Therapy notes are something every mental health practitioner is familiar with.
The real difficulty lies in being able to complete therapy notes in a smooth and streamlined fashion. In this article, we'll help you halve the time you'll spend on note-taking and show you how it can be an enjoyable process if you do it right.
As a therapist, time is a scarce resource we are constantly fighting to conserve.
You and your staff only have so many hours every day to get your work done. You constantly need to decide how to spend your time and what to prioritize. Is it any wonder so many healthcare professionals are burning out, private practice failing, and clients missing out? You need tools that create time for you to do the work you love.
How important is it for therapists to have therapy note software?
In short, very important.
But to provide more of an explanation, here are some of the many reasons why you'll want to ensure you're using therapy note software;
- HIPAA compliance - while keeping notes in a notepad or word document is almost free and can seem a bit romantic and times. It's important to remember that you are putting your client's privacy and confidentiality at risk by carting around a notebook and that the rest of your client's care team or future clinicians will struggle to get access to their treatment history.
- Accessibility - for your sake and that of your colleagues, no one wants to be scrambling to find their most recent progress note in between sessions or, worse, ultimately losing the client's file.
- Resources - Using therapy note software will ensure you can conserve a number of your resources, time, money, and brainpower, to name a few!
How does therapy notes software enable streamlined & smooth appointments?
To create notes from templates
Templates are great; they save time by creating a process you should follow to develop consistent and compliant documentation of each client you interact with. Mental health practitioners use many different note-taking templates; SOAP, DAP, and DAR are just more common ones. Any good therapy notes software should supply you with both existing templates and the option to create your own.
To start you off, here's an example of a Therapist's SOAP note:
Subjective - Jane reports that she is 'feeling good and enjoying her time away. Stacey says she has been compliant with her medication and uses her meditation app whenever she feels anxious.
Objective: Jane was unable to attend her session as she is on a family holiday this week. She was able to check in with me over the phone and was willing and able to make the phone call at the set time. Jane appeared to be calm and positive over the phone.
Assessment - Jane presented this afternoon with a relaxed mood. Her speech was normal in rate, tone, and volume. Jane was able to articulate her thoughts and feelings coherently. Jane did not present with any signs of hallucinations or delusions. Insight and judgment are good. No sign of substance use was present.
Plan- Plan to meet again in person at 4 pm next Tuesday, 26th May. Jane will continue on her current medication and has given her family copies of her safety plan should she need it.
To safely store the notes
As we mentioned above, keeping notes in a filing room, cabinet, or floating around on your laptop is inefficient and dangerous. There are several different ways this storage method could go awry, a runaway coffee or a stolen laptop, to mention a couple! Aside from these more dramatic possibilities, it's more likely that you'll misplace paper files and find yourself struggling to locate them right before a session on a busy day or that you won't be able to identify the client's most recent progress note on your desktop. This is why it's best to have software that means you'll always have your notes saved on the cloud and know precisely where to find them.
Efficiently transfer documents
As a therapist working in the year 2021, likely, you'll constantly be switching between telehealth, working from home, and working in the office. This means you'll need to be able to access documents from several different computers. There would be nothing worse than going home one night, going into lockdown, and being unable to access client notes full stop. One sure-fire way to solve this is to invest in therapy note software that means you have access to your files, anytime, anywhere, without having to worry about carting home paper files or a desktop computer.
It makes reading notes easier, thus enhancing communication
Progress notes for individual therapy can be lengthy and not to mention a bit dull at times. Ensuring your notes are written in a strict format means that you and your colleagues will know exactly where to find the details they require from the note. Not only this but keeping notices online implies the eradication of messy handwritten notes that can cause confusion and avoidance. Communication as a healthcare professional is paramount to ensuring your client's safety and best practice as a practitioner. Therefore therapy note software should be a no-brainer for any practitioner wishing to ensure they are compliant with HIPAA regulations.
In 2021, everything is paperless, and there's a reason for it. Well, many reasons. They include convenience, reducing waste, and efficiency. Even government organizations have gone paperless, so you shouldn't have any excuse not to. Electronic medical health records mean that a client's case notes can be accessed anywhere by anyone who has consented. This is useful as being up to date with a client's status is imperative in providing good care and support. In addition to this, there'll be no risk of misplacing or losing the client's case notes because they'll always be on the EHR.
Patient scheduling is efficient
Scheduling meetings and making sure attendees show up to them can be tricky. A perfect example is that messaging back and forth to find a time that suits everyone, then turning up only to realize you got the wrong day. One solution to this could be to use a software platform that sends out automatic reminders to practitioners and clients alike. Stopping the back and forth of finding a suitable time for everyone. This can prove to be particularly difficult as working with clients who are apprehensive about receiving treatment in the first place often avoid appointments, so making sure they have plenty of reminders is the first step to streamlining this process.
Billing your patients becomes simpler
Using billing automation software to gather invoice data, populate the blanks, and process the invoices can reduce your time spent on invoicing by up to 90%. Invoicing is not why you're working in the healthcare sector, so why not cut it out of your workload? Platforms like Carepatron are a cost-effective and easy way to remove the inconvenience of invoicing your clients and allow them to make automatic payments online to avoid that uncomfortable conversation following a productive session. Besides, they will enable you to keep track of where you're at without having to spend hours at the end of the week or month thinking about why starting up your practice has suddenly meant you need to get another degree in accounting.
Payment processing is online and secure
Going out on your own can seem like a great idea until you realize it means billing and processing payments yourself. And unfortunately, no part of the training for a mental health practitioner is geared towards managing finances. It can prove to be uncomfortable, time-consuming, and sometimes harm the rapport you've worked so hard to build with each client. Having an online software that provides secure online payment processing makes a considerable difference daily for clients and practitioners alike. It's worth looking at a software platform with this capability, Carepatron is a great one, and better yet, it won't cost you the earth!
Therapy notes software and HIPAA compliance
Confidentiality is of paramount importance to all mental health professionals. Any missteps or violations in terms of privacy would represent a cause for significant concern regarding the competency of any good therapist or mental health professional. This is a gentle reminder that it is essential to avoid some common mistakes made around confidentiality regarding decision-making as a clinician. These include making sure you keep your client's electronic documents on a secure and HIPAA-compliant online platform. Carepatron offers compliant software, a pleasure to use, and cost-effective! What more could you want? Go on check it out!
Time to Move on from Just an Okay Therapy Software Tool
Carepatron offers the best solution for all your therapy notes software dreams…
Carepatron was designed with Psychologists, Mental Health Nurses, Counselors, Allied Health and Social Workers at the forefront of the development process. Carepatron intends to help healthcare practitioners live their best work life. It's designed to work on any device, in any country. This also includes the ability to work with android and IOS apps. Carepatron helps with scheduling client appointments, managing health records, automating billing and payment functionally, and all in a way that you can understand...
So try it out for yourself, we promise you won't be disappointed.