There’s no denying that technology has changed our personal and professional worlds throughout the past few decades. New tech solutions have changed the way therapists provide care to their clients, saving precious time and resources. However, with so many business tools out there all claiming to be the best, it can take a lot of research to figure out what solutions will work for your private practice. You want to choose wisely because your business processes can directly impact the smoothness of your client experience.
First, make sure the essential processes are in place and functioning well. You should have systems for documentation, billing and finances, and scheduling. These are at the core of your company, and you most likely use them on a daily or hourly basis.
If there’s a system you find taking too much time, breaking down, or just frustrating you and your team, it’s time to search for another solution.
For new technology solutions that require a monetary investment from your practice, consider the cost and benefits. Do a quick estimated cost analysis before investing to make sure it’s worth changing over.
Let’s get into the specifics. We’ve gathered all of the tech tools that we know can improve workflow for therapists and other mental health professionals.
If you don’t have one in place already, you will need an Electronic Health Records (EHR) tool to help you organize billing and client information and insurance claims. While there are a number of tools available for this, Simple Practice is among the top-ranked platforms. The software is HIPAA compliant, allows clients to fill out paperwork online, and on some of their plans, you can integrate an appointment scheduler right on your website. We do not recommend Simple Practice for their website services, however. While setup is easy, there is little room for customization and your site ends up looking like everyone else who uses the platform.
Throughout the past few years, we’ve seen a steep increase in demand for online therapy services. If you intend to offer telehealth sessions, a HIPAA-compliant video conferencing service is a must. We prefer Zoom for Healthcare, because of its simple interface and the fact that many individuals are already familiar with it. We’ve found that Zoom works well on desktop and mobile devices. Many EHR systems (like Simple Practice) include this in their service offerings so you’ll want to know what you’re paying for!
We love the security and simplicity of Gmail for Business. For a low monthly fee, you can get email and chat services, your own custom gmail address, voice and video calls, calendar, and integrations with other Google services without having to leave your inbox. HIPAA compliance with email platforms is a huge concern for therapists, and we’re happy to report that Gmail checks all the boxes.
Maybe going paperless is a goal for your practice. If this is the case, you can use an app like Goodnotes to take notes in your own handwriting with an iPad and Apple Pencil. You can then organize your notes by client or project. If you ever have a need to share or print your notes, you can simply download them as a PDF document.
Have you ever wondered if you could automate your business processes between two different platforms? Zapier could be your solution. It has the ability to connect over 5,000 apps, creating “zaps” that make your systems speak to one another. For example, you could trigger a message to be sent to your team in Slack when a new lead comes through via Facebook. Or, you could send a lead directly to an email list when they fill out a form. The options for automation are endless, and the best part is that Zapier offers a free account with upgrades available.
Physical printed paperwork and signatures are a thing of the past. Go paperless with software that allows you to email all required documents to clients before they step into your office. This can help you save time and stay organized. Adobe Sign has HIPAA-compliant configurations so that you can use it in the mental health care space. Again, depending on your EHR provider, this may be something they provide.
Although many clients (especially the younger ones) prefer to reach out via email or online scheduling, some still like having the option to pick up the phone and call your office. There are a few different options out there for HIPAA-Compliant VoIP providers.
Hubspot offers a wide range of marketing and sales tools. Nurturing your leads and creating new leads is easier with the automated processes from a site like Hubspot. You can organize and segment your leads’ contact information, create email campaigns, create signup forms, and more.
If you need to create any form of graphic design, Canva is an excellent free resource to have in your toolbox! Canva is a user-friendly way to improve your social media presence, from editing video clips to creating infographics. They offer templates for various formats of social posts, presentations, logos, and even printed materials like brochures and flyers. Many templates and tools are available for free, but with a paid Canva Pro account you can access even more. If you’re not sure where to start, check out Canva’s beginner guide.
If one of your business goals is to create another income stream through memberships, online courses, coaching, or podcasting, Kajabi can help. They also have built-in CRM and tools to grow your audience through marketing campaigns.
While there are many different versions of the software below, our team at Theory About That has personal experience with each of these platforms, and many of them we couldn’t do without!
If you’ve ever accidentally double-booked yourself or emailed back and forth about when to schedule a meeting, you should check into Calendly. It works as a scheduling hub where you can show your availability and allow others to book a specific time slot with you. Also automate reminders, “thank you” emails, follow-up requests, feedback surveys, and booking confirmations. Calendly integrates with many other platforms, including Gmail and Outlook, so that your meetings will appear on your calendar.
Whatever you need organized - from client notes to back-end business data, there’s probably a way to do it with Google Workspace. You can store files in Google Drive folders, take notes in Google Docs, and track data in Google Sheets.
To-do lists scribbled on post-it notes are a thing of the past. Wrike is a the modern way to track all of your to-do’s and keep all of the important documents and information related to a project grouped together. You can assign tasks to yourself or other members of your team, share files, create timelines and due dates, and analyze progress. There are free and paid versions of Wrike depending on your practice’s needs. At Theory About That, we lovingly refer to Wrike as the “brain” of our business. We couldn’t do what we do without it!
If improving productivity at your practice is a goal of yours, a time tracker can help. Toggl is a desktop app that seamlessly tracks your time spent on various tasks at the click of a mouse. At the end of the week or month, you can look back and see how much time you and your team have spent on specific projects. Save reports to track your progress or schedule reports to automatically be sent to your email to remind you to reevaluate how company time is being spent.
Slack is widely used within organizations for quick day-to-day communication. Messages are organized within “channels,” which can be your various projects or teams. Slack is downloaded as an app that can be used on your desktop or mobile device, making it easy to read and reply to messages quickly throughout the day. You can segment communication, share files, and search messages to find what you need. Some ideas for “channels” to organize messages in your office could be “administrative,” “clinician team,” or “client experience.”
Even if you have an EHR system in place, you will also need an accounting software. Quickbooks is a simple way to track income and expenses, make payments to employees and contractors, and evaluate your financial standing. They charge a monthly fee, but also offer free tools and resources for business owners on their website.
If you are looking for a way to create your own website that doesn’t need a lot of customization, Squarespace is a great option. It’s user-friendly interface allows you to create beautiful webpages using their award-winning templates. Squarespace also has tools for email marketing and search engine optimization.
Learn more about various solutions for your therapy or private practice website here.