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The Evolution of Therapy: 3 Big Changes That Are Implementing Better Mental Health Practices

Therapy… it’s that one word that can mean so many different things to so many different people. To some, it stands for that one hour a week where they can reclaim their lives and work to become the people that they truly want to be. For others, it takes on an almost mysterious aura, representing an experience that they don’t quite understand, but would love to try.

Whatever therapy might mean to you or what you might think it entails, the one thing that many people should be able to agree on is that the popular attitude toward it is changing. While the processes and routines have surely remained pretty much the same for decades, a resurgence has definitely begun. Therapy is no longer something experienced in secret, with a stigma of shame or uncertainty attached to it. With celebrities like anyone from the British royal family to Lady Gaga becoming champions for mental health, it is no longer something discussed in a whisper amongst only the closest of friends.

So, with more and more people embracing therapy and other mental health programs, therapists are finding that they need to find ways to see more patients in a day and to become more efficient in their practices. They must also ensure that once new patients take the leap and begin therapy, that they stay engaged and continue to experience gratification in their sessions.

Let’s look at three changes that therapy is undergoing to accommodate both its patients and its providers.

 

Patient Engagement

Now that some of the stigma often associated with mental health disorders has lifted due to raising awareness, therapists may find that there is a rise in patients who have never experienced a therapeutic setting before. But now that these patients are finally receiving the therapy that they need, it is even more important than ever before to ensure that they, as well as long-time therapy patients, stay engaged in between their office visits.

This is where new technology steps in and offers patient engagement solutions. A patient can download an app to their smartphone or tablet, allowing them to track their anxiety, depression or other disorder through a variety of sliding scales and surveys. This information is then sent directly to the therapist, who can process this to determine a course of action for their next visit. This is a win-win for both the patient and the clinician, as that the patient is reminded of their therapy in between visits, and the therapist is provided with additional information to assist them in providing even better, more informed care.

     

Practice Efficiency

As more and more people begin mental health treatment, therapists are finding that running their practice like a well-oiled machine is not only ideal, but an absolute necessity. And if they can find a way to fit in just one more patient each day, they are definitely doing their part in providing mental healthcare to the people who may need it the most.

However, there are only so many hours in a day, right? How can therapists possibly carve out enough time to see one additional patient?

Once again, technology arrives to save the day. Therapists can learn to take better therapy notes with software and use scheduling calendars for their appointments. And while it may have seemed like something from the future a few years ago, they can now also utilize video sessions, so that a patient never has to miss an appointment.

When a patient arrives in the office, they must also complete their intake, which can take quite a few minutes of administrative time. But patients may now complete their intake from a kiosk or a tablet in the office, as well as use mental health assessment tools to monitor their therapy or screen for other mental health triggers.

 

Integrated Care

Integrated care is when two healthcare options work together to provide an even higher level of care for patients. The two most commonly recognized are physical and mental healthcare. As you can imagine, this healthcare model is growing popularity, and it continues to provide more positive outcomes than traditional healthcare models.

Imagine that there is a patient in need of mental healthcare, but they have not been screened by a healthcare provider to even know that they are suffering. Or what is there is no available therapist in the area, due to either a long waiting list or geographical restraints? Sadly, in the past, these patients may have gone without treatment. However, as integrated care is introduced to more communities, and more primary care physicians set up successful integrated care, the number of patients who do not have access to mental healthcare will decrease.

Finally, the time has come when therapy is being embraced by a culture that has realized its importance. In the days ahead, it will be exciting to see how more new technological advances and an even heightened sense of awareness will alter therapy as we know it today. If we hold on for the ride and embrace new ideas that can be both more efficient and beneficial, we will have the opportunity to provide BETTER mental healthcare to even MORE patients than ever before. Can we really ask for a more positive outcome?

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5 Ways to “Spring Clean” Your Therapy Practice

When the flowers begin to bloom and the temperatures begin to rise, many turn to the idea of spring cleaning. Now, when you think about your therapy practice, I’m not talking about grabbing a mop or dusting those shelves in the storage room. I’m referring to an organizational cleanse!

When your days grow longer and your patient list continues to multiply, it may be hard to find a few hours here and there to really make important changes that could completely streamline your office. However, as spring is ushered in, let’s take a look at a few ways to take part in this seasonal tradition to make your environment much more efficient.

 

1. Go Paperless

Whenever I think about the best way to really de-clutter a therapy office, my mind always goes to those stacks of paper that are constantly piled up on everyone’s desks. Not only can going paperless save you a good chunk of money AND make organization a breeze, but it can also be good for the environment! Stop printing off those emails and other unnecessary documents! Instead, keep them stored for easy access on a variety of apps, like Google Drive or OneDrive, where they can even be used on your smartphone. You may also want to invest in a good scanner and begin storing your older records digitally. Even more importantly, look into an EHR software. Finally, set up a recycling system and be ready to ditch that paper for good!

 

2. Find Better Ways to Screen Your Patients

Screening patients is such an important task in a therapy office! Therefore, it is imperative to have a streamlined process for asking the right questions and evaluating the answers in an efficient manner. If you’re still using a PHQ-9 in a paper format, check into using digital tools instead. Not only will you be adhering to the suggestions in tip #1, but your patients will love being able to access questionnaires and surveys right from their smartphones. You can also set up a kiosk in your waiting room with a tablet! Really… how cool is THAT?

 

3. Think About New Policies for Time Management

A  therapy practice is constantly changing. This means that you may need to occasionally re-evaluate your policies and adapt to new ideas that will save you time. For example, you may find that the number of missed appointments are on the rise. So be sure to incorporate ways to ensure that no-shows don’t leave you with an empty waiting room. A good digital practice calendar can assist with time management and scheduling appointments. It may also be part of a package that includes options for billing patients. And better yet, it can also send patients reminders, so those missed appointments will soon be last year’s problem!

         

4. Take Better Therapy Notes

If there is one thing that can keep a therapist in the office past dinner, it is typically finishing up the day’s therapy notes. However, gone are the days of taking notes by hand. Now you can replace the notepad and pen with sleek software and organizational perks that may save you 30 minutes every day. The best therapy notes software offers a variety of templates to choose from, even allowing you the option to completely customize your note-taking experience. You’ll never look at taking therapy notes the same way ever again!

 

5. Introduce Video Sessions

Dreaming about hosting therapy sessions online would have seemed like some type of futuristic scenario even a couple of years ago. However, technology has really armed therapists with a myriad of options to ensure that they are providing the best possible care for their patients. Setting up HIPAA compliant video sessions for your practice can ensure that your patients have a reliable, convenient alternative to in-office appointments. Plus, video sessions are commonly offered as an additional feature of therapy notes or EHR software, so there’s no need to download anything else! Could they make it any easier?

 

You know what they say about spring cleaning. Not only does it clear the cobwebs from your office, but it removes the clutter from your mind, as well.  This makes room for the important things in life. If you follow these easy steps, you’ll be able to open your windows for a nice spring breeze, put your feet up on your desk and embrace this newly found feeling of well-being that accompanies the satisfaction of a clutter-free existence. Who knew it was THIS easy?

 

Want more information on organization, going paperless, video sessions and therapy notes? Check out some of our similar topics for even more helpful information!

 

6 Steps for Writing Notes During Online Therapy

 

5 Easy Steps to Having a Paperless Practice

 

How To: HIPAA Compliant Video Conferencing With Mentegram Notes

 

NEW: Introducing Electronic Billing in Mentegram Notes

 

3 Steps to Make No-Shows a Thing of the Past
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NEW: Introducing Electronic Billing in Mentegram Notes

What I pride the most about our team is the speed of improving our software in order to make improvements to our features. We launched secure video conferencing for Mentegram Notes only a few weeks ago, and I can announce another major update.

With no beating around the bush, I want to quickly show you how easily electronic billing with Mentegram Notes works. You are now able to generate invoices that your clients can bring to their insurance companies.

1 – Set Up Services

In order to start using electronic billing, you’ll have to go into your account settings and set up the services. You can either pick from the default ones and add your hourly rate or create a custom one.

Set up your services in Mentegram Notes

2 – Pick the Service For the Appointment

When you create a new appointment, you can choose the type of service from the services that you’ve set up.

Schedule appointment with Mentegram Notes

3 – Sign And Print the Invoice

When the appointment has finished, either access the invoice from the new billing page, or directly from the calendar, double-check the information and print for the client.

Service invoice in Mentegram Notes

Hopefully, this will help you speed up the paperwork in your practice. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas of how we can improve the electronic billing module further.

You can log in to your Mentegram Notes account at https://notes.mentegram.com.

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How To: HIPAA Compliant Video Conferencing With Mentegram Notes

Online therapy and HIPAA compliant video conferencing is becoming a new standard in therapy. Of course, this does not replace face-to-face appointments. Instead, it provides a huge opportunity for people to receive care if they can’t make it to the therapist’s office. This also gives therapists the opportunity to gain even more clients.

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6 Steps for Writing Notes During Online Therapy

Therapy is rapidly changing and I think it is such a great thing. We can now offer clients flexibility and increased access to services through online therapy, surveys and outcome measures any time of day, and things like file sharing.

Things have changed a LOT in just the last 10 years. With this switch to increased use of technology, some therapists find it difficult to conceptualize how things may be different from paper. And nothing seems to be more difficult for therapists than maintaining notes.

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NEW: Mentegram Notes <3 Online Therapy

By now, I am sure that you have heard all about online therapy and how it can be a valuable tool for your private or small practice. Years ago, this would have seemed like something for the next generation, but new technology has brought this innovative experience to the forefront. Needless to say, we are excited that Mentegram Notes has now become an online therapy software, as well!

There is no need to download any particular telemental health software or integrate with other EHR platforms. We made the secure and HIPAA compliant video conferencing an actual part of Mentegram Notes, so everything you need is actually “all under one roof.” In an effort to make online sessions easy to start using and even simpler to integrate into your private or small practice, all you have to do is open your browser… and GO!

Video sessions and online therapy allow therapists the ability to hold “office” visits in a new, imaginative way, ensuring that clients get the most out of their therapy experience. This type of therapy makes sure that clients will stay engaged with their treatment, even when they are sitting on their couch at home.

Let’s take a look at how online therapy can improve your Mentegram Notes experience.

Reach Remote Clients

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You and your clients don’t need to install any new software. Our online therapy software works directly from your web browser. This makes it fast AND easy to start using video sessions now! Video sessions support clients and even increase the overall efficiency of your practice by building upon existing workflows, providing another alternative to office visits.

When your client can’t make it into the office, you may now simply schedule an online session so that your client doesn’t miss one moment of valuable treatment. This is a win-win for everyone involved, as that the therapists do not lose any revenue, and the clients are able to continue treatment even if they are not able to keep the appointment for his office visit.

HIPAA Compliant

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Privacy and security is a primary concern for many clients and therapists, consistently one of the barriers that can be difficult to overcome when using technology. We are very well aware of that, and that’s why we make this our main priority. Mentegram Notes is a HIPAA compliant software and, of course, the online therapy module is, as well.

Sessions From Anywhere

Man Working on Laptop --- Image by © Tim Pannell/Corbis

Even therapists need vacations or a quick getaway, so online therapy makes it possible to still stay in touch with clients, even when away from the office.

There aren’t many therapy notes and practice management softwares out there that offer the capabilities of providing online therapy sessions, as well. So, are you as excited as we are about seeing it in Mentegram Notes? If so, don’t wait any longer and  schedule the first online therapy appointment right now!

We are launching our online therapy software in beta. Even though we tested everything to make sure that you’ll enjoy conducting your video sessions with Mentegram Notes, we are still working on improving the workflow to make it as smooth and as frictionless as possible, for both you, as well as your clients. We’d appreciate any feedback that you can provide us.

Last, but not least, I’d like to give you a quick heads up about the technology that we used. Thanks to the new WebRTC (or Web Real-Time Communications) project, Mentegram, as well as many other companies, are able to provide their customers with rich and high quality solutions for the real-time communication. Because this is still quite new, not all web browsers fully support it.

Therefore, our current commitment is to make our online therapy software work in the web browsers that fully support the WebRTC protocol. They are Chrome, Firefox and Opera web browsers in all standard operating systems – Windows, MacOS and Linux.

So, take as much time as you can experiencing video sessions, and enjoy. We are here to assist with any questions that you might have.

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NEW: Treatment Plans with Mentegram Notes

Step by step, we are making Mentegram Notes one-stop shopping for every therapist. Even though some really big things require a lot of work, we don’t want you to keep waiting for too long for our newest additions! We like to release our latest products as soon as they’re ready, and that’s why our new treatment plan template is ready to go.

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Attach files to your intake form with Mentegram Notes

Our goal with Mentegram Notes is to help you run a paperless practice, whether it’s through therapy notes, client intake or billing. We keep getting closer to this goal every month. Mentegram Notes now allows you to skip paper when writing therapy notes and scheduling appointments, as well as doing a simple intake. The intake process with Mentegram Notes is very quick and smooth, but it doesn’t allow you to collect all information… yet. While we want to digitize everything and give clients an opportunity to electronically sign all intake documents, there is still a long journey ahead. Today, however, is the day when we are getting one step closer.

Read more

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Do I Need A Fabulous Website to Market My Therapy Practice?

My name is Traci Ruble, CEO of PSYCHED in San Francisco therapy center and Managing Director of a Sidewalk Talk, a nonprofit community listening project.  I am a longtime fan of Mentegram and will be a monthly contributor to this blog. Thank you for reading my first contribution.

A little more about me.  I came of age during the high-tech boom in the Bay Area.  I was a tech sales and marketing professional.  I learned a lot about business, but I didn’t know how to run my own business.  Now I lead a clinic and magazine, as well as a nonprofit with 600 volunteers globally.

I am busy in all the best, most life affirming ways. But that leaves me always looking for efficiency.

Let’s bring this back to you.  You already know it is a lot of work running your own business (something most psychology grad schools fail to mention to therapists coming up).  In the early days of first launching a private practice, the most important piece of your work is marketing yourself so you can fill your case load and keep a revolving door of referrals coming back to you.

When I first started marketing my practice I wanted to know, “What do therapists with full practices do to market themselves?”  I was already internet savvy at the time.  I was an early adopter in creating a website and a Google Place Page, but I wanted to go talk to those who came before me, so I crafted a survey and sent it out to my city-wide list of therapists.  One hundred responded.  Here is what I learned.

You will be surprised how the therapists I surveyed used the web.

Therapists with full practices had two things in common across the board.  First, they were on LinkedIn.  Second, they had a presence either on Psychology Today or Good Therapy.  Half of them did not have a website (gulp!).  Your website, unless you are going to pay for an expensive SEO person or buy a lot of advertising, isn’t going to show up on search results.  Instead, the website is more like a business card for therapists.  Most people find your website because someone referred them directly to you.  So it is imperative you think about that when you write content for your site and the tools (like Mentegram– eh hem) you use to make it easy for referrals to engage with you.

What was the #1 thing these therapists did to get referrals?

The number one thing therapists I surveyed did is develop collegial bonds with other clinicians.  And no, not the wine and dine kind.  They had regular consultation groups and trainings, and in those trainings, clinicians get to know one another’s “therapeutic style” and skill.  The trust they build in one another’s work leads them to start referring to one another.  What a relief to not have to go to a therapist meet and greet, right?

This is also where Mentegram comes into play.  This kind of time investment adds to your already busy life.  So investing in technology that saves you time enables you to do the #1 thing successful therapists do – engage in regular consultation and training.  It is a fun way to be in community, grow your skills, and now you know it is useful marketing, too.

Looking forward to talking to you all next month.

Traci

 

Author Biography:

Traci is a therapist and the CEO of PSYCHED & Managing Director of Sidewalk Talk. Her therapy work is centered around working with couples and individuals working on their relationships. Her many years in corporate life make her a good match for executives and leaders.

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Are you ever worried about having to understand and use a new software?

When it comes time to begin using new software, there are always those pesky questions that come to mind. Will it be difficult to use? Will it take forever to learn? Will I even be able to figure it out at all?

Learning to work with a new software can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! A software doesn’t need to have confusing layers and templates to function the way that you need it to, which is fast and error-free, giving you more time for the things that really matter! If you pick the right software, investing one hour into understanding how it works and seeing how much it can help you is going to be one of the best investments you’ve ever made.

Whether you’re taking therapy notes, screening patients or scheduling appointments, be sure to find a software with interfaces that are straightforward and simple to use. If this all sounds good to you, then take a look at what new technology has to offer your private practice.