PatientNotes Gets to the Core of Pelvic Health Documentation

In the rural town of Hamilton, Victoria, Jessica Fishburn, a senior pelvic floor and pain physiotherapist, is quietly revolutionising women's health. With a deep commitment to her patients and a knack for innovation, Jessica has woven technology seamlessly into her practice, making a huge difference to her community.

Jessica grew up in rural Victoria, so she has first-hand knowledge of how scarce healthcare resources are – and she was well-aware there wasn’t enough access to pelvic floor physios.

That gap became her number one motivation. Jessica was determined to fill this void, specialising in pelvic health, aiming to improve her patients' quality of life. In 2015, she co-founded GenHealth, a practice grounded in the mission of strengthening the health of the community.

"We’re a collaborative network of health professionals, working as one team. And it was all about recruiting to meet the needs of the community, which is incredibly challenging. So we have physiotherapists, podiatrists, exercise physiologists, an exercise scientist and an OT under one roof, meeting the needs of the locals. This approach has been incredibly rewarding,” Jessica says.

Jessica sees the treatment of persistent pain conditions, such as endometriosis, vulvodynia, vaginismus, generalized sexual pain and period pain as a two-armed approach. Another significant factor of her work is acknowledging a patient’s history of pain.

“It’s about treating the end organ, whether that is training the pelvic floor muscles or optimising bladder and bowel function. But this also must be coupled with treatment,” Jessica says.

“Because I do really extensive notes, PatientNotes has been really, really beneficial to just make sure I've got everything because I spend an hour with my patients for that initial consult. So much is disclosed, often really sensitive information.”

“I want to make sure that I've got a really good summary of what we've discussed last time because you're really present with the patient and you build really beautiful empathy and rapport. I want to be able to maintain and continue that. I found PatientNotes has been brilliant to be able to just keep in front of mind with those things.”

“A big component of what I'm treating is actually validating a patient's experience of pain because a lot of the time they're coming into the clinic and they haven't been validated or they've been dismissed. Or they’ve been told that their pain is ‘in their head.’”

Balancing Professional and Personal Life

Jessica's admits the dual roles of a healthcare professional and a mother of two young children requires a delicate balance.

Her dedication to women's health extends beyond her clinic. Jessica is a passionate public speaker, frequently engaging in school education programs and keynote speaking at health events.

"I do lots of school education around anatomy, normalising our public health, and creating a safe space for access. It's incredibly fulfilling to see the impact of these efforts," she says.

“Someone had mentioned PatientNotes on one of the pelvic floor in a pelvic health physios Facebook group. I honestly thought it was too good to be true.”

"I only work two and a half clinical days and then do two non-clinical days in the business space. It's essential for me to maintain this balance to be effective in both my roles," Jessica says.

The AI Revolution: PatientNotes

Jessica claims PatientNotes has played a big role in her life, dramatically transforming her practice. The traditionally tedious task of documenting patient interactions often bled into her personal time.

"I'd go home and spend a good two hours catching up on just my initial notes. The next day, I'd do two or three hours of writing referrals and summarising treatment plans," she says. With PatientNotes, this burden has lifted.

"Once a month I do new patient intake and that takes up to four hours of doctors’ letters, referrals, summarising treatment plans. But, with PatientNotes, it will take me under an hour. It has been life-changing," Jessica says. Most importantly, the app's ability to accurately summarise conversations and generate comprehensive notes allows her to focus more on patient care.

"Clinically, once I hit record, I can spend good quality time really listening to the patient. I'm not desperately trying to jot down everything they are saying,” Jessica says.

Jessica has recently tailored PatientNotes to suit her specific needs.

"I've added quite a few of my own prompts particularly to match my subjective history. When I'm doing an initial consult, I'm asking detailed questions about bladder, bowel, prolapse and sexual function. This ensures I cover all necessary aspects," she says.

Real-Life Impact

The true measure of Jessica's work, supported by PatientNotes, is found in the stories of her patients. She tells the story of a young woman who had to give up working and playing netball, due to debilitating menstrual pain.

"She had never been validated; everywhere she'd gone, she'd been dismissed. Through our treatment, she not only returned to netball but also won a grand final and was able to engage in pain-free sex with her partner for the first time,” Jessica says.

Another poignant story involves a couple dealing with interstitial cystitis and vaginismus.

"When I first saw her, she'd seen a specialist who recommended extreme measures. Through our treatment, she was able to conceive a baby. It's heartwarming when they include you in their journey," Jessica says.

“Because of the complexity of my persistent pain patients, they're not just presenting with one thing and it's usually that they've had a journey of different health professionals. So I'll really try and timeline a journey.”

“I will often summarise while I'm talking and say, ‘okay, right, so in 2018 you saw this professional, 2019, you saw this professional’. PatientNotes means that I'm not having to spend that time typing. That's why I can spend that time, quality time, building that rapport, that empathy, that side of things.”

“I would say that it is just really good so that a patient doesn't have to rehash stuff.”

From a regional perspective, the efficiency brought by PatientNotes is invaluable.

"I work in Hamilton and live in Port Fairy, which is a 55-minute drive away. In the past, I've recorded notes to transcribe later, but it never came out well. PatientNotes has honestly been a game-changer for me," she says.

Embracing AI in Healthcare

Jessica's experience with PatientNotes is a great example of the potential of AI in assisting healthcare delivery.

"I've told everyone in my workplace about PatientNotes. This has been life-changing. I love it," she says. The app has improved the efficiency and quality of her work, allowing her to provide better care to her patients.

“With PatientNotes recording, I can focus on the patient, especially because of the complexity of my persistent pain patients. They're not just presenting with one thing. It's usually that they've had a journey of different health professionals," Jessica says.

Jessica will often summarise as she’s talking to her patients, letting PatientNotes do its job and allowing her to focus on the person in front of her.

“I might say, "So in 2018, you saw this professional, 2019, you saw this professional." It means that I'm not having to spend that time typing. I can spend much more detailed, quality time building that rapport and empathy that every patient deserves.”

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