Running a counselling and therapy practice comes with its own sets of challenges. Helping clients flourish and running & growing your practice both require 100% from you — leaving you with too much to do within too little time. With the competition in the market today, this could easily lead you toward burnout. Digitization, then, is the answer, and the healthcare sector is making the most of it through practice management software.
Practice management software is designed to automate and streamline your practice’s administrative tasks such as appointment scheduling, billing, managing sessions, and so on, ideally at a very reasonable rate. The best therapy practice management software should offer you a whole range of tools to use for different business aspects, on a single platform, so you may hold sessions in-person, online, or both.
This will allow you to focus on what’s more important — delivering treatment to patients — and save time and effort in growing the business.
However, the market is crowded with different practice management software for therapists, each one with its own unique offering, and choosing the right one can get tricky and laborious. This blog post lays down a software evaluation checklist for you to ease the decision-making process.
Here are 8 criteria you should look for in a therapy and counseling practice management software before you settle on one:
Patient confidentiality is of the utmost importance to any therapist, and this needs to translate to the practice management software as it will be managing and storing sensitive client information. Hence, maintaining a stringent security protocol — including end-to-end encryption, password protection, user control, and so on — becomes the first requirement in an ideal practice management software. The platform must be HIPAA-compliant.
Plug: Simply.Coach is not just HIPAA-compliant, but also SO2, GDPR, and ISO 27001-compliant. The hosting solution is offered by AWS — the world’s most secure hosting partner – and data is encrypted both in transit as well as at rest.
The next most sought-after characteristic in practice management software is flexibility in terms of accessibility. Any cloud-based software can be termed flexible as these platforms can be accessed by any authorized user from any web-connected device at anytime from anywhere.
When you offer your service as a therapist, your aim is to deliver the best possible client experience. The functionality of practice management software is not only designed to help you offer a remarkable client experience but free you from the monotonous and time-consuming admin work. Make sure that the platform you choose facilitates the following basic functionalities:
a. Easy and reliable scheduling
Managing a busy session schedule can take up a lot of time in the day. Good practice management software will ensure that your calendar is streamlined seamlessly and deftly. Automatic calendar syncing ensures that you, your associates, and your clients are on the same page regards to appointment updates and meeting schedules.
b. Incorporates billing and accounting features
Invoicing and billing are not an easy affair for therapists, as clients tend to pay by the sessions rather than a retainer as with other businesses. This makes keeping track of invoicing and payments a complex affair. Practice management software should support and help streamline the accounting process, ensure easy, quick and accurate billing/ invoicing, provide access to a safe and secure payment portal to your clients, and so on.
c. Reporting facility
As a therapist, you may want to track a client’s progress towards behavioral goals. This, however, can be tricky – how does one track behavioral change, or check in on how a client’s feelings have evolved over time? An ideal practice management software will help you use online tools to check-in on your clients and create a map of progress over time.
d. Store and manage medical records
When you offer your services online, you will most likely store all your records related to your practice online. Hence, you should select practice management software that has a proper storage facility with all the information security measures in place.
When you subscribe with Simply.Coach, you can upload relevant files or links or videos and store a considerable amount of client information while maintaining absolute confidentiality.
When you compare different practice management software, cost-effectiveness is often the deciding factor. Different platforms have different pricing plans to offer depending on the features you need or the stage of business growth your practice is in. Settle for a software that offers the best price without you having to compromise on any of the features necessary for your practice. However, make sure that there’s no hidden cost involved.
A good practice management software should be able to scale and adapt itself to your changing requirement as your practice grows. As your practice grows, you may need to use multiple software for reaching newer horizons, for example by creating session packages, creating a proprietary framework from your approach, and so on. The right platform will offer these features (usually with their higher pricing plans), so you don’t need to look elsewhere.
6. User experience
The right practice management software is one whose functionalities are easily comprehensible for you and your associates. You and your team should be able to navigate through the platform with minimum vendor supervision and learn the nitty-gritty of the software as quickly as possible. In case the practice management software is integrated with a client portal, consider that your clients should also be able to use it with ease.
7. Customer support system
When you incorporate a brand-new software in your practice, it is likely that you and your team will need initial guidance and come across various adjustment issues. Hence, it’s always advisable to go with a practice management software that has a solid customer support system — a team who are eager to help you make the most of the platform for your business.
8. Availability of free trial
Most leading software companies offer a free trial of their practice management software product to prospective subscribers. A free trial period is often necessary for you to try features, get a feel for the usability and potential benefits, and then take an informed decision.
We hope this software evaluation checklist is of great help to you when you’re evaluating practice management software. However, at the end of the day, just one or two of these factors – or perhaps another one we haven’t included – may be more important to your business than anything else. Our final tip, then, would be to go with what’s best for your business. You may also go through different practice management software reviews specific to your niche (mental health, psychotherapy, speech, occupational, etc.)
Meanwhile, if you have your own software evaluation criteria checklist, we’d love to hear from you! Feel free to post a reply in the comment section below and get the discussion started.
Sources: Medicaldirector, Carepatron, Offthecusp, Iinsight.biz
1. What should I look for in therapy practice management software?
Some of the features you should look for in a practice management program are:
- Appointment scheduling
- Video conferencing tool integrations
- Documentation facility
- Patient portal
- Analytics and Reporting facility
- Security: HIPAA-compliance
- Medical billing facility
- EHR integration
2. What is a practice management or therapy software?
Practice management software helps orchestrate the administrative side of any healthcare business enterprise. It generally works as a single platform, which integrates multiple essential tools like appointment scheduling, billing, medical information storage, customized templates, insurance claim submission, etc.
3. What is the cost of any therapy and counselling practice management software?
You can easily find therapy practice management software in the range of $29 to $49 per month for single users. There may be a few software that cost more (around $75/ month). ‘Best Value’ awarded software like Simply.Coach, in the meanwhile, start pricing plans from as low as $9 per month when paid annually.
4. Can practice management software help with telehealth and virtual therapy sessions?
A practice management software provides all the necessary assistance required for a telehealth and blended therapy sessions. Some of the essential services include offering note templates, scheduling sessions, online billing and payments, video conferencing facility, dedicated patient portal, etc.
5. How can practice management software streamline administrative tasks and save time for therapists?
Practice management software for therapists takes the admin load off your shoulders, collates all the required client information in a centralized system, and automates the backend functionalities of your business. You can thus allot the time saved on jobs more pressing in your practice.
6. What digital tools do therapists need?
The digital tools essential for therapists in their practice are Appointment scheduling, Patient portal, Documentation, Billing and payments, Teletherapy tools, Visitor management software, etc.
7. What should I put on my therapist website?
Some tips and tricks that helps draw more potential clients towards your website are:
- Clear communication on homepage
- An easy & direct call to action
- Showcase your skills & services.
- A solid SEO strategy
8. How do I organize myself as a therapist?
Some of the ways therapists can organize themselves are:
- Setting deadlines and sticking to the same
- Avoid procrastination
- Have an emergency plan ready
- Automate the repetitive tasks to stay focused on your practice
Simply.Coach is an enterprise-grade coaching software designed to be used by individual coaches and coaching businesses. Trusted by ICF-accredited and EMCC-credentialed coaches worldwide, Simply.Coach is on a mission to elevate the experience and process of coaching with technology-led tools and solutions.