During any such situation, it’s a given that notes are going to be taken in some form or another, but which note-taking method is least obtrusive to the client? How would you feel in a medical exam or counseling session if your doctor or therapist began tapping on a tablet as opposed to writing on a notepad or typing on a computer?
Having had many conversations about this topic over the last few years, it’s clear that there are mixed feelings about bringing technology into a medical or therapeutic interview.
As a result, we thought it might be helpful to share some research that we became aware of recently.
This research is focused specifically on technology used by medical professionals when meeting with patients, though there are obvious parallels to similar devices being used in a therapy session.
This research, from Health IT research group Software Advice, is from a survey report of some 4,500 patients called Patient Preferences About EHRs.
In the study, 42% of respondents indicated that they somewhat or strongly preferred the use of an electronic device during point-of-care charting, with only 12 percent preferring the more traditional paper and pen (and, most interestingly, this was true across all age groups and genders).
Looking through the results, one notable insight is that patients prefer the use of a tablet over a laptop and that a laptop in turn is preferable to a desktop computer. Even the use of a desktop computer is preferable to the use of an audio recorder or the presence of an assistant taking notes on paper.
Tablets are quick, mobile, and easy to use while offering a more interactive and personal experience due to their touchscreens. They also provide the ability to be passed from person to person, which has likely contributed to them being viewed as less intrusive than a laptop or desktop computer.
Mobile devices in the exam or therapy room can also allow for better retention of information and accurate collection of data.
When we hear something for the first time, many of us will retain most of the information for a few minutes. Over the course of the next few hours, however, it’s inevitable that parts of that information will start to fade. As a result, this can create problems when it comes to data collection.
That’s why it’s important to add client information to a client database as soon as possible or there is a chance key details may become lost.
For example, forgetting a detail from an initial assessment (or not being able to transcribe written notes accurately) could have a considerable impact on the treatment plan being created for a client, which could in turn slow down the path to the desired client outcome.
This is something everyone wants to avoid but, as the Software Advice study shows, simply bringing a tape recorder into every meeting is not the best solution as most individuals are less likely to share details if they feel uncomfortable.
It’s also time-consuming and inefficient for service providers to take the same notes twice–once on paper, and then later when entering into the agency’s client management software system.
As the study itself concludes, the best advice for healthcare professionals is “to embrace … technology — and, for those already using it, not to shy away from using electronic charting at the point of care.”
At Social Solutions, we embrace the need for clinicians, counselors, and therapists to become increasingly mobile and that is why we are proud of how our web-based software allows service providers to access their system from anywhere at any time.
If you’re interested in finding out more about our case management solution for your nonprofit or social service organization, contact us today to request a free demo and begin the evaluation process!
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