It is Thursday evening and I am relishing the fact that there are now four days of freedom, courtesy of Easter. It feels nice, because I am exhausted. I have only just now turned off and closed my work laptop. I got home just before seven after a quick dinner of a ham and cheese sandwich washed down with a glass of orange juice, I started work in completing a clinic report from today. I have been awake since five, at work at seven thirty. I did a full clinic, three autism assessment feedbacks and one new autism assessment. Autism pouring out of my ears. I managed to complete the report for initial assessment – some minor miracle really. I had started writing the report yesterday afternoon based on previous reports and referral information. I have started typing in the history at clinic appointments now. I have found that I can type almost as fast as I can write, it more legible too. Then all I have to do in the afternoon is add my examination findings, conclusion and management plan. It seems to have worked well so far and I am more up to date with my reports than I have been in the past. However I do have to acknowledge that I am doing a lot of work outside working hours – coming in early to the office and like today spending an hour of my evening writing up the second of four reports. I have this terrible plan to complete the other two reports in one hour concentrated sessions on Friday morning and Saturday morning. I think I am mostly doing this because my husband will be working on those day and has worked late this evening. So it does not feel like I am being too anti-social as at the moment it is just me and Radio 2.
One might ask why I am not dictating the reports? I ask myself this question too. I guess I am just bored of the duplication and wanted to complete all the work in one go. In the past I have taken the clinic notes and reviewed the previous reports writing down a few words or lines to summarise the main findings and action plan. I would scan through the clinic record and then make a not of any significant clinic consultations since I last saw the child. I would then meet with the child and family, write down the new information from them, write down examination findings, conclusions and summary, management plan. I would then dictate all of this and send the dictation to my personal assistant. When the dictation comes back I would read through the report, edit and correct then add my signature and it would be ready to go out.
My ‘new’ way of typing everything was birthed when I found myself doing extra Saturday clinics in February and March. I wanted to have a way of getting the clinic reports done quickly because there was not going to be any planned admin time in the week to get this extra work done. I trailed this method for the 4 weekend clinics that I did and it worked. I still do dictate some reports – the child protection medical reports that I recently did – there were so many injuries to document, it was much quicker to dictate.
Has it made difference to the length of the reports, not really, they are no longer or short. I have found that I can type and take a history pretty speedily as I am thinking and editing as I write. I think my dictation time is the same as my typing time as I am often thinking while talking. I am going to keep going with this until May. It feels like it is working and I no longer have the backlog of clinic reports that I once had.
I feel like I am slowly preparing myself to this new paper-free digital world that we are heading for. Except for the fact that we are still currently producing paper reports…