Understanding your needs as a growing blended care practice is the key to finding the telehealth solution for your organization. As their client and service lists grow, most mental health professionals find themselves searching for reliable, user-friendly software that integrates both teletherapy and administrative functions in one single solution.
Simple Practice is perhaps one of the best-known care management and telepsychology platforms on the market today, with a considerable range of tools for more streamlined blended care organizations.
In this review, we’ll explore its features and capabilities, to see whether it lives up to the hype.
Features of Simple Practice
Simple Practice includes a suite of tools designed to simplify practice management, such as medical scheduling, insurance claims management, and a self-service Client Portal.
On the mental healthcare side of things, the therapy app offers HIPAA-compliant video telehealth for virtual sessions, secure private messaging, and EMR/EHR capabilities.
Take a look at these features together in the table below, to help you decide whether they meet your requirements as a practitioner.
|Appointment Scheduling||✓||Clinicians can create appointments in different offices and a video/telehealth office for virtual sessions. Clients and patients can request appointments from the Client Portal, and make payments online in advance when Stripe is configured.|
Syncs with iCal, Google Calendar, and Outlook.
|Billing & Invoicing||✓||Generates individual invoices, bulk invoices, and auto-generates bills from attended sessions.|
|Insurance Claims Management||✓||Claims tracking supported, as well as superbills.|
|Note-taking and Document Management||✓||Limited Progress Notes and Psychotherapy Notes functions.|
|Multiple Providers||✓||Team and single-practitioner monthly subscriptions available. Telehealth sessions offered as an additional extra.|
|Practice Management Reports||✓||Some client, insurance, and practice reports supported, exportable as spreadsheets.|
|Client Portal||✓||Online booking/self-scheduling capabilities, supports document upload, includes intake forms and various discipline-specific forms, secure messaging, and billing/payment view.|
|EMR/EHR||✓||Limited EHR features, however document uploads are possible.|
20 Advantages and Disadvantages
This table gives you an overview of Simple Practice pros and cons in a nutshell.
Target Audience and Pricing
The solution offers a good deal of functionality for smaller multi-provider practices, as well as solo practitioners. As well as being a telepsychology solution for e-therapists and mental health coaches, it can also be used by:
- Speech Therapists
- Physical Therapists
- Dieticians and Nutritionists
- Life Coaches
- Wellness Coaches, and other professionals offering blended care servies.
Because Simple Practice doesn’t currently offer e-prescribing functionality, it’s not an all-in-one solution for telepsychiatrists and other telemedicine providers.
Simple Practice Pricing
Simple Practice offers two plans, on a monthly subscription basis.
Each differs with respect to how many team members can use the software, and the Professional Plan also provides access to more of the solution’s features:
- The Essentials Plan costs $39 per month, and
- The Professional Plan is $59+ monthly.
Additionally, telehealth video functionality is charged on a per-clinician basis at $10 per month, and each further clinical user will pay $39/month to access Simple Practice’s services.
Simple Practice vs. Its Competitors (Chart)
As one of the more feature-packed private practice solutions on the market, Simple Practice has a vast user base. But given the quickly expanding range of telehealth software solutions today, so do many others.
Case Study Example
We kicked off our 30-day free trial by setting up as a multi-provider behavioral health practice with three clinicians: two Behavioral Health therapists and an Applied Behavior Analysis specialist. We also added practice administrators to explore the solution’s e-clinic management capabilities more fully.
This was very quick and simple to do in the Settings tab, where we were able to configure our different practitioners’ access levels in a few clicks. We found everything very straightforward, thanks to a user-friendly, easy-to-navigate menu full of intuitive drop-down menus.
Simple Practice has an attractive, clean layout that’s easy for even first-time telehealth software users to find their way around in. A straightforward menu lists all the key practice management and mental health functions:
- Calendar: Viewable by all team members with access, and which includes all locations and providers
- Clients: Patients and customers can be added manually or imported using a CSV or Excel file
- Billing: That shows sessions, invoices, and payments, alongside options to create billing documents, export transactions, and perform other financial functions
- Reports: Where client, insurance, and activity reports can be accessed
- Account Activity: Which lists all user actions
- Settings: A control panel for configuring different setup details, such as practice locations, team members, and more.
Once new clients are added, either by bulk importing them or manually adding them, the software offers an easy link to create standalone or recurring appointments. To save practice time, appointment scheduling is also possible from the Calendar page – here, a dropdown menu includes specialty-specific options for different session types, such as group therapy or psychiatric evaluation diagnoses.
Appointment types can be color-coded for easier identification and payments can be noted, for example, if a client has made a cash payment in person.
Another nice feature of Simple Practice’s Client profiles was the way it centralized invoicing and scheduling information into a single page. On the right, we could toggle between their invoice history, uploaded files, upcoming appointments, and we could even send secure instant messages in the chatbox provided.
The system itself comes with a pre-loaded example client, so that users can try out its different functions right away.
Billing and Invoicing
Simple Practice’s Billing functions can be used to create individual invoices on a per-session basis, or users can autogenerate monthly statements and superbills for insurance co-pays.
In each Client’s Billing and Info page, practice admin and clinicians with access can also add
- Add insurance information
- Authorize claims tracking
- Enter credit card details for self-service Client Portal payments, and
- Select a client’s default services, e.g. Family Therapy.
The software also autogenerates individual invoices for export, either as a PDF or to send to their Client Portal with an optional notification.
Three broad categories of reports can be created using Simple Practice:
- Client Reports – e.g. attendance, invoices, unpaid invoices, and outstanding balances
- Insurance Reports – such as unpaid insurance appointments, electronic payment reports, claims filed and insurance processing fees, and
- Practice Reports, among others, these include income received, income charged by clinician, and overall practice income by month.
These can be exported as spreadsheets for an overview of various key statistics.
Videoconferencing functionality for e-therapists and telepractitioners is an optional service with Simple Practice, and allows mental health practitioners to conduct secure, HIPAA-compliant telehealth sessions from within the app itself.
An unlimited number of video therapy sessions are supported once the optional $10/month is added to a user’s account. As well as being HIPAA-compliant, it runs both on mobile and desktop browsers and can be accessed by patients and practitioners in just a few clicks.
While we were testing the software from a Client’s perspective, we found that the platform does offer a Telehealth by Simple Practice app for patients that want a dedicated videoconferencing solution on their mobile devices.
The software’s Client Portal allows patients and coaching clients to view upcoming sessions, request appointments on the practice calendar, view and make payments, and fill out forms.
While it took only a few seconds to set up on our user end, we found it offered a useful suite of mental healthcare templates for common therapy forms.
This meant we could preload important documents such as:
- Intake Questionnaires
- Release of Information Consent
- Psychotherapy Informed Consent Forms
- Consent for Telehealth Consultations, and
- Specialty-specific forms.
Among the latter, we found the system had suggested the DSM-5 PTSD Checklist and Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale Symptom Checklist based on our specialty, eliminating the need for patients to fill them out in-surgery.
As the screengrab above shows, clients could join our teletherapy sessions with a single click.
There is some limited support for custom Progress Notes with Simple Practice, however they was a far cry from the detailed, discipline-specific templates that we encountered when testing some other software, e.g. ICANotes, Clinicsource, or TheraNest.
As a result, we were unable to use Simple Practice in any real way to create Treatment Plans.
A Look at the Simple Practice App
Simple Practice has both an Android and an iPhone app that enables its features to be accessed by practitioners on the go.
Free to download, the app itself can be used to securely view and edit:
- Calendar appointments
- Clients and contacts – here, upcoming appointments are also listed
- Reminders, such as to create Treatment Plans and Diagnoses, invoice clients, add notes, or follow up unpaid bills
The secure messaging feature sends protected, custom instant messages directly to clients. For confidentiality reasons, it’s not possible to take screenshots from the app itself.
5 Customer Reviews
The biggest complaint most customers had was the Simple Practice’s customer support. Most notably, users felt they couldn’t access timely information to solve problems:
“Don’t let them blame the poor customer service or lack of phone support on COVID19. Even trying to email them for support is frustrating. The link is buried in layers of “online resources” they expect you to use first.” – TrustPilot
The challenges users were tackling included complex progress notes and the solution’s reporting functions:
“There are so many fundamental issues with this EHR, like they haven’t figured out how to integrate treatment plans with progress notes! My staff are complaining about how clunky and difficult the notes are to use. I can’t run a simple report of email addresses for all my clients so that we can communicate effectively with them regarding COVID-19. Reports in general are terribly lacking!” – TrustPilot
Others had more positive things to say about its practice management features, such as invoicing, charting, and calendar management:
“The billing, charting, and scheduling features are very easy to use. It is very intuitive and only took us about a week and a half to figure out the basics–not bad considering that some people need a whole month to figure out their platform.” – TrustPilot
And other blended care practitioners found its mental healthcare functions to be modern and user-friendly:
“The telehealth video/audio quality is very good. Their help database is one of the better ones I’ve seen, lots of great articles and clear instructions that seems to be kept up to date.” – Capterra
In general, however, most customer reviews ended up circling back to how difficult it was to get live support. For practitioners venturing into virtual care for the first time, we can see how this might present an obstacle.
“My main complaint is that I have had trouble getting someone on the phone when I have an issue. They do tend to respond by email quickly but sometimes I would prefer a phone conversation.” – Capterra
While somewhat lacking in mental healthcare functionality, with little support for Progress Notes or Treatment Plans, we greatly appreciated the usability and modern aesthetics of Simple Practice.
As a therapy software, it falls a little short in comparison to some more robust, telemedicine solutions, which we felt offered more detailed patient charting and EHR features. For instance, we missed the ability to view our limited Psychotherapy Notes alongside a patient’s medical history or active prescriptions.
On the plus side, Simple Practice offers more than enough capability for any small- to medium-sized practice to improve its efficiency and crossfunctional alignment: it’s very simple to learn and puts a good deal of power in the client’s hands too with its useful portal. We had no problems learning to configure this, and can easily see it being a good investment for smaller teams or solo practitioners.
This is especially true for those starting to explore telepsychology solutions for the first time.
Expanding into virtual care services can seem daunting at first, but a great teletherapy solution can make the transition much easier. With the right solution, many mental health practitioners find day-to-day practice management much less time-consuming, giving them the freedom to focus on key tasks that really make a difference.
Simple Practice is just one potential solution for optimizing your organization’s administration and moving toward a paperless office, but it also offers a lot more besides. With its telehealth video sessions, HIPAA-secure messaging, and Client Portal, it’s more than possible to start delivering online therapy, counseling, and coaching without needing to switch between various separate platforms.
As always, however, there’s no silver bullet for every practitioner’s blended care needs – what’s right for you will depend on how large, and how specialized your practice is. Why not share your experiences with Simple Practice in the comments?