Best EHR for small practices

best EHR for small practice

Finding the best EHR for small practices takes time and research. When it comes to electronic health records (EHRs), you have many choices for your small therapy practice. Choosing the best EHR for small practices begins with understanding how an EHR can help you run a successful and efficient business.

What defines a small practice

Private practices come in all shapes and sizes. Your EHR needs and wants might vary based on the size of your practice. Some therapists choose to have an individual practice with only one practitioner. Other therapists prefer to grow a small group practice with several other therapists in the group. Some practices continue to grow and may have many therapists working together in the practice.

With a small practice model, the therapists may work for the owner as independent contractors or employees of the group practice. In either case, they will likely all utilize the same EHR program. Most EHRs should have the ability to adapt if the practice does grow from an individual practice model to a group practice model.

Why use an EHR in a small practice setting

As a whole, mental health providers have been slow to adopt EHRs. Understanding how an EHR can help you run a more efficient practice will help you decide on the best EHR for small practices. EHRs offer many benefits to help your small practice run more smoothly and successfully.

Simplify documentation

It’s not a secret that most therapists do not like writing documentation. Using the best EHR for small practices can simplify the process and decrease some of the stress associated with documentation. With a small practice, it also helps to ensure increased compliance with documentation requirements across the practice. 

Increase accuracy of client information

The best EHR for small practices helps ensure that client information is correct throughout the client record. You should only need to enter demographic information once to have it populate across each entry in the record. The EHR easily allows for sending paperwork to clients and obtaining electronic signatures. 

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EHRs can also help prevent other errors that may lead to greater problems in a small practice:
  • Automatically dates and time stamps entries
  • Enters the correct diagnostic codes across forms, claims, treatment plans, notes, etc.
  • Removes the need to decipher handwriting
  • Improves spelling and word usage in documentation

Increases accessibility to charts

With the best EHR for small practices, the approved clinicians and support staff in the practice can easily access client charts with secured login credentials. Therapists can work on documentation at various remote locations besides the office. Support staff can work on entering client data, billing, or other tasks while therapists are also entering documentation or using the client record. This increased accessibility not only makes the tasks easier but increases the likelihood of providers and staff getting them done.

Greater efficiency for your practice
An EHR can help your small practice run more efficiently through:
  • Automatic appointment reminders
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Client portal
  • Claim submission
  • Credit card processing
Lowers overhead costs
Implementing the best EHR for small practices can reduce some of the typical costs associated with running your practice including:
  • Office space for paper storage, filing cabinets, supplies, etc.
  • Printing and paperwork supplies
  • Postage costs (no longer need to mail intake paperwork, records, etc.)
  • Employees to complete certain tasks that the EHR simplifies for you
  • Administration time for solo therapists

What features does a small practice need in an EHR?

EHRs offer many features that can help your small practice. When researching the best EHR for small practices, consider how the following features can support your practice needs:


Most commonly we associate EHRs with simplifying the documentation process.

The best EHR for small practices can help improve, simplify, and reduce the stress associated with documentation by offering:
  • Templates
  • Assessments, notes, treatment plans, discharge summaries
  • Easy duplication
  • Accessible during session

The best EHR for small practices can help manage the calendar and schedules of the therapists in your small practice with:
  • Setting the availability of staff
  • Online scheduling for clients
  • Integration with your calendar (ex.: Google, iCal, Outlook)
  • Establishing recurring appointments
  • Automatic appointment reminders

HIPAA-compliant telehealth platform

If your practice provides telehealth sessions, you might consider an EHR that offers this feature. A HIPAA-compliant telehealth platform should offer more than just the ability to have a video session.

Additional features to consider include:
  • Group and family sessions from more than one computer
  • Two-way screen sharing
  • In-session chat
  • Whiteboard features
  • Customizable waiting room

Billing and invoicing
An EHR can help to maximize the revenue of your small practice. An EHR can offer billing features such as:
  • Creating and sending invoices
  • Credit card processing
  • Invoicing and billing for late cancellations and no-shows
  • Payment reminders
  • Superbills
  • Insurance eligibility verification
  • Insurance claims submission and accounting

Technical support

With a small practice, your budget may not allow for an IT specialist to help you with computer and technology issues. The best EHR for small practices should offer technical support to assist you with the program beginning with a demonstration of how it works, installation, learning the software, and any other ongoing technology-related issues with the EHR. 

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What you do not need in an EHR with a small practice

Some electronic health records offer robust features that a small practice does not need. If you use an EHR with too many features, you might be paying a higher price than you need to pay and it is likely not the best EHR for small practices. You may also end up feeling confused and overwhelmed by the dashboard and messages from the provider about updates and features.

Most small practices do not need features such as:
  • E-prescribing
  • Lab and imaging orders
  • Extra users
  • Receiving imaging and lab results
  • Diagnostic criteria outside of mental health and substance abuse disorders
  • Assessment and diagnostic tools not related to mental health and substance abuse
  • Certain health and information reporting features

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What about a free EHR?

As with many technology-related services, you can find free EHR programs. While it seems like a good idea to save money with a free EHR, you may experience some drawbacks and disadvantages to a free or open-source EHR provider.

Some limitations of free EHRs include:
  • Advertisements scrolling on your screen
  • Patient pay-to-play platform
  • Limited, or no technical support
  • Not specific to therapy
  • Additional fees for features you need or want

TheraPlatform is an EHR that can serve the needs of your small practice.

TheraPlatform offers:
  • Online documentation
  • Scheduling
  • Client portal
  • Billing and invoicing
  • Insurance claims submission
  • Worksheets to use with your clients
  • Video courses to assist you with your practice management

TheraPlatform is an all-in-one EHR, practice management and teletherapy tool that can save you time by automating repetitive tasks. They offer a free 30-day trial with no credit card required. Cancel anytime.

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