Supporting reflective practice in acupuncture for pregnancy: Dr Debra Betts on Noted

It goes without saying that health professionals want good outcomes for their patients. For Dr Debra Betts, a world-renowned practitioner, educator, and researcher of acupuncture for pregnancy, tracking patients’ outcomes is part of her reflective practice. We talked to Debra about using Noted to support her work.

Why did you make the switch from paper patient notes to electronic ones?

I’m not naturally attracted to computer based products. But I could see Noted’s potential for record keeping. In my practice, I like to have an overview of who we’re treating, what we’re treating, our treatment choices and the outcomes for our patients. I’m interested in how women perceive acupuncture. It helps me reflect on my practice and notice any trends that we can share within our clinic and with our colleagues. Before Noted, I used paper files. In the holidays, I’d transfer information from my paper files into an excel spreadsheet by hand. It was hugely time consuming!

You saw the potential for efficiently collating information about patients?

Yes. It’s a great way of tracking what is happening for our patients. But there are other benefits too.

What are the other benefits?

In my work with students, Noted helps them keep accurate and complete records about our patients. Safety is critical. Noted follows the format of a clinical interview and prompts for safety questions that people may forget to record – whether there are no problems or difficulties. Noted provides evidence that students and clinicians have asked those questions and followed through. And it has other built-in features – like capturing all the information needed to make an ACC claim.

So, Noted provides safety and administrative benefits.

Practice benefits too. It’s easy to check on your notes from previous visits when a patient comes back in. And it’s easy to record new treatments. Within the clinic, we can share and read patient notes.

What has the transition from paper to Noted been like in your practice?

I found I’ve had to change the initial session a little. Before I get behind the computer, I build rapport with the patients and listen to their concerns. Then I invite them to help me record what they’ve said. For example, I say, I’m just going to record what you’ve told me – and I summarise what they’ve said and they can see me putting it into Noted. The initial session can take a little more time, but having the notes easily available for review before the next session, more than makes up for that. And my students have taken to the computer format without any problems.

What would you say to other practitioners considering Noted?

Think about the advantages for your practice: systematic, accurate document keeping, safety and compliance features, and being able to easily track the outcomes for your patients.

It’s exciting tools like Noted are being developed. And they’re being developed with professionals who understand what clinical consultations are about. We’re not having to squeeze into a system that doesn’t encompass the way we work. Noted makes it easy to systematically capture professional observations – who we’re treating, what we’re treating and to what effect. With this tool we can collate data about acupuncture in pregnancy and share that learning within and beyond our field.

Photo of Dr Debra Betts

Dr Debra Betts PhD. Acupuncture

Dr Debra Betts is an authority on using acupuncture to support pregnancy and obstetric care. A long time practitioner, researcher and educator, Debra’s book The Essential Guide to Acupuncture in Pregnancy & Childbirth (2006), has been translated into German and French. Today you’ll find Dr Betts supervising students using acupuncture at Hutt’s Hospital’s antenatal acupuncture clinic in Wellington, New Zealand, or giving lectures internationally on the use of acupuncture in pregnancy and obstetric care.

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