How Do I Spend Less Time Charting Notes and More Time Practicing Medicine? – The Journey to Chartnote.
Do you enjoy seeing patients but the mere thought of completing your progress notes makes you sick? You are not alone. Almost 50 percent of physicians report burnout, and one of the main causes is medical documentation.
At StatNote we believe that doctors should spend more time with their patients and less time in front of their computers. Our goal is to serve health professionals by providing tools that facilitate medical documentation, billing, coding and inbox management so they can enjoy seeing patients and earn a fair compensation at the same time.
Any clinician would agree that onerous medical documentation requirements are the bane of our existence. Prioritizing paperwork over patients causes physician burnout and dissatisfaction. Even though recent changes in billing and coding guidelines were introduced in 2021 to reduce “note bloating” as a way to fight this endemic problem, completing notes and data entry will always be a clerical task that takes time.
In 2019, American Medical Association CEO Dr. James L. Madara noted that for every hour of face-to-face time with patients, physicians spend nearly two additional hours on administrative tasks throughout the day.
Early in my career I became frustrated with the additional time I spent completing my clinic notes. During residency I was baffled when my associate residency director treated patients in the hospital in the morning, treated patients in clinic in the afternoon and in between handled administrative responsibilities. I was amazed he was able to leave the office at five (sometimes earlier to go play golf).
I noticed that all his notes were completed by the time he left the clinic. When I asked him how he did it, he showed me some templates he used that were part of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. They were clunky and not user-friendly, but the templates gave me an idea. Every time I found myself writing the same thing over and over, I took extra time to write a boilerplate template for that condition.
While working in the clinic, I experienced firsthand the burdens of medical documentation. Some days I would feel like a professional data-entry clerk. Other days I would feel like I was treating the computer instead of the patient. Doctors spend a lot of time in front of the computer instead of interacting with their patients — and that is not what we signed up for.
During residency I became passionate about being efficient at work so I could spend some time with my wife and a newborn at home despite the long hours. I found a solution that worked for me: dot phrases and templates. It enabled me to leave the clinic on time with all my notes completed and an empty inbox in my EHR.
As a practicing physician I also noticed how some of my colleagues’ lives were consumed by this universal problem. They would spend nights and weekends finishing their notes and come back to work emotionally exhausted. After residency and a few years of practicing, I accumulated more than 1,000 smart phrases that I used regularly for medical documentation. I wanted to share them with my colleagues, so I decided to publish a book on Amazon with a compilation of all my dot phrases.
After a few months of publication, the book became very popular and was featured frequently as the #1 Best Seller in the Amazon charts for Practice Management & Reimbursement as well as for the Medical History & Records books category. This compelled me to offer my dot phrases online, and eventually this led to starting a company.
Physicians not only in the U.S. but also around the world started buying a library of dot phrases from our website to use in third-party softwares like TextExpander and PhraseExpander. However, we soon realized that many clinicians don’t have administrative rights to the computer they use in their clinic or hospital, so they couldn’t install any software. So, we also started offering the content as a USB that runs a portable edition of PhraseExpress. We now sell it on Amazon, and we call it the Ninja Stick.
All these productivity solutions worked fine, but none of them were a ideal solution to the problem we were trying to solve. In the midst of the pandemic, we started working on an idea that turned into a web app: Chartnote. At the end of 2020 we launched a basic web app. Since then, hundreds of clinicians all over the world have started using our tool to expedite their medical documentation.
We couldn’t be happier. Our user base has been growing steadily, and we want to build on the momentum. This week we are launching a set of key features that will make our app fully functional. It will enable our users to create, edit and share snippets in a collaborative environment. We are also creating a community that will enable clinicians to help each other by sharing their creative ways of completing medical documentation.
Our goal is to empower clinicians with technology and efficiency tools that simplify medical documentation and bring back the joy of practicing medicine. Our app not only helps clinicians prevent burnout but also enables them to have more meaningful interactions with their patients. We also know that by documenting more accurate, timely and complete medical records clinicians can also improve their productivity and revenue.
We recognize that there are other solutions out there, such as cribes, voice recognition and artificial intelligence. However, the cost of some of these solutions is prohibitive, especially for primary care clinicians. To compensate, one would have to see more patients, which is not the preferable solution.
Our next milestone is to enable clinicians to use dictation and voice recognition within the web app. We have already started working on these features and exploring ways to implement smart documentation by leveraging artificial intelligence.
We believe our work is having a positive impact on the lives of our colleagues and the patients they serve. It is important for clinicians to have input into shaping how technology affects their daily lives and the lives of their patients, so we encourage you to leave your feedback below.