Taking service to the next level

I think all dogs are service dogs. They give us unconditional love, going way beyond what us humans are capable of.

Our puppy Olivia inspires me every day.

My parents were also an inspiration. They raised me with a deep responsibility to serve.

They both chose careers in service—my father was a minister and my mother created nonprofit child care programs. We visited the orphanage every holiday and "adopted" a family each Christmas. My first volunteer commitment was in a home for mentally challenged adults. I clearly remember the day the 32-year-old man I'd been working with for weeks tied his shoes for the first time.

My sense of service to massage therapy goes beyond my clients to the profession as a whole.

I witness the power of touch every day. There are so many people who would benefit from healthy touch, but who can't afford it.

An obvious answer to this problem is to convince more insurance plans to cover massage.

For that to happen, massage therapy needs to be integrated into health care.

Steps to integrate massage into health care
There are two things we need to get our seat at the health care table:

  • To communicate through medical documentation
  • To have a cache of research that represents and informs our practice

Many massage therapists find charting and research the most challenging aspects of their work. My goal is to make charting and research more accessible, meaningful, and less intimidating.

Toward that end I created Hands Heal EHR.

Communicating electronically
Documenting electronically is not just a good idea. It's required for all health care providers that work with Medicaid and Medicare. It's the direction the industry is moving.

We must learn to communicate electronically if we want to be heard.

Charting that's meaningful
Charting must serve the client, showing them progress in measures that mean something to them.

It must also inform the therapist, so we can learn and grow.

And finally, it must demonstrate medical necessity to encourage referrals and reimbursements.

Technology that's your friend
Don't be intimidated by technology. There are many ways you can make it simple:

  • Use the microphone on your device to dictate instead of type.
  • Take photos of posture and videos of ROM testing instead of writing descriptions.
  • Use the tutorials to learn how to chart better and increase your results.

Contributing to research is service
The data you collect can be de-identified and used in research, similar to systems used by physicians. You can use Hands Heal EHR to be altruistic.

By charting and contributing to research you can help raise the professional status of massage therapy in health care.

Moving forward together
Most of us are in this profession because we want to serve. I encourage you to take your sense of service beyond your clients, so more people can benefit from the healing power of touch.

In health,
Diana