Imagine one day, you went to an orthopedic physician with a problem. You list out your concerns and difficulties and as routine, the physician gets to the assessment. Except this time, he/she doesn’t write down a single note during assessment, reaches a diagnosis, quickly presents a treatment plan and thanks you for your time. Would that make you slightly uncomfortable and/or less reassured? Most patients would and this right here, is our basic acknowledgement of proper documentation.
So why do we need documentation in healthcare and by extension, the orthopedic industry? While most reasons are quite obvious, we may need to go a little in depth to understand the rest.
Most orthopedics don’t have a photographic memory, obviously. But that’s just a ridiculous reason one puts to increase their essay length when their word limit is far away! However, documentation does solve a myriad of problems. Effective documentation can help reach an accurate diagnosis, closely monitor treatment progress and consequently, improve safety and quality care, reducing medical errors by up to 27%!
While documentation is a legal requirement in most orthopedic cases, effective documentation is where the quality of care is determined, something 89% of orthopedic surgeons agreed with. From storing patient’s demographics, medical history and present status, documentation enables physicians to make informed decisions, reportedly improving treatment outcomes and patient satisfaction by up to 34%!
But here’s another aspect less talked about – ingenious documentation. Documentation empowers orthopedics, yes. But it could also do a lot more. When Electronic Health Records (EHRs) were studied for document cases, orthos reported a 20% decrease in paperwork-related errors and a 25% increase in work-efficiency! Positive observations like these verify that integrating algorithms and machine learning models help point out changes in symptoms, treatment progress and even suggest the next course of action!
However, everything we’ve discussed is from the orthos’ perspective. What about the patient trust and adherence? Turns out, documentation only favors adherence. By keeping patients in loop with timely, accurate reports builds a patient-physician trust and helps them recover smoothly and according to a set timeline. It also allows them to ask more questions and make relevant decisions, giving them some sense of control.
Despite the basic understanding of the pros of documentation, the reality is that most center’s don’t use effective documentation techniques. This underutilization of resources is a big hindrance in patient care and lowers treatment accuracy. One interesting solution would be using “smart equipment” i.e., devices that not only assists physicians in their assessments but also makes documentation simpler for both sides.
Eliminating documentation lapses and outdated methods is the way forward for transforming orthopedic care and empowering patients, something center’s must keep in mind. Because whether the industry would like to invest into it or not, documentation forms the base of quality treatment.
So one might as well do it effectively and right!
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