August 17, 2022 | Net Health

3 min read

Physical Therapist Burnout Is Real. What Role Does Documentation Play?

Documentation contributes significantly to PT burnout. Learn how one clinic owner used his EMR to significantly reduce his documentation time.

Demand for physical therapy is high. So is physical therapist burnout.

Though research on the topic is limited, one study put the prevalence of burnout within the physical therapy profession between 45% and 71%.1 This is a wide gap, though even the low end of this range may still be uncomfortably high for those in or entering the PT profession.

So, what’s causing this burnout? The answer is far too complex to fully address here, but one contributor, as mentioned above, is good ol’ fashioned demand.

According to a 2019 estimate by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), there simply aren’t enough PTs in the U.S. Despite more than 10,000 new students graduating with DPT degrees annually, the APTA guesses around 26,000 PT jobs will remain unfilled by 2025.2

This leaves a do-more-with-less scenario for both current and future physical therapists – certainly not an ideal setting, but one that’s created a population of physical therapists hungry for innovative solutions that make work life easier, more efficient, and which promote greater personal, professional and bottom-line success.

One of these solutions – the streamlining of documentation – was recently featured in our case study titled, “6-Minute Patient Evals the Norm at Physical Therapy Clinic Thanks to Net Health Innovations.”

Case Study

6-Minute Patient Evals the Norm at This Physical Therapy Clinic

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The Problem with Physical Therapy Documentation

According to one recent survey about burnout among healthcare professionals, 57% cited excessive physical therapy documentation is a leading cause.3

Another study of clinicians found that for every extra hour (on average) worked each week, or for every hour spent working on patient documentation at home, one’s odds of experiencing employee burnout increased by 2%.4

Based on this and other research, it’s safe to say that patient documentation isn’t high on the list of your favorite tasks as a physical therapist.

It doesn’t fit within the “why” behind your choice of profession, and it takes time away from other aspects of your personal and professional life which you find more fulfilling – things like one-on-one care, positive patient outcomes, professional development, family, friends, personal hobbies, and so on.

Streamlining Documentation with Smarter Physical Therapy Software

This is why as part of the evolution of our Net Health® Therapy for Clinics EMR software, we perfected features, tools, intelligent automation and customizations that enable rehab therapists to streamline the process of patient documentation.

From customizable templates and text shortcuts to automated guardrails and alerts that help you stay compliant and profitable, we strive to ensure clinicians who use our rehab therapy software can spend more time with patients and less time documenting their journeys.

For one private practice physical therapy clinic owner, who we featured in our case study, the customizable templates and shortcut features enabled him and his staff to reduce patient evals to 6 minutes … even less, in some cases!

To learn more about Net Health Therapy for Clinics, including how its features can help you and your clinic vastly reduce patient documentation time (and help reduce clinician burnout), schedule time with an expert.

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