We spoke with Dr. Amy Brannon, owner of T.O.P.S. Physical Therapy and Osteopractics in Phoenix, Arizona. In this interview, Dr. Brannon discusses her clinic's transition from paper to using a fully integrated EMR (WebPT), and how it has benefitted her clinic. Specifically, she mentions how WebPT's workflow mimics her process of documenting via paper, but in a far more efficient electronic manner -- which makes sense since WebPT was founded by an experienced physical therapist. Dr. Brannon also discusses how selecting the wrong EMR can actually be a step back from using paper.
Hi Dr. Brannon, nice to meet you. Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your clinic?
My name is Dr. Amy Brannon and I am the lead physical therapist and owner of T.O.P.S. Physical Therapy and Osteopractics. T.O.P.S. stands for The Orthopedic & Performance Specialists. We have a single location in Phoenix, Arizona, centrally located at 16th Street and Missouri, close to the Biltmore mall. We currently have 4 clinicians treating patients, and a plethora of support staff. We are honored to say that we have a fellowship-trained physical therapist on staff as well. Being a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy involves an extensive post-graduate education where the therapist learns and masters the skills that are available for treating their patients. This has allowed me to be an Osteopractor as well, which is a fancy label for being able to provide manipulations, dry needling, massage therapy, and physical therapy, all under one roof! It’s a one-stop shop, which is unique, and very valuable to patients. They no longer have to pay multiple co-pays, or budget time to go to various locations. They can come to one appointment, and get the comprehensive treatment needed by a single clinician! This also ensures that the patient is getting integration of their care, as opposed to spotty care based on expertise.
T.O.P.S. was created by myself and Chad Bohls, and we have now worked together for the better part of 10 years! We worked with numerous professional athletes for many years, and decided that we wanted to bring that same level of care to first responders and the general population. We have a deep passion for the men and women who serve our country, and feel that this is our best opportunity to give back, not only to the nation as a whole, but to our local community.
When you were selecting an EMR for T.O.P.S. what systems were you considering?
About 6 years ago, when it came time that EMRs were going to be the new requirement, we did extensive research to best understand which EMR was going to work for our clinicians. I think at the time, there were only a handful of EMRs to use. If I recall correctly, there was WebPT, TheraOffice, Apollo, Raintree, and TherapySource, that we trialed. We ultimately decided that WebPT was the best choice for us, and have been using it since.
Prior to using WebPT, were you using a different system or paper?
Prior to using WebPT, we had paper documentation. I have always felt that Heidi Jannenga (the creator of WebPT) and I have similar mentalities, because I felt that WebPT was the most natural transition to an EMR. It flows exactly how I wrote paper notes; thus, I was sold almost immediately after I came across it.
What were some of the major selling points that led to you selecting WebPT over the other options?
Given the layout of the EMR, the integration with billing, and the projection of outcomes, we knew it was the most comprehensive one available at the time. We also felt that their staff was the most knowledgeable and willing to help. Customer service was an important aspect (knowing that there was definitely going to be a transition period from paper to electronic) and we felt that WebPT was the most available and willing to help. They did not outsource their help line, which was also super beneficial.
Another selling point, I had to use a different system when I was going through my fellowship mentor hours, and it was miserable. The system in itself made no sense at all. There were a zillion tabs and it was grossly complicated. I had a really hard time understanding how to use the system. I later came to find out that it was initially a hospital-based system that was then being used for outpatient PT, which was why it made little sense for the flow of the practice. It certainly added time to the day when having to use that system. I would have preferred paper charting over that EMR.
Here are some more of WebPT's major selling points for me:
- The ease of flow. It follows a SOAP note exactly!
- Customer service is unmatched. No matter what the question, concern, or suggestion, they are willing to listen, help, and implement in a timely, friendly manner -- and in well spoken and understood English.
- Integration between billing, outcomes, and notes is seamless.
- The clinicians will actually SAVE TIME! Given the ease of use, click boxes, etc, you are able to quickly navigate through a note and increase your efficiency.
- If you cannot complete your notes while at work, you have the portability to use it at home! You can sign on using a tablet, or even your cell phone. The beauty of this, if you are out at an event, and someone needs to schedule, you can take care of it immediately on your phone, rather than waiting until Monday, and possibly losing that patient.
- From a legal perspective, from everything I have been taught, all aspects that are expected for a note in a courtroom are covered with the note, under the correct label and tab. Our clinic got audited when using paper notes, and my note was used. Although I had had everything needed, it was under an incorrect label, and thus not clear to the auditor. Now using WebPT, I am fully confident that that would no longer be an issue. I also have students who come to the clinic, and I can have confidence that their notes will be thorough when I co-sign because WebPT’s system is so thorough.
How does WebPT compare to paper documentation?
The ease of use compared to paper documentation is the main improvement. Furthermore, at times you may forget a thing or two that you need to document, but when you open a note in WebPT, it makes it foolproof. Everything you need is readily available, and there are so many reminders of things you may have forgotten that you wanted to put into the note. It also ensures that you are working on the correct case, if there are multiple cases open for a patient, and minimizes the complication between having multiple cases for a single patient.
What can be improved about WebPT?
There are few improvements that can be made for WebPT. The beauty of the situation is that when an improvement is desired, you can often contact your WebPT representative, and they will do their best to figure out how to get that into the system…if they aren’t already working on doing so! I have had suggestions to increase the ease of communication with patients, etc., and when I brought it to their attention, they were already working on it. And within 2 months, the change was made. Like I previously said, I think Heidi is in my head, because we think very similarly!
Can you go into more detail about some of the suggestions you made?
We suggested that they make improvements in counting the number of visits to date in that specific case, and they implemented that quickly. They also implemented a system for an email reminder of a patient's upcoming visits. They even allow you to customize when you send it to them (2 days ahead, 1 day ahead, 5 days, etc). They also started working with outcomes measures and integrating them into their notes. Formerly, FOTO was doing all of that data collection, which was beneficial, but it did not integrate. WebPT heard many of our voices loud and clear, and now they have them. They are also increasing the amount they have available based on the largest need.
Do you use any software in addition to WebPT, for say, billing or any other aspect to help manage your business? If so, what are they and do they integrate with WebPT?
For billing, we use Kareo, which integrates with WebPT. We also use WebPT's billing department as well. We changed from FOTO outcomes to WebPT's as well. So we are integrated in all of the available ways at this time. It is really nice for the ease of flow. It takes some of the legwork off of the administrative staff, which is very nice. It also helps to minimize errors that can occur.
There are a lot of EMRs on the market. Do you have any advice for our readers who are trying to decide between the many options?
Don’t waste your time with any other EMR. I have many friends across the country that use various EMR platforms, and have asked my advice on their next move. Once I show them WebPT, they are sold. They can quickly see the advantages and how it maximizes the use for a PT. Additionally, there are areas that allow you to customize the system based on your settings, which is also a time-saver.
Founded in 2008 by an experienced physical therapist and a skilled technologist, WebPT was designed to provide an affordable, yet modern software solution that addresses the pain points faced specifically by physical therapists. Today, it is one of the most popular EMR and practice management solutions, serving more than 65,000 users across 9,500+ clinics. Given its large client base and powerful documentation and scheduling capabilities, WebPT comes at an affordable price (starting at $49/user per month), making it a top EMR solution to consider for end-to-end management of your physical therapy practice.
To learn more about WebPT, you can read our in-depth WebPT review here.
You can also visit WebPT's site here.