Top 9 things all therapists should automate
Private practice management involves so much more than treating clients. You need to onboard clients using intake forms, communication and scheduling. You’ll diagnose and treat clients, through documentation like testing, diagnosis, treatment plans and activities. And let’s not forget billing with its required knowledge of eligibility, benefits, insurance claims, and potential appeals.
All of this - for each client - every time.
While this can seem unmanageable for providers to tackle on a daily basis, it doesn’t have to be difficult. You can still keep doing what you do best – which is helping others – while staying on top of practice management by automating administrative tasks. Private practice automation simplifies the repetitive, but necessary tasks like data entry or client scheduling.
One obvious benefit of automating administrative tasks associated with practice management is that you’ll be less dependent on paper. A paperless office means you’ll reduce costs on paper, printing and storage – with a little nod to the environment to boot. Mother Nature: 1, Dunder Mifflin: 0.
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Besides saving on overhead costs, the benefits of automating your administrative tasks as part of practice management include:
- Saving time: Research published in the National Library of Medicine shows that psychiatrists spend about 20% of their time performing administrative tasks. 20%! Think of how clients (and those clinicians) could benefit from another 8 hours each week.
- Preventing burnout: Burnout is real among therapists. One study found that less paperwork, smaller caseloads and more flexibility help prevent burnout among mental health therapists.
- Reducing human error: Pristine data in the hands of humans is tough to achieve. It’s subject to speed, ambiguity of sources, human interpretation and fluctuations. Having information automatically validated in real time through technology leads to cleaner data.
- Increasing productivity: Research by the American Physical Therapy Association showed that 65% of physical therapist respondents say more than 30 minutes of staff time is spent preparing an appeal for one claim. That’s an extra 30 minutes they could be spending on higher-value responsibilities that advance a business. It’s easy to see how removing repetitive tasks here can increase productivity.
- Improving regulatory compliance: Ensuring your private therapy practice is HIPAA compliant can be tough and Protected Health Information (PHI) is subject to HIPAA standards. Using automation tools with bank-level security and electronic data storage can help ensure that PHI remains confidential and also makes data retention and retrieval easier. It can also keep you organized when it comes to state laws as well as professional guidelines.
- Improving standardization: One study by the American Physical Therapy Association showed that more than half of physical therapists surveyed say that standardization of documentation would ease administrative burden. Using an EHR with templated documentation that can be completed digitally and with ease can relieve that practice management burden.
- Laying the groundwork for audit trails: Everyone is subject to an audit. Having your paperwork in a single location that is easily accessible will make this stressful process a little easier.
Think of all the important work you could spend time on like responding to emergencies, researching emerging therapy trends, attending classes, expanding your practice, sharpening your practice management skills and staying current on best therapy practices. Ultimately, all of this makes you a better therapist.
So what exactly are those administrative tasks that clinicians can automate? Let’s take a look.
Top things therapists should automate in their practice management today:
- Scheduling: Leave the back and forth associated with scheduling in 2020. Embed a calendar widget on your site and empower your clients to self-serve based on time availability that you manage. You’ll also reduce cancellations and no-shows with automated session reminders the day before an appointment. Plus, editing your availability is a snap and you can sync with Google calendar.
- Intake paperwork: Of all the things you do, the various intake forms you need to juggle is one of the most confusing and time-consuming. Consent for services, notices of privacy, release of information, social media forms and on and on and on. Form builders, like those in EHRs like TheraPlatform take some of the struggle out of creating these forms by letting users plug information into templates to create usable forms. You can even automate which clients have completed intake forms and which are still missing. You can also send these through a platform, so no more chasing and downloading attachments. You’re set.
- Notes: Assessments, treatment plans, progress notes, SOAP notes, discharge notes … Therapists need to complete and manage a wide variety of notes. Instead of working from scratch each time, why not easily duplicate therapy notes and edit them from session to session based on your needs? Templated doesn’t mean inflexible, however. You can customize your notes with checkboxes, text fields and more. You’ll be better able to track a client’s progress over time. Sounds good, right?
- Billing: Speed up the payment cycle and reduce the administrative overhead associated with billing. Automated built-in tracking and reporting helps you stay on practice management and each client as well as the services they’ve received, payment status and more. You can even automate invoices, superbills and payment reminders and say goodbye to the awkwardness of the dreaded bill collector role forever.
- Credit card collection: You likely have your own credit card number saved in your favorite shopping site or app. But did you know you can do the same thing for therapy? Having a client credit card on file is one of the best ways to receive timely payment especially if you bill automatically. It’s quick and convenient payment processing for you and your clients.
- Claims submissions and claim validations. How many times have you submitted claims only to have to resubmit them later? Through automation (or an EHR) you can submit clean claims each and every time and get data validated in real time. You can even batch submit your claims! Why wouldn’t you automate claims?
- Payment posting: Check the status of payments in real time and watch payments post as invoices are paid. No more hunting around to see if you got paid.
- To-dos: Stop sticking Post-it notes on your computer monitor or your desk or a picture frame reminding you of your to-dos. (They fall off anyway.) Get the 30,000-foot view of what needs to be done in your day with automated reminders on what’s pending with a centralized and prioritized to-do list that could include missing notes, pending invoices, and claims updates.
- Telehealth and session activities: A ready-built library of clinician-developed apps, exercises and homework assignments make it easy for you to put down the books and stop hunting around the Internet. Just click-to-share resources during your telehealth sessions to assign homework or handouts. What could be easier?
Watch the below video on how to save time in your private practice with TheraPlatform.
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But automation doesn’t just benefit the overworked therapist. Your clients will benefit too.
- Confirmation: Receiving automated responses when clients schedule appointments or pay a bill is validation. Now they can cross something off of their to-do list. That feels good. You want your clients to feel good, right?
- Better client support: Instead of spending time on administrative tasks, you now have a chance to schedule more time with a client or call back a client with a special need.
- Improved engagement: With in-session teletherapy apps and games that are available with a click, clients will be more engaged and likely have better outcomes.
TheraPlatform is a fully secure and HIPAA-compliant, integrated private practice management software designed to make the lives of therapists in private practice easier. TheraPlatform even offers a risk-free, 30-day trial so that you can experience the difference automation can make in your practice management.