Why we use templates
Then vs. Now
Think about how you first practiced medicine. How long was your first clinic appointment? How much time did you spend writing your first medical SOAP note? You are probably a very different provider now. You are able to provide far more care in a much shorter time. How did you do this? You refined, refined, and refined some more. Now you have certain tasks down to a science. You make quick work of the small tasks and simple problems. If you’re like most providers, you have used SOAP note templates to become more efficient. Let’s explore some of the concepts that make providers efficient and how using templates contributes to that efficiency.
Efficiency as a concept
How do you do more with less? It is important to first define what “more” is. For medical providers, “more” means more time spent with patients, more patients cared for, and more effective care. Medical providers typically achieve “more” by minimizing redundant tasks and eliminating tasks that do not contribute to patient care.
The degree to which a process can make a task more efficient is dependent on two things: the investment in developing that process and the extent to which it can be implemented. Processes that take little time to develop and are implemented broadly have the maximum amount of impact. Processes that take extensive time and effort to develop, but can only be minimally utilized have a lesser impact. Building online SOAP note templates take relatively little time to develop and can be implemented broadly. This makes them an effective tool for improving efficiency.
Many times, you find yourself able to evaluate and treat a patient without the help of a medical reference. You are able to do this because of your training, experience, or personal study. If you have done it before you are likely to do it again. Online medical templates allow for the documentation of problems you handle over and over. The more you see a problem, the more helpful a template will be.
What about problems you don’t see very often? Is the investment in developing a template worth it? Fortunately, SOAPassist has made that investment for you. We have developed many curated templates that reflect how many providers practice medicine. These templates can adapt to the individual provider’s practice patterns. This minimizes the investment on the provider’s part.
Think about the first medical note you wrote. How much of it was an unnecessary text that did not contribute to communication with other providers or the billing process? Since that note, your notes have become more to the point and more complete. You have likely implemented templates as a part of this process. Using templates allows you to create a structure for everything that is important. When it comes time to document, your notes will be even more focused.
Typing and dictation fall short
The era of paper charts, despite certain limitations, allowed for fast documentation. Now that electronic medical records have become an industry standard, we are forced to type or dictate. Typing can be faster than writing, but it’s limited by our inability to draw, circle, or backslash our way through a note.
Dictating SOAP medical documentation can be faster than typing, but it is more prone to error and faces many of the same limitations that typing faces. What if we could write a note by deleting it? Think about it. How long does it take for you to type a paragraph? How long does it take you to delete a paragraph? SOAPassist has designed curated templates that contain most of the text you’ll need for many of your patient encounters. The majority of effort comes from deleting irrelevant text, a process that is much faster than typing or dictating a note de novo.
Templates are also useful tools for providing reminders throughout a patient encounter. If there is something you consistently forget to ask or do, a template can provide you with a reminder. SOAPassist curated templates have some of these reminders, but more can be added according to a provider’s preference.
Handouts handouts handouts. We understand that time spent educating a patient can go to waste if the patient doesn’t remember what was discussed. Providing handouts is a great way to educate patients as they can reference them again and again. Putting patient education in templates has the added benefit of documenting exactly what was communicated to the patient. The next time the patient is seen or evaluate, the provider will have a record of how the patient was educated.