Blended care platforms, therapy software solutions, and integrated e-therapy systems are expected to significantly change, improve the way modern mental health practitioners deliver virtual care. [1]

From more robust systems which provide progress note templates, certified electronic health records (EHRs), and patient management solutions, to convenient, single-purpose mobile apps, we are continuing to see both steady and rapid advancements in the types of teletherapy solutions as evidence of their efficacy grows.[2]

At its most basic, therapy software helps mental healthcare practitioners improve efficiency and quality of care by streamlining and automating many repetitive administrative tasks, freeing up time that could be better spent on more complex practice needs, or focusing more on patient engagement. At the other end of the spectrum, practitioners can now also benefit from full practice management solutions that integrate collaboration, marketing, and even telemedical services into one convenient digital space.[3]

What are Therapy Software Systems?

Ultimately, therapy systems and software solutions help therapists and other mental health blended care practitioners deliver better-quality care.[4]

These systems help individual practitioners and larger organizations manage many aspects of running their practice. Many therapy software solutions give providers a variety of tools that can accomplish practically any repetitive task, from scheduling patients and submitting and tracking insurance claims to creating compliant therapy notes and client documentation.

For almost anything a virtual care, blended care, or e-therapy practice could need, there’s probably a software solution for it.

Often specialty-specific, these platforms allow clinicians to remain compliant with industry and legal regulations. Today, providers such as counselors, coaches, and telepsychiatrists can take advantage of so many different therapy solutions that are uniquely built to serve organizations of all sizes and specialties. Here’s what you need to know about choosing the right therapy solution for your practice.

Ultimately, therapy systems and software solutions help therapists and other mental health blended care practitioners deliver better-quality care.

Features of Therapy Software Solutions

Therapy software systems need to have the following features and capabilities to qualify as a solution for mental health practices:

  • Streamline administrative tasks that are a part of mental health care, such as insurance claims management, or patient registration[5]
  • Support legal and industry requirements for mental health organizations
  • Simplify the clinical aspects of therapy and psychological care, like charting, therapy notes, treatment plans, assessments, patient communications and engagement, remote sessions, progress tracking, ePrescribing, and EHR or EMR.[6]

Therapy software systems may come as a standalone product that handles one specific task, such as note-taking, information storage, or scheduling features exclusively.

There are also far more robust therapy solutions for virtual care practitioners. Larger organizations, such as hospitals and outpatient providers, or therapy practices with more complex systems and care modules, can take advantage of more comprehensive systems that may include entire EHR suites.

Many vendors offer therapy practices the ability to bundle different software solutions together, giving them a customized system that will meet their organization’s specific needs.

Common Features of Psychologist Software

Therapy software functionality, scope, and breadth can vary. But in general, the most popular systems can help organizations become more efficient, make access to care easier for patients, improve continuity of care, cut down on administrative bottlenecks, and even help offices become entirely paperless.

Therapy offices that already have systems in place can also find vendors that can integrate with their current systems, enhancing the software functions they already use.

  •  Therapist Billing Software

Software solutions for mental health providers are often designed to make coding, billing, and practice management concerns far more straightforward and easier.[7] For example, many systems offer features like coding assistance, and specialty-specific solutions offer ICD-10 billing and coding. Some systems are built to generate patient statements or handle claims scrubbing too.

  • Therapist Scheduling Software

Scheduling problems are a significant headache for organizations and their patients. Cancellations and no-shows can harm the practice’s bottom-line, and difficulties with scheduling will deter some patients from coming to therapy. With these practice management solutions, scheduling is made easier with automation and other functions.

Scheduling software for therapists can send appointment reminders to a patient’s phone or email, which gives the patient the ability to confirm or cancel their appointment ahead of time.

  • Secure Patient Portals

With these capabilities, a patient can access the interface to submit intake forms and other documents. Patients can also view their test results, and often, talk to therapists and healthcare staff using private, secure messaging systems. This is especially important where clients may have particular concerns around the security and confidentiality of their records – being able to assure your client that you are operating within industry guidelines is important.[8]

  • EHR or EMR

Providers can create, retrieve, and store patient records in a digital format. These specialty-specific therapy software systems are compliant with rules and regulations governing the mental health care field.

Many EHR and EMR systems allow users to create new charts with templates provided by the system. Lab integrations and ePrescribing are also standard capabilities with this feature.

  • Teletherapy

With this feature, therapists and patients can schedule and conduct remote sessions through a secure, online application. Teletherapy systems can also open up new markets for providers who usually wouldn’t be able to treat patients in remote areas, or who otherwise can’t attend traditional sessions in a brick-and-mortar location.[9]

  • Therapy Practice Management

Practice management features allow therapists to bundle a range of functions and capabilities all into one system. The system can handle all aspects of running an efficient office, including billing and coding, scheduling, telehealth, notes and documentation, and EHRs.

Top 5 Therapy Software Solutions

The following therapy systems are some of the most popular and well-received software solutions on the market today. Solo, group, and large outpatient providers can all benefit from these programs.

ServiceDetails
TherapyNotes TherapyNotes is one of the biggest platforms for mental health providers. It’s a cloud-based therapy practice management system with fully integrated EHR software solutions for organizations of all sizes. The interface is intuitive and easy to use for even the least technologically savvy providers. TherapyNotes also comes with reliable customer support services. Included in TherapyNotes are the following features and capabilities:

  • Scheduling options
  • Note templates, retrieval, and storage
  • Billing and coding capabilities
  • Client portal

TherapyNotes is explicitly designed for mental telehealth practices and can help organizations of small, medium, and large sizes optimize and streamline their processes. With TherapyNotes, users can spend less time on administrative tasks and more time in client-facing interactions. The form-based notes included in the program are designed for mental health practices, ensuring legal compliance. Although it is a web-based program, data is securely encrypted and frequently backed up, keeping the organization safe and secure from hackers and environmental issues. New users can try TherapyNotes for free for 30 days.

NameTherapyNotes
PriceOn request
Good ForPractice Management, EHR, Billing
Websitehttps://www.therapynotes.com/
ServiceDetails
SimplePractice SimplePractice is made for smaller organizations that want to go paperless. The system lets providers use an entirely paperless intake process. It also offers users custom note templates, along with free appointment reminders to reduce the incidences of no-shows and last-minute cancellations.

The system gives users access to a convenient mobile app, client portals, and the ability to conduct secure teletherapy sessions. SimplePractice, designed for mental health practitioners, is also fully HIPAA-compliant.

NameSimplePractice
Price$39+ monthly
Good ForVideo Therapy, Practice Management, Billing, Mobile Therapy
Websitehttps://www.simplepractice.com/
ServiceDetails
TheraNest Out of the software systems listed so far, TheraNest offers the most robust scheduling software out of the three. With TheraNest, providers are given access to a calendar that allows users to set group appointments, recurring appointments, and multi-staff appointments. With voice, email, and text appointment reminders, organizations can reduce problems with cash flow related to scheduling mistakes. Providers can also use TheraNest to make invoices and accept payments through the system.

There are more than 400 mental health conditions listed in the current DSM-5. With TheraNest, providers are given access to searchable DSM database. Therapists can also enter notes and documents, and the system allows for unlimited document uploads. CPT codes are also included in the TheraNest system. Plus, users will get access via any Android or iOS mobile device. The first 21 days after signing up with TheraNest are free.

 

NameTheraNest
Price$39+ monthly
Good ForPractice Management, Billing, Mobile Therapy
Websitehttps://theranest.com/
ServiceDetails
AdvancedMD AdvancedMD allows for cloud-based and on-premise hosting. It’s an excellent practice management system for both mid-sized and larger organizations and therapy practices. Included in the software are robust capabilities, making it a fully-integrated suite for more complex tasks and functions. With AdvancedMD, providers can:

  • Manage their practice with efficient workflows, both office, and patient-facing
  • Manage electronic health records
  • Track and improve patient engagement
  • Conduct telehealth sessions
  • Manage patient rooming
  • Track financials and analytics with business intelligence reporting

The system is compatible with mobile iOS devices, including both iPads and iPhones. Patients can schedule their own appointments and set recurring appointments within the client portal. Also included are text and email notifications for upcoming appointments. Through the patient portal, clients can submit consent forms and other documents securely. Another significant benefit to using AdvancedMD is that insurance eligibility on new and next-day patients is automatically run and verified. If any potential issues with insurance are found, the system immediately notifies the organization’s staff members.

NameAdvancedMD
PriceOn Request
Good ForPractice Management, EHR, Telepsychiatry
Websitehttps://www.advancedmd.com/
ServiceDetails
TherabillProviders who’ve deployed Therabill can take advantage of a range of both HIPAA and ARRA-compliant, cloud-based automations. The system can also be accessed remotely with any device hooked up to the internet. This practice management system is ideal for solo and group therapy practices. Tasks that providers can complete with TheraBill include:

  • Schedule management
  • Automatic appointment reminders
  • Billing and claims submission
  • Upload and store treatment notes and documents
  • Manage patient information

In addition, TheraBill also gives users access to customizable and compliant note templates. The system also provides easy to use, drag-and-drop menus, patient invoicing capabilities, and unlimited claim submissions to a database of thousands of government payers and private insurance companies.

NameTheraBill
Price$149+ monthly
Good ForPractice Management, Billing, EMR
Websitehttps://www.therabill.com/

Who Can Benefit From Therapy Management Software?

Choosing the right kind of therapy software for your practice can seem overwhelming.

While we’ve only given a list of the top five systems, there are dozens on the market. Depending on your needs, budget, and the size of your practice, you may also want to consider the following when shopping for a system and vendor:

  • You’re opening a new therapy practice.

If you haven’t started taking on new patients yet, you may want to think about having a system in place before you start seeing clients. New therapists can benefit from a standalone system that can grow and take on more functions as you see more patients.

  • The practice is updating to new technology.

Technology is continuously evolving, and new functions and capabilities are frequently added to older systems. If your therapy practice has outgrown the old system, you might want to consider shopping around for a software vendor that can offer you more modern solutions.[10]

  • The practice is switching from paper-based documentation to EHRs.

A single piece of paper may seem like a tiny thing to store. But in today’s world, paper quickly piles up. It’s not uncommon for therapy and mental health providers to find themselves drowning in paperwork.

With paper-based systems, the staff has to hunt for the correct documents, store those documents, and also deal with a two-step process where they digitize the records. Switching to an electronic system frees up both time and space, and also reduces the chances of documentation errors.[6]

  • You need an integrated therapy solution.

Many practitioners will start with a single, independent software solution. But as time goes on, they may soon find themselves outgrowing the standalone solution and need something more robust. In other cases, the practice may have several disparate software systems in place that are tough to manage because they aren’t integrated. Larger, unified suites can take things like EHRs, scheduling, and billing, and put them all into one place as an integrated practice management system.[2]

Final Thoughts

Modern therapy software solutions offer a range of capabilities for practices of all sizes and in any location. For patients, technological advances in therapy software are making it easier for them to access the care they need.

Has your therapy practice implemented new software solutions? What types of features do you recommend? Feel free to let us know what you think about therapy software in the comments below.

References

  1. ^ Maheu, Marlene M., Pulier, Myron L., McMenamin, Joseph P., & Posen, L. (2012). Future of Telepsychology, Telehealth, and Various Technologies in Research and Practice. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 43(6), 613.
  2. ^ Häyrinen, K., Saranto, K., & Nykänen, P. (2008). Definition, structure, content, use and impacts of electronic health records: a review of the research literature. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 77(5), 291.
  3. ^ APA. (2020). Guidelines for the Practice of Telepsychology. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/practice/guidelines/telepsychology
  4. ^ National Institute of Mental Health. (2020). Technology and the Future of Mental Health Treatment. Retrieved from https://nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/technology-and-the-future-of-mental-health-treatment/index.shtml
  5. ^ Boudreaux, E. D., Bedek, K. L., Gilles, D., Baumann, B. M., Hollenberg, S., Lord, S. A., & Grissom, G. (2009). The Dynamic Assessment and Referral System for Substance Abuse (DARSSA): development, functionality, and end-user satisfaction. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 99(1-3), 37.
  6. ^ Garets, D., & Davis, M. (2006). Electronic medical records vs. electronic health records: yes, there is a difference. Policy white paper. Chicago, HIMSS Analytics, 1.
  7. ^ Castelnuovo, G., Gaggioli, A., Mantovani, F., & Riva, G. (2003). From psychotherapy to e-therapy: the integration of traditional techniques and new communication tools in clinical settings. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 6(4), 375.
  8. ^ Price, M., Williamson, D., McCandless, R., Mueller, M., Gregoski, M., Brunner-Jackson, B., & Treiber, F. (2013). Hispanic migrant farm workers' attitudes toward mobile phone-based telehealth for management of chronic health conditions. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 15(4), e76.
  9. ^ Ashwick, R., Turgoose, D., & Murphy, D. (2019). Exploring the acceptability of delivering Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) to UK veterans with PTSD over Skype: a qualitative study. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 10(1), 1573128.
  10. ^ Blumenthal, D., & Tavenner, M. (2010). The “meaningful use” regulation for electronic health records. New England Journal of Medicine, 363(6), 501.

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