What is occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy is a field of healthcare whose practitioners are trained to provide care for patients healing from an injury or experiencing other difficulties in their day-to-day life. Generally, occupational therapists aim to introduce independence back into the lives of their patients and provide them with strategies to manage physical, emotional, and social barriers. Although the treatment and rehabilitation methods will vary depending on the injury or diagnosis in question, occupational therapy often introduces patients to exercises that help them recover and improve. As the occupational therapy field continues to grow exponentially, new tools are being developed to assist these practitioners. Continual advancements in technology have coincided with the production of these tools, leading to a wide selection of effective devices specifically designed to help occupational therapists.
Why do occupational therapists need tools for efficient functioning?
Understanding and assessing the different tools that are available for occupational therapists is a necessary aspect of improving your practice’s functioning. Outsourcing tools for occupational therapists can be a daunting process, but research continues to show the benefits that many of these tools have on patient recovery. The right type of tool will save you significant amounts of time whilst improving your clinical outcomes. When you are researching the different available options, it is essential that you first consider what will be most beneficial to your patients. For example, the tools that will help children recover from an injury will likely differ from the tools that are useful for adult recovery. Additionally, while most of these tools will incur an initial cost, it is highly probable that they will save your practice money in the long run. Most hardware and software options have been designed in collaboration with therapists, ensuring that they are conducive to an efficient and organized workplace.
Top hardware tools needed by occupational therapists
Given the large number of available occupational therapy tools, it can be difficult to assess which ones will be most suitable for your business. To help you in this process, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best hardware tools that are guaranteed to improve the clinical outcomes at your practice.
Sensory friendly seating
Sensory-friendly seating allows patients to access further sensory input via their joints, leading to better attention and focus. Many occupational therapists encourage sensory-friendly seating in education environments, particularly if their patients are younger students. The most commonly used sensory-friendly seat is a standard medicine ball, and these have the additional advantage of being highly affordable. If you frequently come across patients who have inattention issues and benefit from sensory-friendly seating, you may also want to look into therapy ball chairs, wiggle cushions, wobble chairs, and rocker chairs.
Many patients with sensory processing challenges experience difficulty with fine motor skills, including handwriting. Different tools have been developed to facilitate these struggles, allowing individuals to grip pencils or pens in a way that is more comfortable according to their needs. These include writing rascals, Handiwriters, and pencil weights.
Fidget or stim toys
Using fidget and stim toys is an excellent way to give patients extra sensory input without distracting them. Two of the most common of these are tangles and fidgipods; devices that can be used to provide tactile input whilst simultaneously improving concentration.
Different weighted products, including vests and lap pads, provide patients with sensory input throughout their day, allowing them to regulate their internal system and focus on various tasks. These tools are available in different weights, colors, and sizes, ensuring they are comfortable and appropriate for the specific patient’s needs.
Oral sensory tools
Sensory processing disorders often also lead to patients chewing on various objects. Whilst this isn’t necessarily harmful by itself, it can be distracting and potentially dangerous, particularly for children. Fortunately, certain tools have been developed to allow individuals to receive oral sensory input without negatively impacting their day-to-day lives, including chewelry and chew bricks.
Software tools needed by occupational therapists
In addition to the aforementioned hardware devices, there is a wide range of software that has been designed to streamline occupational therapy processes. Once again, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most effective options out there, to help your business boost its productivity and organization!
Writing and storing clinical documentation is a necessary aspect of working as an occupational therapist. It is important that you have thorough documentation of your sessions with clients, including information regarding diagnoses, treatments, interventions, and progress. This not only allows you to track clinical outcomes but is also used for billing, intervention, and legal purposes. Implementing occupational therapy software allows you to streamline the creation of these notes, facilitating better organization and improved productivity.
Practice management software
Practice management software is an absolute must for every occupational therapy business. These systems are usually integrated with a variety of functions, including documentation templates and storage, medical billing tools, patient portals, and appointment scheduling. Sophisticated practice management systems allow you to save money and time whilst simultaneously focusing on improving clinical outcomes - it’s a win-win!
Electronic health records portal
EHR refers to a digitized version of a patient’s medical chart. By using EHR software, you are facilitating greater accessibility (for both patients and practitioners), and more effective communication, leading to improved coordination of care. Electronic health records portals allow patients to quickly and conveniently access their own medical information, greatly improving transparency within the healthcare system.
Managing medical billing is one of the most difficult aspects of working in the healthcare industry. With billing software, you can streamline this process and significantly reduce the number of denied and/or rejected claims. The right billing software will help filter insurance coverages, and patient payment plans and most importantly, lead to your business getting paid faster.
Cloud storage solutions
As technology develops, an increased number of occupational therapy businesses are using cloud storage solutions for their data. Cloud solutions mean that all of your data is stored on remote servers, where it can be accessed via a secure internet connection. Cloud solutions are a highly effective method of storage that facilitate better accessibility and sharing options without compromising the security and safety of confidential information.
Customer relationship management software
As I’m sure you know, fostering positive relationships with clients is an integral aspect of becoming a successful occupational therapy business. CRM software for occupational therapists is integrated with various tools specifically designed to improve the client experience, leading to greater satisfaction and hopefully, more clients! These systems streamline the check-in process, reduce wait times and establish better patient-therapist communication, contributing to positive customer experiences.
Trust Carepatron for your practice management needs
If you are interested in elevating the practice management within your occupational therapy business, we suggest looking into Carepatron. Carepatron offers software that is integrated with clinical documentation, medical billing, appointment scheduling, and EHR, ensuring that all of your business needs are catered to. With 10,000+ healthcare businesses happily using this system, Carepatron is guaranteed to boost the productivity and organization of your practice. We understand that implementing new systems can be a daunting decision, particularly if they incorporate unfamiliar technology. Nevertheless, the healthcare industry is being revolutionized by these systems and is seeing remarkable results for both patients and therapists. With the right software in place, you will be able to streamline all of your administrative tasks and instead spend time doing what you do best: caring for your patients!
Being an Occupational Therapist is challenging! Make it easier with Carepatron