It seems that everyone is going paperless these days, and for good reason! Not only does not using paper help the environment and save your practice money, but there are plenty of other reasons that you should ditch the paper.
Reducing your use of paper will clear up a lot of clutter around the office, and dependent upon the types of programs and software that you choose to incorporate, you will be able to access your files and documents from home or even when you’re on vacation. Also, you won’t need to worry about your files being damaged, lost or even stolen, because everything will be digitally stored, free from the fear of spilled coffee, a new employee who files documents in the wrong place or a box that is lost during a move. Going paperless is definitely the way to go, leading to reaping the benefits of higher efficiency within your private practice. So, let’s explore a handful of ways to rid your office of stacks of paper and cluttered file cabinets!
1. Implement an EHR
The biggest step that a practice can take toward going paperless is to get started with an electronic health records software. And not only will an EHR cut back on the use of paper around the office, but it will organize your practice, as well, incorporating note taking, scheduling, a calendar and billing. Some software may also offer the options for the availability of digital patient consent forms and insurance filing. If the software also offers patient reminders, then that is even a bigger plus. Get ready to say goodbye to those cancellations and no-shows!
2. Sign up for Online Faxing
Another step to ensuring that your practice only uses paper when absolutely necessary is to register for an Internet-based fax program. Have you ever had one of those faxes that keeps receiving and printing dozens of pages, when you really only needed the last sheet? Cut back on paper by using online faxing to digitally store your incoming faxes, making it possible to only print when needed. This also keeps your faxes organized, typically available for sorting by date or category, and you will be able to easily access this information whenever it is needed.
3. Utilize Online Tools for Patient Screenings
Private practices can use a lot of paper for screening for mental health conditions. With every visit, patients also continue to fill out numerous forms, including health questionnaires to assist with monitoring their treatments. Incorporating online instruments for mental healthcare will not only rid your office of unnecessary paperwork, but it will organize these important documents, making them readily available for additional study and review. This type of software will also cut back on time spent by office staff administering these screenings and surveys, as that patients may access them from their own smartphones and tablets.
4. Purchase a Good Scanner
Once you begin storing all or most of your files digitally, you will want to keep up the practice by scanning in any documents that you receive in paper form. Scanning your documents will make them readily available digitally, along with the rest of your other files, so that all of a patient’s information can reside in one secure location. So, be sure to shop around and find a sheet-fed scanner, capable of scanning individual or multiple pages at a time. Once you have determined your daily scanner usage, look for a machine that will fit your budget, as well as work at a speed that will not hinder your workflow.
5. Start a Recycling Program
Now, while the idea of going paperless is wonderful, we all know that it is pretty much impossible to cut out all use of paper in an office, especially depending on each practice’s individual needs. However, even when using paper is necessary, setting up a system for recycling will help offset this occasional usage. The biggest part of beginning to recycle is to make sure that the entire office is on board. Once everyone adjusts to the minor changes it will entail, then consistently shredding and recycling will become habit, pushing your private practice just one step closer to becoming as paperless as possible.