As a doctor, huge amounts of time are spent documenting things. For this reason, templates can be very helpful as a time saving device. But the most important thing is to make sure to edit the template carefully.
When I was a PGY2 rotating at the VA, I admitted a woman for rehab for a right hip replacement. I used the "Hip Replacement" template in writing up her H&P, which was basically an H&P that had been done on a prior hip replacement patient.
A few days later, I was looking over the woman's H&P and to my horror, I realized that I had referred to the patient in the physical as a "Pleasant Somoan gentleman." And since I had already electronically signed the document, it was not editable, so there was no way to correct it. To my second horror, my attending had written an addendum that said, "Correction: Patient is a Caucasian female and not a Somoan gentleman."
Here's the worst part:
About a year later, I was rotating at the VA again, and that same woman came back to have her left hip done. I had my templates ready, and even though I told myself about a dozen times to be careful, I somehow managed to forget to edit that part again. So now I had written two separate H&P's on this woman referring to her as a "pleasant Somoan gentleman."
In summary, sometimes it's better not to use a template.