Running a mental health practice involves a whole lot more than simply delivering treatments. While blended care solutions such as mobile health apps, video therapy tech, and electronic health records (EHR) offer some support in the way of practice management, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
If you’re looking to grow your practice, expand your client base, and streamline the way you interact with clients, the rapidly expanding psychotherapy software may hold an answer.
What features, then, can you expect to benefit from as a professional counselor, therapist, or mental health specialist? And how can they help you achieve your business goals? We’ll explore the answers to these questions in this article, before taking a closer glimpse into some example platforms that cater to all practice sizes and types, from small start-ups to larger enterprises.
What is Psychotherapy Software?
Psychotherapy software or “teletherapy software” refers to any software or psychotherapy application that aims to improve how practitioners can provide and deliver care.
Virtual care apps and software systems utilize a variety of tools and methods – anything from scheduling, to insurance, and clinical documentation.
Psychotherapy software also applies to applications that enhance management and billing processes. These virtual care apps and software systems utilize a variety of tools and methods – anything from scheduling, to insurance, and clinical documentation.
Types of Teletherapy Platforms
There are a few different types of software that practitioners can use to integrate and streamline their blended care services:
- In some cases, a psychotherapy software vendor will sell just one application as a singular solution, like psychotherapy note templates and storage solutions.
- Other forms of psychotherapy software use a combination of processes to offer fully integrated programs, such those combining EHR suites with directory listings, file-sharing capabilities, and mobile therapy platforms for therapists.
- Single-form applications are typically less expensive than more integrated teletherapy software and applications. Some of the most robust psychotherapy apps enable therapists to run their practice remotely, while on-the-go. They can even conduct telehealth sessions all within the secure and compliant software.
Psychotherapy Software for Therapists
The type of psychotherapy software a therapist needs will depend on several factors, including the size of their practice and budget.
How Large is your Practice?
A few other factors that will influence the scope and breadth of a particular app a therapist should sign up for, including but not limited to options for:
- Solo practice – ideal for small providers or sole traders;
- Education centers;
- Outpatient facilities;
- Group practices;
- Social service organizations; and
- Multi-clinic organizations – the largest option, often designed for optimizing collaboration between time- and location-independent practitioners.
Larger organizations will typically need a more robust psychotherapy billing and management application since these practices will employ a range of professionals and specialties. Smaller practices or solo practices that outsource their medical billing and electronic medical record (EMR) storage may benefit from standalone apps. Standalone mental health apps can be an affordable way to fill in the gaps with a practice’s health information technology.
An example of this would be if a therapist has a goal to digitize their patient’s psychotherapy progress notes. A standalone app that just handles psychotherapy session notes might be a more practical option than investing in a fully integrated EHR model. It does not make sense to over-invest in superfluous digital technologies that the practice cannot handle or has no use for.
When would a fully integrated EHR make sense? If a practice has multiple users and needs a high level of coordination for patient care, then EHR suites make more sense. With these psychotherapy apps, the goal is for therapists to track their patient health outcomes, as well as the clinic’s billing and budget needs and goals, more efficiently. If your therapeutic goal is smaller, for instance conducting experience sampling data, a single app may suffice.
How Do They Work?
There’s a wide variety of apps for psychologists on the market today.
Most of the tools provided within these different apps will vary from one piece of software to the next. But the most common psychotherapy apps, both standalone and integrated, will feature the following types of components:
- Clinical Documentation
With these apps, therapists can review, store, and create psychotherapy progress notes and psychotherapy notes. Other patient records can also be stored within these types of apps, such as psychotherapy intake notes, progress note examples, treatment plans, and past medical history records.
Many apps also include psychotherapy progress note templates and psychotherapy treatment plan documents. These apps are also HIPAA-compliant and come with a range of security measures and encryptions to keep sensitive data safe.
- Appointment Scheduling
These apps allow users to make and set single and also recurring appointments with ease within a digital calendar. More robust systems allow users to track any session cancellations or no-shows. Therapists can also send automatic appointment reminders that can be sent to patients as an email, phone call, or as a text message.
- Electronic Claim Filing
With these psychotherapy applications, users can file an electronic claim in the system. The app also lets therapists track the progress of the claims that have either been submitted, accepted, or approved.
Psychotherapy billing software gives therapists a range of convenient options for different billing functions. For example, many applications allow therapists to generate a patient invoice, statement, or superbill. Applications can also make single or group CMS-1500s and even billing reports.
Psychotherapy apps with coding features allow therapists to take advantage of faster, more accurate coding options. For example, users can select the correct DSM-5 or ICD-10 codes from a convenient pre-populated menu.
Current Trends in Psychotherapy Software
After an organization’s software needs are identified, and an organization is in the process of identifying vendors, therapists must understand two significant market trends.
One of the most important choices an organization will make in regards to psychotherapy software is whether the app will run as a cloud-based system or as an onsite system. In recent years, cloud-based systems have become incredibly popular for a range of reasons.
They bring several benefits to the organization that an on-premise system can’t provide, such as:
- Offer remote access
- Cost less than on-premise systems
- The vendor handles updates to the software
- The vendor maintains the system
However, cloud-based systems are difficult to access for practices located in rural and remote locations. Broadband internet is required to run a cloud-based system.
No matter what, cloud-based and onsite psychotherapy software systems both offer therapists the same types of abilities. But cloud-based systems are more convenient and often less expensive than the alternative.
Compliance with Security Laws
Two strict security and privacy laws help protect sensitive patient data. Violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information and Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) will result in steep fees and penalties.
When shopping for a vendor, therapists need to understand that reputable ones will make sure their clients understand how their software helps them achieve and maintain compliance with these acts.
Fortunately, most reputable and experienced vendors will explain data protection and the software’s encryption capabilities.
5 Best Psychotherapy Apps for Billing and Software
Ready to take a look at some apps? Below are some of the most popular integrated and standalone psychotherapy software programs on the market today.
|TherapyNotes is also an incredibly popular psychotherapy practice software. TherapyNotes does not have an app yet, but it scores highly on ease-of-use. It’s a cloud-based software system designed for both psychotherapy and behavioral health practices, and includes electronic health records or EHR, and the following components:|
TherapyNotes is also suitable for practices of varying sizes and with multiple or single users. People who need access to the system outside the office will like the cloud-based technology used for TherapyNotes. Also, Therapy Notes offers clinicians specialty note templates, such as:
TherapyNotes makes it easy for clinicians to create and tailor psychotherapy treatment plans, psychotherapy progress notes, termination notices, and psychological evaluations. More than 60,000 medical professionals have signed up with TherapyNotes, and the system helps clinicians simplify critical psychotherapy private practice administrative work. With TherapyNotes, mental health professionals can spend more time treating patients and less time dealing with paperwork, billing, and other minutiae.
|Good For||Practice Management, EHR, Patient Interactions|
|In a survey on popular psychotherapy apps, over a third of surveyed therapists used the SimplePractice to make operations run more smoothly. 90% of surveyed therapists found SimplePractice ease-of-use the most attractive feature of the app.|
It’s one of the favorites for psychotherapy bills and psychotherapy software on our list. With high satisfaction scores, it’s not hard to see why so many clinicians like this psychotherapy application. Some of the tasks therapists can complete with SimplePractice and the features the app includes are:
SimplePractice also features a client portal that allows clients to connect with their therapist outside of sessions. Therapists can also bill insurance companies within the app itself, and even conduct therapy sessions remotely with telehealth – all within the secure app. Instead of using numerous psychotherapy management software programs, SimplePractice makes life easier. You can perform all of the tasks related to client management and billing inside one fully-integrated app.
|Good For||Client Interactions, Practice Management|
|TheraBill is psychotherapy management software that is designed for both mental health professionals and speech therapists. Users can manage patient schedules, submit billing and insurance claims, and also access the system remotely through the cloud.|
Both solo psychotherapy private practice and group practices can benefit from using TheraBill software. Social workers, psychologists, developmental therapists, and nutritionists can use TheraBill.
Additional TheraBill features include:
Practitioners can also document their patient’s sessions with customizable psychotherapy note templates.
|Good For||Billing, Note Taking, Practice Management|
|Independent practices can take advantage of the unique features present in AdvancedMD EHR software. This integrated psychotherapy software suite includes the following types of components:|
All of these features seamlessly integrate into an automated workflow for greater efficiency. This is a robust software program that allows users to remotely access the system via an iOS device such as an iPhone or an iPad. The cloud-based technology also features some of the tightest security levels available in this type of psychotherapy software. The system can run on almost any device, including Mac and Windows systems.
The integrated workflows are incredibly convenient for therapists. The workflow automates the entire patient journey and allows patients to make appointments, either onsite or with telemedicine services. Users can also set up automated appointment reminders for greater patient engagement. The staff is also alerted to any potential scheduling issues. With this software application, patient consent forms can be sent through a secure patient portal and then collected into the patient’s chart. Users can chart and manage patient prescriptions from any location.
|Good For||Telemedicine, Practice Management|
|Kareo is a web-based software application that’s designed to benefit a range of healthcare practices, not just psychotherapy. Thousands of physicians use Kareo for both practice management and billing purposes.|
The system is best for smaller practices and billing companies. Kareo allows clinicians to perform the following tasks and functions:
Signing up with Kareo and using the software is extremely efficient, with many practices up and running on the app in as little as two days.
It’s a no-contract system with a low monthly fee, making it attractive for smaller practices especially. No setup fees and cloud-based technology mean fewer upfront and ongoing costs of using the software. Mental health practices, family practitioners, podiatrists, pediatricians can all benefit from using Kareo as a convenient and affordable software option.
|Name||Kareo Clinical EHR Software|
|Good For||Practice Management, Billing, Client Interactions|
For psychotherapists, keeping accurate notes on patient progress is critical, and prescribing psychotherapy treatment plans a must. Fortunately, there is no shortage of software for psychotherapy practices that make clinical documentation and clinical note-taking much easier, all while tracking patients’ session histories. Even some of the most robust and helpful psychotherapy software is relatively inexpensive to sign up for and use.
Standalone systems are ideal for smaller practices with an equally lower volume of psychotherapy progress notes needing to be stored. But larger practices with higher note-taking volume can benefit from a fully-integrated EHR suite and appointment booking software for psychotherapy practices.
Keep this list in mind when searching for a software vendor for your practice.
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- ^ Fantus, S., & Mishna, F. (2013). The ethical and clinical implications of utilizing cybercommunication in face-to-face therapy. Smith College Studies in Social Work, 83(4), 466.