The ‘why’ behind what I do is to provide the best care possible for our patients. Just because we live in a rural area doesn’t mean that our patients deserve any less.”Leigh Langerwerf, PT, DPT
Like all private practice physical therapy clinic owners, Leigh Langerwerf, PT, DPT, is obsessed with efficiency, especially when it comes to medical records documentation.
The founder and owner of Butte Premier Physical Therapy in Chico, CA, which opened in 2007, Langerwerf sees such efficiencies as his ticket to not only provide top-notch patient care within his rural community, but to also maintain a healthy work-life balance that allows him and his staff to pursue other personal and professional passions.
For Langerwerf specifically, one of these passions is promoting educational and growth opportunities for the next generation of physical therapists.
Over the years, he has made an intentional effort to grow Butte Premier Physical Therapy into a leading teaching clinic for students working toward their DPT degrees, providing them with hands-on learning opportunities during the final years of their education.
One day, in fact, Langerwerf hopes to pursue teaching himself. He also has plans to start a nonprofit orthopedic residency program in Northern California to help area clinics better recruit young talent.
“The ‘why’ behind what I do is to provide the best care possible for our patients,” Langerwerf said. “Just because we live in a rural area doesn’t mean that our patients deserve any less. And, being efficient in how we do things, especially in our documentation, allows us to focus more on our patients – and for our interns, on gaining hands-on experience – while maintaining a good work-life balance.”
The two biggest things I would say that have changed things completely since we became web-based is the templates and text replacement.”Leigh Langerwerf, PT, DPT
In an effort to optimize productivity, Langerwerf has long utilized Net Health Therapy for Clinics – formerly Casamba – as his practice’s EMR.
More specifically, he and his team have made full use of several features, enhancements and tools that, through the years, were created and added to Net Health Therapy for Clinics to specifically make documentation considerably quicker and more seamless for rehab therapists.
These features and tools include:
- Customizable, specialized documentation workflows and templates
- Clinical knowledgebase with searchable library of documentation phrases Langerwerf and his clinicians can add to notes with just a single click
- History import, allowing Butte Premier clinicians to view and import previous documentation into current notes
- Customizable text shortcuts that enable clinicians to insert commonly used phrases and paragraphs by typing just a few letters
- Documentation guardrails and alerts for such things as “stale” documentation and incorrect patient information
Applications designed to seamlessly integrate with Net Health Therapy for Clinics also helps boost efficiencies at Butte Premier Physical Therapy. Tools such as Kno2, an e-faxing and direct messaging app, makes it possible to complete referral management paperwork and communications in seconds, not minutes, Langerwerf said.
“The two biggest things I would say that have changed things completely since we became web-based is the templates and text replacement,” he added. “The templates have become so much more refined that I can now make them for the entire corporation. My interns can use them and everything. And with the replacement text, when I can just type ‘@mailmod,’ and it pulls up an entire paragraph in my assessment with all the complexity sentences and everything else … I mean, that’s phenomenal.”
Making full use of templates, text replacement features and so on has enabled Butte Premier Physical Therapy clinicians to reduce documentation time down to 6 minutes for evaluations … and that’s on the higher end of the spectrum, Langerwerf said.
“Per eval, it’s probably taking about 50% less time to complete when we utilize all the automations that are available with [Net Health Therapy for Clinics],” he said. “It’s been working so well for so long, I don’t even know that I could remember what it was like before we had templates.”
In addition, the ability to create templates that are customized based on how he works, how he prefers to document and how he treats patients has allowed Langerwerf to establish uniformity throughout his practice, even as interns and practitioners come and go.
“Every therapist working here has been a student or an intern of mine before, and they’ve been able to quickly learn and adopt the way I do things,” he said. “They think it’s efficient, and so they do it the same way based on the templates and workflows I’ve been able to create.”
And, by using Kno2, which eliminates the need for high volumes of printing, copying and faxing, Langerwerf estimates his office saves about 10 hours of labor per week.
“The product is great,” Langerwerf said. “It makes my life easier, it makes things more efficient, and we’re not even at the end, yet. [Net Health is] constantly looking to improve things and build things to make it even more efficient. They’re not happy with the status quo. They want to keep pushing it.”
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