When asked this question, the initial thought is a resounding “Absolutely”! With private practice waiting rooms full and the administration costs associated with scheduling, maintaining appointments and screening patients continuously on the rise, any help in one or all of these areas would surely be welcomed.

Fortunately, new technology can lend a helping hand with many of those issues that mental healthcare providers face. Patients can be screened and even complete paperwork before even entering the office, therapy notes can be taken electronically with a simple user interface and scheduling appointments can be quick and easy with software that will even send out patient reminders.

In world where the most important thing that can be saved is time, it is important to find software that is easy to learn and will save you countless hours in the office. With this in mind, you will be well on your way to an efficient private practice!

I’m sure that we have all heard the old saying that time is money. If this adage could apply to any industry, it would apply best to mental healthcare. When providers have missed appointments on the books, it not only causes practices to lose money, but it also represents time that could have been spent assisting other patients. With a tremendous need for therapists and clinicians offering mental health assistance, missed appointments not only hurt a practice economically, but they negatively impact a society with patients who desperately need healthcare, but may not always be able to receive it when its impact could be most pivotal.

But how do you actually go about making sure that, at the end of the day, your appointments are all kept? Let’s take a look at a few ways!

 

1. Scheduling

To keep your waiting room full and your office occupied, scheduling is key. The easiest way to effectively keep up with patient scheduling is to have an application that does it for you! Such applications can provide appointments at a glance, divided by daily, weekly or monthly scheduling to keep things simple. Clinicians may have this information at their fingertips with a simple click, allowing for a quick and easy method to keep track of a patient’s appointments.

2. Patient Reminders

And what could possibly be the best way to ensure that patients remember their appointments?  Making use of online applications to remind patients of their appointments is a very successful way to reach out to them about their upcoming appointments. In fact, a recent study even shows that a practice sending out patient reminders may expect to see over a 25% reduction in missed appointments.

3. Engagement

There are many ways that applications can assist private practices, and one of the best is through patient engagement. Therapists may select surveys, questionnaires and screenings that can be downloaded onto the patient’s smartphone, tablet or computer, allowing for an interactive way to tap into their therapy, even between office visits. Engagement can work as a catalyst in ensuring that a patient keeps their office appointments. After all, they’ve already put work into their therapy while in the comfort of their own home, so the obvious next step is to have their responses evaluated at their next office visit.

 

With new applications that can assist with scheduling, patient reminders and engaged therapy, we can restore the importance of keeping appointments. As we begin to make these technological advances part of our daily routines, we will be welcoming in a new age of more efficient clinical practices, with fewer no-shows on the books and more opportunities to raise mental healthcare awareness.

Mentegram was born from void between care providers and people suffering from depression, substance abuse and other mental illnesses to make sure those people never have to face their condition alone. We have spent the past three years building the solution that allows both smaller and larger providers screen and assess their patients and clients and monitor the treatment progress, all while keeping the patients better engaged in their treatment. You were able to save a lot of your time, what gave you an opportunity to see more patients. You were also able to increase your revenue, because some of the Mentegram services are reimbursable under the existing CPT codes.

While we were focusing on improving health outcomes, we haven’t yet paid too much attention to help smaller practices save time on their daily operations and paperwork. It’s true that you are able to write therapy notes as well as schedule appointments with Mentegram. However, we’ve always known that there was a lot of space for improvement and optimization for smaller practices. And it’s happening now.

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Writing therapy notes may not be the best part of a clinician’s day, but it is a vital part of running an organized, efficient practice. Many mental healthcare providers find that between seeing patients and maintaining an office, they often fall behind in their notes, finding it difficult to play catch-up, as well as document new cases and provide current session notes.

However, technology is quickly becoming the new best friend of therapists everywhere, providing clinicians with fast, easy approaches to tackle that growing pile of therapy notes. Let’s take a look at three ways to increase documentation productivity!

 

1. Take Notes Electronically

The best way to speed up your note taking is to do it electronically. Not only does it save time to use software products for electronic notes, but it creates much more concise notes, also making it easy to retrieve notes with a simple click. Electronic therapy notes may also assist with generalized office coordination, making it easy to generate reports and analyze the information.

2. Try Collaborative Documentation

Wouldn’t it be great to have a good portion of your notes written before the patient even leaves the office? Therapists utilizing a method known as collaborative documentation are making this a reality! Collaborative documentation is basically involving the client in the note-taking process, offering up a series of questions for the patient and allowing them the time to respond, while all the time easily providing electronic documentation. Not only are you writing a good portion of your notes during the therapy session, but you are also boosting patient engagement in their treatment.

3. Stop Procrastinating

Make it a point to finish up your notes for the day that you are not able to complete during sessions before you even leave the office. Creating documentation when the session is still fresh in your mind will make writing notes go by much faster. Flipping through patient files and analyzing notes for a second time to be sure of the details are sure ways to slow down the process. However, if you do find that you need to access your notes, taking those notes electronically provides an easy method for fast retrieval.
When clinicians can spend less time writing their therapy notes, it can open up more time to spend seeing clients, bringing in more money for the practice and providing beneficial mental healthcare for people who really need it. Taking notes electronically should have you well on your way to making a pile of notes on your desk a thing of the past.

Everyone is talking about going paperless these days, causing therapists everywhere to wonder just what are the benefits to taking this technological leap. While obviously helping the environment is at the top of the list, there are a host of other reasons why you should rid your practice of stacks of paper and confusing files of clutter. Let’s take a look at the top three!

1. Cutting Down Time in Taking Notes

To start, an aspect where all mental healthcare would love to save a bit of time is in taking notes. While many therapists still keep that pad and pen handy at all times, using a tablet and simple note-taking software can go a long way in the effort to go paperless. This not only makes the practice of note-taking much more efficient, but it offers organizational benefits that could literally save you so much time that you might even be able to squeeze in an extra patient. With benefits like this, taking notes electronically should be the obvious next step to providing better private practice productivity.

2. You Can Save Time and Administration Efforts for Patient Screenings

Before going paperless, most patient screenings and questionnaires are conducted via a clipboard and a stack of photocopied paper, which are distributed by an employee upon check-in. Patients then hurriedly check boxes and scribble in answers, hoping to finish before their names are called. However, going paperless means that therapists can opt for a system offering online screening instruments, saving the practice both time AND money. Patients would also be able to access screenings from their smartphones, tablets or computers, keeping them better engaged in their therapy between office visits.

3. Your Files Are Safer and Easily Accessible

Finally, one of the most important benefits of going paperless in your private practice is that a leading HIPAA compliant software will keep your files safe, as well as provide much easier access. While most offices do take the necessary steps to backup important files, the point still remains that vital paperwork could be still be lost or even damaged. And when therapists choose to go paperless, they may also access their files from any place and at any time. With the technology that is available today, it just doesn’t make sense to employ college students to file paperwork and flip through clunky folders searching for elusive data.

 

Now that you know WHY you should go paperless, check out our post on HOW you can do it!

5 Easy Steps to Having a Paperless Private Practice

It seems that everyone is going paperless these days, and for good reason! Not only does not using paper help the environment and save your practice money, but there are plenty of other reasons that you should ditch the paper.

Reducing your use of paper will clear up a lot of clutter around the office, and dependent upon the types of programs and software that you choose to incorporate, you will be able to access your files and documents from home or even when you’re on vacation. Also, you won’t need to worry about your files being damaged, lost or even stolen, because everything will be digitally stored, free from the fear of spilled coffee, a new employee who files documents in the wrong place or a box that is lost during a move. Going paperless is definitely the way to go, leading to reaping the benefits of higher efficiency within your private practice. So, let’s explore a handful of ways to rid your office of stacks of paper and cluttered file cabinets!

1. Implement an EHR

The biggest step that a practice can take toward going paperless is to get started with an electronic health records software. And not only will an EHR cut back on the use of paper around the office, but it will organize your practice, as well, incorporating note taking, scheduling, a calendar and billing. Some software may also offer the options for the availability of digital patient consent forms and insurance filing. If the software also offers patient reminders, then that is even a bigger plus. Get ready to say goodbye to those cancellations and no-shows!

2. Sign up for Online Faxing

Another step to ensuring that your practice only uses paper when absolutely necessary is to register for an Internet-based fax program. Have you ever had one of those faxes that keeps receiving and printing dozens of pages, when you really only needed the last sheet? Cut back on paper by using online faxing to digitally store your incoming faxes, making it possible to only print when needed. This also keeps your faxes organized, typically available for sorting by date or category, and you will be able to easily access this information whenever it is needed.

3. Utilize Online Tools for Patient Screenings

Private practices can use a lot of paper for screening for mental health conditions. With every visit, patients also continue to fill out numerous forms, including health questionnaires to assist with monitoring their treatments. Incorporating online instruments for mental healthcare will not only rid your office of unnecessary paperwork, but it will organize these important documents, making them readily available for additional study and review. This type of software will also cut back on time spent by office staff administering these screenings and surveys, as that patients may access them from their own smartphones and tablets.

4. Purchase a Good Scanner

Once you begin storing all or most of your files digitally, you will want to keep up the practice by scanning in any documents that you receive in paper form. Scanning your documents will make them readily available digitally, along with the rest of your other files, so that all of a patient’s information can reside in one secure location. So, be sure to shop around and find a sheet-fed scanner, capable of scanning individual or multiple pages at a time. Once you have determined your daily scanner usage, look for a machine that will fit your budget, as well as work at a speed that will not hinder your workflow.

5. Start a Recycling Program

Now, while the idea of going paperless is wonderful, we all know that it is pretty much impossible to cut out all use of paper in an office, especially depending on each practice’s individual needs. However, even when using paper is necessary, setting up a system for recycling will help offset this occasional usage. The biggest part of beginning to recycle is to make sure that the entire office is on board. Once everyone adjusts to the minor changes it will entail, then consistently shredding and recycling will become habit, pushing your private practice just one step closer to becoming as paperless as possible.