There’s something romantic about pen and paper.
The gentle scratching as your thoughts transform into words, each sentence punctuated by a tap of the pen.
It makes us think of William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Ernest Hemingway scrawling away, crafting masterpiece after masterpiece.
But if we’re being honest with ourselves, using pen and paper is actually a bit s**t.
Pens erratically stop working, paper is only slightly more durable than a stale popadum, and most handwriting looks like the person was mid-skydive at the time of writing.
Despite this, it’s common for practitioners to keep all their medical records on paper, especially early on.
This doesn’t tend to be much of a problem when your clinic is young and small. But it quickly becomes untenable as your business grows.
The more services you offer, and the more customers you have, the harder it becomes to manage these paper records, and if you have two different locations, it becomes impossible.
You can use software in combination with pen and paper records, but often this results in duplication of effort or a disconnect between the two formats.
This is why so many clinics are going paperless, to save time and space.
In this blog post, we’ll cover:
- The difference between paperless and paperlite
- The benefits of going paperless
- How Pabau helps you go paperless
Paperless vs Paperlite
Despite some companies using them interchangeably, there is a clear difference between paperless and paperlite.
A paperless system completely removes the reliance on paper anywhere in your processes. All patient records, medical history, billing, etc. are stored digitally.
In a paperless system, there is no need at all to keep physical records, print out forms, etc.
Whereas paperlite is more of a middle ground. Like when someone says they’re a vegetarian, but they still eat meat after a few drinks, or on holiday, or because it’s Friday.
A paperlite system will remove some of the reliance on paper. But not completely.
This will give you some of the benefits and efficiencies you’d get with a paperless system, but these are limited depending on how many manual paper processes you still have
Benefits of going paperless
When you run a clinic, it’s important to be able to access client records and other documents quickly and easily. Not just for convenience, but also for the safety of your patients.
If someone is having a bad reaction, you don’t want to be haphazardly flicking through a filing cabinet to see what allergies they have.
This can be especially difficult for a bigger clinic, or if you’re spread across multiple locations.
Paperless records remove all the friction from this process, so you can access any data you want in seconds. Wherever you are.
You don’t realise how long it takes someone to fill out a paper form until you’re standing there, waiting for them to finish.
Appointments often take longer because customers have to fill in forms there and then.
With a paperless system, your customers can fill in these forms digitally before their appointment. And because clinic staff can quickly and easily access the submitted data, they can carry out treatments quicker too.
This is a huge upgrade in efficiency and allows you to focus on providing better care to your patients.
These efficiencies will save you money by shortening the length of each appointment, increasing the number of bookable appointment slots you can offer. But a paperless system also saves you money in other ways.
For a start, if you’re not storing loads of paperwork and files, you need less physical space. You’re also spending less on paper, ink, printers, stationery, etc.
This might not seem like much, but it all adds up!
Improved Customer Experience
As we’ve already touched on, by implementing a paperless system, you can provide faster service to your customers.
They also get easier access to their own records and an overall slicker experience. This makes you look more professional, which in turn will build trust with your clientele
Another big issue with paper records is that if they get lost or damaged, they’re gone forever. Or even worse, these records could end up in the wrong hands.
By digitising your records, you reduce the risk of this kind of exposure, as well as ensure you don’t lose any sensitive information.
Although not a direct benefit for your business, it’s important to consider the environmental impact of your clinic.
By reducing or completely cutting out paper, you can hugely reduce your carbon footprint, and contribute to a more sustainable future.
Whatever services your clinic offers, compliance needs to be a big consideration. You need to not only adhere to laws and regulations, but you also need to protect yourself in case something goes wrong.
Keeping digital records means you have reliable access to important information. For example, if a patient complains that the sun it affected their treatment, with digital records you can prove you emailed aftercare instructions that warned of this.
If you simply handed them a piece of paper, there’s no evidence the aftercare details were ever provided, and you could be found liable.
How Pabau helps you go paperless
Pabau has been designed to be completely paperless, so your clinic and customers can easily achieve all of the above benefits.
We offer a wide range of features and functionality, but here are some key ways we help you remove the paper from your processes:
Patient journey system
During appointments, you need to capture certain data and update patient records. In a paper system, this can be a cumbersome process, and things can easily get missed.
Our patient journey system simplifies this process, making it as efficient and painless as possible.
Using the Pabau iPad app, you are automatically taken through a series of pre-determined steps. This avoids having to shuffle between forms, or search for different areas in an app to find what you need.
Your staff are guided from start to finish, so nothing gets missed, and everything goes smoothly.
It would be weird if a patient turned up, walked behind the counter, and started flicking through their patient record. Or making appointments for themselves in your schedule.
But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to do those things remotely!
A huge perk of a paperless system is that you can give your patients more control over their accounts.
With our self-service patient portals, your customers can make payments, book appointments, access their records, and much more.
This is far more convenient for them and makes appointments run much smoother.
No one likes filling in forms. But people especially don’t like filling in forms with a pen and paper, sitting in a waiting room.
It’s awkward, it’s slow, and you feel like a dimwit when you make a mistake.
In Pabau, you can set up your own forms, and send them to your patients to fill in. They can then do this in their own time, and you can access the submitted forms whenever you need them.
This removes the extra delays while people fill out forms by hand in the clinic, and it makes the whole process more convenient for everyone.
People talk about apps being in ‘the cloud’ as if it’s some sort of mythical sorcery.
I don’t mean to ruin the magic, but the cloud is just a bunch of computers somewhere else. So you need to know the records being stored on these computers are secure.
This is why we’ve pulled out all the stops to ensure your data is as safe as possible. So you can always access it when you need, and so no one else can access it without permission.
We take more security precautions than we have time to cover here, but here are some of the highlights:
- Your data is encrypted and hosted in highly secured facilities
- We take regular backups, so you don’t risk losing your valuable data
- You can export your data whenever you need it
- Advanced user access tools give you full control over who can access what
Booking and scheduling
If any process in your clinic is screaming out for digitalisation, it’s scheduling.
(Not literally, that would be terrifying)
Manually booking, editing, and chasing up appointments can be a nightmare. One small mistake can inconvenience everyone, and even damage your clinic’s reputation.
They even receive automated reminders to ensure they don’t miss their booking, and follow-up messages asking them to leave a review for your clinic.
Pen and paper don’t sound so romantic now, do they?