What Happens When Your Template is Too Long

What Happens When Your Template is Too Long

Template creation is not a one-step process.  It is important to remember that templates are made to fit a breadth of circumstances.  The need for breadth can sometimes result in very long templates.  However, Sometimes templates become so long that they need to be split into two templates.  In this article, we will discuss the appropriate length of a template.

Before getting into exactly how long a temple should be, let us discuss the template creation method.  Now, in thinking about templates, we should remember that they accomplish several tasks.  One important task is that they serve as a reminder for things that we forget.  Things such as diagnostic criteria, certain parameters for treatment and side effects of medications. Including this information in templates helps remind us of things. Let us also remember that, from a practical standpoint, deleting text is easier than typing text de novo.  With these two things in mind, we can start to think about how long a template might be.  Templates get even longer when you start adding them together for a patient with multiple complaints or problems.

Now that we understand that templates can potentially be very long, let us discuss exactly how to know when a template is too long.  Quite simply, a template is too long when it contains text that is skimmed over during an encounter due to its excessive length.  If you are in the clinic, the dictation room or elsewhere, and you are skimming over text, it is time to modify the template.

The key problem with templates that contain text that is not reviewed during use is that things can get missed.  As a result, the template is no longer as useful as it could be.

So what is the solution?  As alluded to previously, splitting templates is often the best solution. Instead of having one annual physical template with too much cumbersome information, you can split the template into two, one for males and one for females.  This avoids redundancy of unused information within the template.

Templates can be split again as well. Take our previous example.  If you find that your template for the annual physical for males contains too much useless information, or at least information that is not applicable, simply split it into a second template as well.  You can create a template for males 65 and older, as well as one for males 64 and younger.

Each medical and surgical practice is different.  Each provider serves a particular population of patients and sees their own particular distribution of complaints. SOAPassist provides medical providers with a simple set of templates that are commonly used.  These can then be adapted, split, and/or modified to fit the nuances of any provider’s practice. Online medical templates become more powerful with use.  They can become more refined, more specific to a particular patient population, and therefore more helpful.

At SOAPassist, we recommend taking note of the utility of your templates and making modifications to improve their efficiency as you go.  Creation of a template can be time-consuming.  However, simple modifications can be done quite rapidly.  These modifications can save a lot of time over days, weeks, months and years.  SOAPassist’s curated online medical templates are an ideal place to start.  We have done the hard work for you.  Simply adapt the curated templates to your practice pattern and start making excellent SOAP Notes in no time flat.

Disclaimer:  SOAPassist curated templates are created for use by licensed medical providers.  While they are examples of what a provider might document, their intended purpose is to provide a starting point for documentation and do not constitute medical recommendations.