Be Organised 
Document management

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Document management for the private practitioner

Document management relates to both paper and digital documents. The word ’filing’ tends to come to mind, but it means more than just filing - it means ’gathering, storing and retrieving’ documents.

As your private practice grows, you’ll amass an enormous amount of information, in both paper and digital format. Dealing with it can become a major drain on your time and energy.

You should keep all your information organised for three key reasons:

  • Your private practice will run smoothly, saving you time and money
  • You will be able to maintain accurate accounts
  • You will meet your legal obligations by upholding excellent client confidentiality. For more about client confidentiality, and the Data Protection Act, go here

When you find a system that will help you to ’gather, store and retrieve’ documents more efficiently, you’ll be free to do what you do best - treat clients.

The best strategy is to take ’paper’ documents and transform them, where possible, into ’digital’ documents. You can then store and access those documents on your computer in easy to find files. The originals can then either be filed securely or shredded.

How to go digital 

Here are our top tips for managing your information digitally:

1. Use accounting software. This will allow you to quick and easily view financial information, and eliminate mistakes.

2. Scan receipts and invoices from suppliers, labelling them carefully and systematically, and keep them in an ’expenses’ folder so that they can be claimed against tax.

3. Keep your clinical notes and client information digitally using software such as Word or Excel.

4. Scan any paper client correspondence, referral letters or other paperwork. 

5. Use an online diary to manage appointments - most modern online diaries can be accessed on several devices such as your phone, tablet and laptop.

6. Use an online system for your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) that will allow you to record it clearly and accurately.

7. Set up a system for regularly archiving digital files if not used in a certain number of months, together with rules for storage and retrieval so you can demonstrate that you comply with the Data Protection Act and GDPR.

8. Consider encrypting your emails and important documents - find out more here but don’t panic, it is not essential.

The suggestions above work well for many practitioners, but will generate a lot of information in lots of different places, none of which ties up. This is where practice management software comes in. You can use one piece of software to manage your finances, client correspondence, appointments, clinical notes and much more. Read more about practice management software here.