Top Technology Tips To Streamline Your Practice

By Julie Hanks, LCSW

One of the many challenges of private practice, especially solo practice, is efficiently and effectively juggling administrative and practice management tasks with clinical work. Since I often blog about my favorite technology tips, I reached out to other therapists “in the trenches” of private practice to see what technology they find most helpful to streamline practice management. Here are the devices, programs, and software they use most and how it helps them successfully run their practice.

Dr. Trevor Small, Clinical Director and Psychologist for Bridges to Recovery, a private, behavioral health facility has several tech tips that help streamline his practice:

  1. Quicdoc: This is a great program for documenting and following patients progress as well as helping with insurance requirements.
  2. Therapist Helper: Billing software extraordinaire!
  3. iCal: It is fantastic for billing and keeping track of patient hours.

California psychiatrist David M. Reiss, M.D. suggests these technology tips:

  1. ONE Box Voicemail/Efax and Google VoicemailThere may be cheaper or better companies supplying this service, but I’ve been using them several years and I have not checked any other companies. The One Box/efax allows all phone messages and faxes sent to my office to come to me via email, which I can then read on any computer or my iphone, and can save. I don’t have to call in for messages; I can listen on the road; i can respond from wherever I am, and I can respond to faxes without waiting to a hard copy. I can then save the message in organized files as needed. I have a Google phone number which goes directly to my office number – those messages also come to me via email – and come transcribed. The transcription quality is mediocre, many words inaccurate. Usually good enough to get a sense of the message and the call back, but not perfect. Maybe there are better services than this available, but it comes in handy at time, combined with the One Box.
  2. Google calendar – Again, there may be others offering the same service, but this is easy because it attaches to my email. I can keep a calendar,  and keep non-confidential notes regarding appointments kept, no-shows, reports sent  regarding evaluations electronically in a way that is accessible at  any time from wherever I am, as long as I have Internet or phone, and I can share  it with any office personnel one I choose to allow access.
  3. DropBox (or any other cloud service) – I now have 15 years of complete  medical records accessible to me to read, email, fax immediately from anywhere i have the internet or via iPhone. Makes keeping, storing,  updating, referencing and transmitting medical records much easier, quicker  and more efficient.

Psychologist Tamsen Thorpe, PhD, Director of New Jersey’s Directions, a Center for Life Strategies, LLC swears by the following technology to manage her practice:

  1. Therasoft On-line Web based practice management. Key is that it is web-based and can be accessed anywhere versus software.
  2. Google calendarThis program is great for interfacing home and office schedules.
  3. Smart phoneAllows me access to emails and calendars on the go. Clients email me non-confidential information mostly about appointments.

Clinical neuropsychologist and chief of psychology at Saint Barnabas Medical Center as well as a professor at Kean Ilyse O’Desky, Psy.D. relies on these technology suggestions for teaching and practice management:

  1. Dragonspeak  voice transcription software – Between writing patient reports and professional papers, this has made my life much easier and I can complete any written work (including e-mails) much faster.
  2. PowerPointI think this has improved my lecture presentations dramatically and has allowed me to have much more fun with the 4 or 6 hour presentations I give nationally.
  3. iPad –  First, I can download articles directly to the IPAD to read whenever it is convenient and next, I can demonstrate apps to patients or their parents that I think can be used for cognitive training.

New York psychotherapis, Mary Pender Greene, LCSW-R, CGP  suggests:

  1. WebinarsI use this platform for training new clinicians on how to build their practices, among other topics. 
  2. Twitter/TweetDeckI use Twitter to share the key points from my blog, inspirational quotes, links to articles, and links to resources. I use TweetDeck to automate my tweets, which average about 10 per day.
  3. SkypeI use this program to facilitate online group discussions and also to expand the reach of my private practice to include clients that are at a great distance from my office. 

Dr. Trevor Small adds the best tech tip of all…back up your documents. “It is so simple, but nobody does it. Also, it is important to make sure that what is stored is stored according to HIPPA compliance requirements,” Small says.

What technology do you use to streamline your practice? What programs, apps, devices would be hard for you to live without?