Top 5 Tech Tools for Tracking Compliance (of all kinds)
By Katie Schmitt, PT, DPT
Compliance can be a scary word.
Compliance for health care means following rules and regulations in order to be compliant with Medicare, HIPAA, and the Office of the Inspector General. For patients, compliance means following their home exercise program (HEP) and being diligent in order to get better. From the perspective of a private practice physical therapy owner, being compliant means not just taking care of business, but taking care of yourself as well.
How do you stay on top of everything? Make the most of technology. Here are five great tech tools to help your business, your patients, and you thrive with all things compliance related.
Compliance and Health Care Documentation
Having an electronic medical record (EMR) is important for any private practice physical therapy office. Not only do you need to have a system to keep things straight, but also it is within our practice act to document medical necessity, evaluations, plans of care, quantifiable change, and discharges. On top of all that, there is the aspect of billing, choosing ICD 10 codes, choosing CPT codes, and getting primary care practitioners to sign off on a plan of care.
WebPT is a favorite EMR to keep your business running smoothly. Not only do they have a very user-friendly SOAP (subjective, objective, assessment, and plan) note system, they also have therapy cap tracking, 8-minute rule calculations, follow Medicare regulations, and are fully HIPAA compliant.
Compliance training can be droll. Let’s face it, learning about keeping boxes 18 inches from the ceiling and reviewing how to use a fire extinguisher yearly is not as exciting as helping someone achieve enhanced range of motion in their new knee. With MedBridge, you can easily assign training videos that range from OSHA requirements to corporate compliance. If you have a particularly competitive staff, you can then turn it into a game to see who can keep up with newly learned tasks the fastest, and they can win an extra long lunch or another fun motivation-building prize.
Keeping patients on track with their home exercise program is an important part of what we do. We may see someone for two hours a week in our outpatient physical therapy office, so what they do at home is key to their success. Using tech tools to enhance HEP compliance is a fun way to track progress.
FitBit has been favored by walkers, runners, and athletes. This little tool is also being studied for effectiveness with patients post stroke and for patients with Parkinson’s disease and other chronic conditions. FitBit is easy to wear, comes in many styles, and is easy for your patients to upload. A great project for a student shadowing in your clinic would be to run a class for patients to educate them on how to make the most of their FitBit.
Strava is my personal favorite tech tool for tracking compliance. Not only can Strava be used to track your patients’ progress and your own riding, running, yoga, strength training or personal workout, but you also get to join a community and see what your friends are up to as well. Watching others be successful at their goals helps me be inspired with mine. Strava also offers badges and trophies to keep folks across the world motivated to bring out their inner athlete.
Using either of these tech tools for HEP compliance, you can discuss your patients’ adherence to their program, going over the data together to see how much they did, when they did it, and how things have changed over time.
Compliance with Self-Care
As the owner of a private practice physical therapy office, chances are good that you are type A. You like to use every minute of your time to make your patients, your team, and your business better. Do not forget about yourself. Having an app like Headspace means you are being compliant with taking a few minutes of each day to take care of yourself. Headspace is a meditation app that is more than a timer. It has all sorts of tools for sleep, for nutrition, and to foster meditation and mindfulness whether you are at work, at home, or on the go.
Thanks to all the tech tools mentioned here for compliance with Medicare, HIPAA, and HEPs, you can take some time to be compliant with caring for you, too.
Streamlining Compliance with Tech Tools
We hope that these tools will help you be more confident with all different aspects of compliance. We would love to hear what works for you! How do you stay on top of the 8-minute rule or foster success with technology?
Katie Schmitt, PT, DPT, is a graduate of Columbia University Medical Center, working in Charleston, South Carolina, at Fox Rehabilitation, MUSC, and in private practice at the Charleston Squash Club. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.