Future strategies to enhance patient care documentation among athletic trainers: A report from the athletic training practice-based research network

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Journal of Athletic Training


Context: High-quality patient care documentation is an essential component of any health care professional’s daily practice. Whereas athletic trainers (ATs) recognize the importance of patient care documentation, several barriers may prevent them from producing high-quality patient care documentation. Objective: To explore beneficial strategies and techniques that ATs perceived would enhance the quality of patient care documentation in the secondary school setting. Design: Qualitative study. Setting: Individual telephone interviews. Patients or Other Participants: Ten ATs who were members of the Athletic Training Practice-Based Research Network and employed in the secondary school setting were interviewed (4 men, 6 women with 7.1 6 7.8 years of athletic training experience). Data Collection and Analysis: An individual telephone interview was conducted with each participant. Once transcribed, data were analyzed into common themes and categories per the consensual qualitative research tradition. Trustworthiness of the data was achieved through triangulation strategies: (1) the inclusion of multiple researchers to ensure accuracy and representativeness of the data and (2) participant member checking. Results: Participants identified several documentation strategies they perceived would be helpful to improve the quality of patient care documentation, including mode and consistency of documentation and the need for a standardized process as well as the need for system standardization. In addition, participants discussed the need for more education on patient care documentation. Specifically, they identified ways of learning and strategies for future education to enhance patient care documentation across the profession. Conclusions: As athletic training continues to evolve, it is crucial that ATs are well educated on how to produce high-quality patient care documentation as a part of routine practice. Continuing professional development opportunities are needed to promote lifelong learning in the area of patient care documentation.

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