and documenting. Speech therapists are required to document evaluations, daily encounter notes, and progress reports.
Additionally, therapists are required to bill for their services (if qualified). This is just another step that takes time out of your day.
What About Teletherapy?
Telehealth has become more popular since COVID-19. Teletherapy is a form of telemedicine that focuses on therapists providing services remotely. This can help therapy teams reduce office costs, increase caseloads, and eliminate commuting.
Obviously, not all therapists can participate in this type of system, but it is a great example of a tool that is becoming more popular. If you are running a telehealth business, it becomes even more important to have streamlined documentation and an accurate billing system in place for your remote workers.
You want to be able to stay connected and observe how treatment plans are going. For this, you want speech therapy software that is secured and encrypted. You need to trust that your documentation and records are backed up on a consistent basis.
What Is the Best Software?
The best speech therapy software is one that will provide you with quality performance and user-friendly features. You want something that has everything you need in one place and is secure.
With so many options out there, how do you know what to pick from?
Look no further. Check out this free 14-day trial from a quality provider in the medical software industry. You won’t be disappointed and soon you’ll be on your way to a smoother workday where you spend less time worrying about inputting records and more time focused on patients.