Athletic trainers’ practice patterns regarding medical documentation

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Journal of Athletic Training


Context: Medical documentation is a required component of patient care in all health care professions. Objective: To evaluate athletic trainers’ perceived behaviors toward, barriers to, and confidence in their medical documentation. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Web-based survey. Patients or Other Participants: We purchased a list of randomly selected e-mails from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. Of the 9578 participants, 1150 accessed our questionnaire (12.0% access rate), 1053 completed at least 1 portion, and 904 completed the questionnaire in its entirety (85.8% completion rate). Of the participants, 60.1% (n ¼ 569/ 947) were female, 66.6% (n ¼ 632/949) held a master’s degree, 39.3% (n ¼ 414/1053) worked in a collegiate or university setting, and 36.1% (n ¼ 381/1053) worked in a secondary school setting. Main Outcome Measure(s): We used a 31-item questionnaire with demographics (12 items), medical documentation behaviors (16 items), barriers (2 items), and perceptions (1 multipart item) sections. The questionnaire explored athletic trainers’ behaviors as well as confidence in, comfort with, and concerns about their documentation practices (Cronbach a ¼ 0.887). We used descriptive statistics to identify characteristics of central tendency (mean, standard deviation, mode, frequency). Results: Participants always (45.7%, n ¼ 478/1046) or very frequently (39.0%, n ¼ 408/1046) used a double documentation system consisting of electronic and paper records (50.4%, n ¼ 523/1038). They most often documented to provide legal protection (86.8%, n ¼ 914/1053), because it is a legal obligation (79.1%, n ¼ 833/1053), or to track patient progress (83.9%, n ¼ 883/1053). The most frequently cited barriers to medical documentation were time (76.5%, n ¼ 806/1053), managing too many patients (51.9%, n ¼ 547/1053), technological concerns (17.2%, n ¼ 181/1053), and software limitations (17.2%, n ¼ 181/1053). Respondents believed they were competent, comfortable, and confident in their documentation practices. Conclusions: We were able to evaluate the generalizability of previous research while adding to the understanding of the behaviors toward, barriers to, and perceptions about medical documentation. We confirmed that time and patient load affected the ability to perform high-quality medical documentation.

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