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Therapy at Home signs on the digital line for a mobile and paperless office with Google Apps for Business

Therapy at Home is a provider of physiotherapy, aged care and rehabilitation services. They have qualified physiotherapists servicing the Hunter area of New South Wales. Therapy at Home offers professional medical services to patients, often war veterans with service injuries, in the comfort of their own home.
By offering an ‘in home’ service, In many instances, Therapy at Home staff can effectively manage a patient in their home environment delaying or even avoiding the need for facility or hospital placement.

What they wanted to do

Therapy at Home needed to go fully paperless to support their mobile workforce. They also needed better mobile integration so workers could be as efficient as possible while out of the office. 

What they did

By integrating Gmail, Calendars, Forms, Docs and Scripts, we were able to generate a fully paperless and mobile office.

What they accomplished

Physiotherapists can work completely mobile without having to return to the office and all staff have access to all company data via Google drive no matter where when or how it was created, including offline support. Digitising all patient documents also allowed onsite staff to be more efficient while still allowing patients to sign digital documents, as required, directly on the tablets. 

“[Therapy at Home] can effectively manage a patient in their home environment delaying or even avoiding the need for facility or hospital placement.” - Daniel, Owner

Challenges

A solution needed to be developed that addressed the issues related to a combination of mobile staff as well as paper-based documentation for all patient records, forms and related documents, as noted by Daniel Buck, owner of Therapy at Home and physiotherapist “...being a community allied health professional is not without its challenges. Communication and record keeping is one of the most important aspects of our job.”

The existing system had a large administrative overhead because individual documentation had to be prepared in advanced so a physiotherapist could take all the documents they’d need with them out each day so there was no need to pick up patient documents in between site visits. Additionally, this meant that documentation was dropped back to the office only at the end of the day causing a strain on the filing process as a large number of documents needed to be filed in a short period of time to ensure they were ready for the next day if needed.

Email and calendar access and management, like all business, is so crucial and with staff being mobile there was a need for a streamlined email and calendar system so administration staff could manage physiotherapists calendars and appointments while on the road, and additionally so physiotherapists could have full access to their emails while mobile. This extended to internet access as the internet coverage cannot be guaranteed in mobile areas.

Lastly, most patient forms needed to still have a patient’s signature on them so any digital solution developed needed to allow for patients to still sign documents, including both Therapy at Home’s documents and medical documents regulated by government bodies.

 

Solution

Therapy at Home engaged Myrtec, a Google Apps Authorised Reseller, to develop a solution that would allow Therapy at Home to go fully paperless and mobile, while maintaining integrity of medical documents and supporting the mobile nature of their workers. Any solution needed to be manageable from mobile devices (primarily a tablet) and had to allow for times when staff were visiting a client where no wireless internet was available.

Switching to Google Apps allowed a solution to be developed which met the clients’ needs in a cost effective way. With Gmail and Google Calendar having seamless integration with Android and Apple mobile devices allowing for easy management of emails and schedules, both by the mobile physiotherapists and the office staff.

The existing digital data was migrated to Google Drive which has excellent mobile access capability, including offline documents. Using Google Forms, Myrtec were able to develop a digital form for all Therapy at Home’s documents which could be filled out by the physiotherapist on their tablet and saved to Google Drive. These forms were embedded in the Therapy at Home Google Site, allowing easy (but secure) access to all forms.

With the use of the Google scripting engine Myrtec were then able to automate the process of extracting the Google Form data and inserting it into pre-formatted document templates which were automatically converted to PDF and Word document and saved to the client folder in Google Drive. 

The template documents were fully formatted to Therapy at Home’s specifications, including their logo and branding. There were also offline PDF copies created for each form so the physiotherapist could still fill out documents and save them locally on their tablet if there was no internet connection - these would get auto-uploaded via Google Drive when next online.

To address the signing issue, the outputted PDFs from the individual forms could be opened and the patient could sign their document right there on the tablet screen with the signed copy saved to Google Drive.

The seamless integration and cross-platform support of the Google Apps product suite allowed Therapy at Home to manage all their business data, from emails to patient documents, from their mobile devices, no matter where they were located - a truly mobile and paperless office!

 

Capabilities

One of the biggest benefits of implementing the Google Apps solution was this freed up an entire full time administrative staff member for other tasks. Additionally, by moving all the documentation online, all staff had real time access to all documents, from anywhere, and this included newly created documents by physiotherapists who were still out on site.

This also increased the efficiency of the onsite staff as there was no need for them to manage client documents as they had access to any client document as needed via their tablet. Additionally, by digitising the forms this greatly cut down the time needed to enter client data and also reduced the risk of errors. Overall, this allowed them to devote more time and attention to servicing their patients.

Furthermore, the cost of maintaining and purchasing IT infrastructure dropped dramatically with most staff being able to operate 100% from their mobile devices without any loss in productivity or efficiency. This all coming from just one suite of online products (Google Apps) at a low price per user per month meant Therapy at Home have achieved their goal of a fully mobile and paperless office without the loss of any key business processes.