In the world of private practice, time is money. As a busy practice owner, your days are likely filled with seeing clients. Your next most important task may be your billing so that you can ensure that you get paid for the work that you do. Your paperwork can easily get pushed to the side at the end of the day when you are tired and ready to go home. Fortunately, there is a simple solution you can employ to not only get your paperwork done more easily but to also use that paperwork to benefit your clients.
The solution is concurrent documentation and many entities are moving to this approach because of the benefits that it can provide. Learn more about concurrent noting and how it can help your practice:
What is Concurrent Noting?
Sometimes called collaborative documentation, concurrent noting is a method of writing notes such as progress notes or SOAP notes during session with active input from the client. This concept may sound unusual for those providers trained to write therapy notes after the session, in which you record what happened and sometimes log your reactions to not just the session but towards the client as well. However, this approach is employed by many agencies in which providers want to be efficient in their approach and get paid for their note writing.
Benefits of Concurrent Noting for Providers
Many clinicians would agree that being done with a session at the end of the session would be ideal. With concurrent noting, that goal can become a reality. By taking the final portion of therapy sessions to write clinical notes in a note taking software along with the client, clinicians can save themselves the added time after session (and the piling up of unfinished paperwork). It also allows for active check-ins with clients to ensure you are on the right track. Asking a client each week what they got out of session and what you should focus on the next week gives not only frequent feedback but also assists with ongoing treatment planning.
Benefits of Concurrent Noting for Clients
Asking a client to engage in concurrent noting can easily become a normal part of your therapeutic process. What you would do is simply let them know this is your approach. Then, be sure to reserve the last 10 minutes of session for your notes. When you do concurrent noting (SOAP noting), you will be asking the client what they thought of the session and what they feel they gained from their therapy time that day.
Research shows that asking clients to think actively about their therapy work has benefits. Therapy is no longer just a passive process where they arrive, talk, and go. Instead, they will be thinking intentionally about how they have used their time, what they have learned, and what they want to do with that information. It can help them use their time more effectively. Additionally, the process allows time for discussion and feedback, which can ensure that therapy is moving in the direction the client wants.
Not only are clients more involved in their own therapy process and progress during concurrent noting, they can also feel a greater level of comfort in the clinical setting. This is due to the increased transparency from writing the notes together. This helps to decrease power differentials and it encourages clients to recognize themselves as having a level of expertise over their own lives.
The benefits of concurrent noting for providers and clients is clear. Not only will you, as a provider, gain back time typically spent outside of session on note writing, you will also see gains in your clinical work.
By setting the stage early with concurrent noting, clients will see this as a normal part of their therapy process. This approach can be used in face-to-face counseling and through teletherapy such as telemental health. You can adapt this technique to online therapy by even asking the client to journal about the session and to send you their notes, which you can copy and paste right into your formal session notes. With the right note taking software you’re on your way to take advantage of concurrent documentation.
TheraPlatform is a secure and HIPAA complaint note taking software for mental health providers, SLPs and OTs that can help you implement concurrent documentation www.theraplatform.com