I’ve been working as a Natural Health & Beauty Practitioner for some time now and keeping my consultation forms organised has never been an issue – until recently. A few days ago, I was looking for a consultation form for one of my clients who wanted a treatment after a few months’ break. In order to spare myself the embarrassment, I needed to remember the details about her and what complaint she came to me with the first time. It took me at least an hour to find it among all the other forms!
Now, as you may have noticed from my posts and descriptions of what I do, I offer a large range of services. This means that I have consultation forms relating to various therapies, lots of them. It’s all good, but there has always been one problem with it – keeping myself organised.
My forms are safe. However, they are not being filed the way that makes them easy to find. So when I have to look for a form I have to rummage through all of them in my general folder, and this takes a lot of time. So I started thinking about how I could solve this problem for myself and fellow therapists. But before I tell you how I did it, I will give you 3 reasons why we need to keep consultation forms organised, safe and easy to find.
1. Future reference. If you are a natural health practitioner like I am, then you know how important it is to keep the records of all the consultations and treatments. You need to make sure that your consultation forms include the client’s name, address, an issue that they want to be addressed, possible contraindications, cautions and, of course, a disclaimer and their signature. This is important for you to refer to when the client comes back.
2. We also need to do it for insurance purposes. The cases when something goes wrong following a treatment (not necessarily as a result of it) are fairly rare. However, it does happen, which is why we take out a 3rd party liability insurance. In order for the insurance provider to consider the claim, they will need to see the details of the treatment or course of treatments done for the client. This means that you need to be able to provide a detailed consultation form related to the treatment to them.
Let’s imagine that you cannot find it. Or what if you didn’t have it in the first place? How can the insurance company check what has been done to the client, what condition their health was in prior to the treatment, what contraindications they had and whether they needed to get a GP referral before starting the treatment? Or how about a signed disclaimer? Of course, none of it automatically exonerates you or exclude negligence. However, this is a necessary step towards starting an investigation.
3. Data Protection Act. Rules are getting tightened up every year. The level of our responsibility for keeping private data safe is increasing. These days, a lot of records we keep are on our hard drive. Computers get hacked. I personally prefer to use the old method – keep it all on paper and in a secure place. It allows for a physical signature to be obtained from the people using my services.
So my solution to the problem was to create a book of consultation forms for each therapy I practise would which also include a appointments organiser and a few empty pages for notes. So far, I’ve created them for the 9 therapies I practice myself. In the future, I am planning to create similar books for other therapies as well. If you are a practitioner, you may want to check them out.