Software Tools

Why SimplePractice is the Best EHR

 January 21, 2021

By  Uriah Guilford, MFT

minute read

Special Offer: Get your first 2 months of SimplePractice for the price of one when you sign up for an account today. This exclusive offer is valid for new customers only. Check out the details.

Uriah: Hello, I’m Uriah. Welcome to the Productive Therapist podcast! So glad to have you listening today. I’m here with my co-host and world class virtual assistant, Tracel. Hi there!

Tracel: Hi, I’m happy to be chatting with you today.

Uriah: Absolutely. So, I have two questions for you, an easy one and a hard one. Which one do you want first?

Tracel: Easy, I need a softball this morning. (laughs)

Uriah: Yes, OK, here we go. So how many EHRs (electronic health record softwares) do we support here at Productive Therapist?

Tracel: Two! That’s it, just two. (laughs)

Uriah: Yes, that’s the right answer! And we won’t say what the other one is, but one of them is definitely SimplePractice, right?

Tracel: Yes, we love SimplePractice.

Uriah: We do. So, the second question is a little bit harder, and I’ll confess that I didn’t know the answer before I came up with this. But how many EHRs are there to choose from, do you think?

Tracel: Oooh, 123. I’m very specific. (laughs)

Uriah: I love that! Yes, you’re absolutely on the money. How did you guess? For all the marbles in the jar!

Tracel: Do I win the car? (laughs)

Uriah: You won the car, yes. (laughs)

So, I mean, between the medical industry and the mental health industry, there are hundreds. If you’re talking about EHRs just for therapists, there’s a ton.

I couldn’t find a specific number, but I went to a pretty reputable site called tameyourpractice.com that does in-depth EHR reviews. There are 34 reviews on there, and that’s probably just the top ones that are the most used!

Tracel: That make sense.

Uriah: That’s a lot, right?

Tracel: Yes, it is. It’s a lot.

Uriah: So, you know, any therapist in solo practice or group practice trying to find the best EHR has quite a task on their hands.

Tracel: Mhmm, they do.

Uriah: So, hopefully this episode will help you make a decision, or make a change if you need to.

Tracel: Right.

Uriah: Yeah. So, I’ll tell you first, I’ve been using SimplePractice for about 5 to 6 years, first in my solo practice and then with my group. And from the start till now, it’s honestly been a great experience. And I would say I’m genuinely a huge fan of the product and the team, and I think you know that, and that’s part of the reason why we decided to back SimplePractice as one of the main EHRs that we support. It’s just a really good platform. Wouldn’t you agree?

Tracel: I would. And I think it’s pretty intuitive and user-friendly.

Uriah: It is. I mean, they actually did choose a good name for the software. I like that. (laughs)

Tracel: Right. You want it to be simple! (laughs)

Uriah: Absolutely. That’s actually one of our core values here at Productive Therapist, isn’t it — “simple solutions.”

Tracel: That’s right.

Uriah: And I would say SimplePractice falls into that category and meets that requirement!

So, disclaimer here, this episode is sponsored by Simple Practice, which is exciting, but my comments and our comments and review is absolutely genuine. So, if you don’t believe me, go read my blog post from April 2018 titled “Why I Love SimplePractice.” There you go.

A long, long history! OK, so here are a few general things that I appreciate about SimplePractice as a platform and as a company.

The first one is that their team is constantly improving and updating the platform, which is really nice.

I’ll log in every once in a while. I don’t even know how often the updates come, but I’ll log in and there will be a pop up that says, “Hey, guess what, we have a new feature for you that’s going to make your life easier.”

Tracel: Right.

Uriah: Fantastic! That’s great. And I came from another software platform prior to coming to SimplePractice that was very slow in improving and updating things, and that just doesn’t give me a lot of confidence in where things are going and if I can really build my business on this platform.

The second one is that SimplePractice is always stable and speedy.

This is not something that you really think about until you hit a problem with, you know, with any application or program. (laughs)

Tracel: Right.

Uriah: But when you are relying on this for telehealth, for creating your notes and keeping all of your records, you really want it to work, and be fast, and not have any what they call ‘downtime.’ I don’t think I can remember SimplePractice ever going down.

Tracel: No, and I think about what you just mentioned about telehealth, they provided that prior to it being so widely used now. But I feel like it was pretty seamless with the amount of people that would have been using it all at the same time. I didn’t hear of it going down during that time when you have this huge influx of people depending upon that platform.

Uriah: No, it’s true! It’s true. I mean, with all of the video chat and telehealth applications, I’ve had problems here and there because of the huge usage over the last year –

Tracel: Right.

Uriah: – but my practice has had really good experience with the stability and the functionality of the telehealth. We’ll talk about that in a little bit, too.

So, number one, they’re constantly improving, and number two, that’s stable and speedy.

Number three is that I have felt that their support has always been excellent, especially the support section on the site with videos, articles, and walk-throughs.

It’s really just gives you pretty much all the information you need to get up and running with it or solve a problem that you come across.

Tracel: Right. I have found that to be true as well. Even if you’re just doing a Google search and you put “SimplePractice,” and then for example, “create a superbill,” if you just put those things in, the first thing that always pops up is the SimplePractice video. So, it’s really fantastic.

Uriah: Pretty much what you’re looking for.

Tracel: Absolutely. Yes.

Uriah: And we use that support site extensively to train our virtual assistants in-house! Which is nice that we can say, “go to the site, watch all these videos, and you’ll pretty much know how to do most of the things!”

And for me at least, I’ve never really needed phone support. I’ve never really needed to call somebody and talk to them on the phone to solve a problem. For me, their email support and the chat has been totally sufficient.

So that’s good. I just love those things about SimplePractice as a company and as a development team.

I think this is a good time to take a quick pause and hear about our sponsor. You guessed it: SimplePractice.

*****

Uriah: OK, we’re back. Now, I want to talk about a few of my favorite features that we use every day in my group practice.

The first one is the attractive and intuitive user interface. And Tracel, you know that I’m a big software nerd, and I always have thoughts and opinions about these types of things, right?

Tracel: Yes, you do. Yes. (laughs)

Uriah: The nice thing about SimplePractice that everything is easy to find, and the navigation is always where you expect it.

And even though there are a lot of features built in, you can pretty much always find exactly what you’re looking for. And it looks good, honestly. It really does.

Tracel: Right. And I like that you don’t have to use all the features. If there’s something that you don’t use in your practice, you don’t have to use that part of it so that the end user doesn’t have to look at that and say, “Well, you don’t need this information, why do I have to provide it?” You can customize it to your needs.

Uriah: Definitely. And the things that you don’t necessarily use are not in your way.

Tracel: Right, yes.

Uriah: So that’s important. And over all these years of them developing the software, I don’t think they’ve ever changed anything significantly enough for me to be upset about how it looks and operates.

And this is not just important because I’m a software nerd, but if you’re using a piece of software every single day for your work, you want it to function and look good while you do it. So that’s pretty cool.

Tracel: Absolutely.

Uriah: The next one is the integrated credit card processing with this auto feature that, I could be wrong, but I think it’s pretty unique to SimplePractice.

So, SimplePractice integrates with Stripe so you can automatically charge invoices for the sessions. And the auto pay feature is something that you can turn on for individual clients or you can turn it on for everybody at once, which basically charges the invoice to the credit card on file overnight, which is really nice, and it takes just a little bit of that admin time away. Your assistant basically doesn’t have to do that for you, and it just happens overnight, which is cool.

Tracel: Right. We had a client who came to us because they had just switched to SimplePractice and needed help. They hadn’t taken the time to learn how to use it, so we were helping them do that.

This was one of the single things that really sold her on it, was the ability to auto pay. We went back and checked to see how much money she had left on the table previously because she was still taking checks, all sorts of crazy things like that, and this really changed her business, being able to auto pay.

Uriah: That’s fantastic. I love that. And then you don’t forget about it. The only thing you have to do is make sure that the appointment is correct in your calendar so that it doesn’t automatically charge something that you didn’t want charged.

But, you know, once that happens once or twice, you learn pretty quick. (laughs)

Tracel: Yes. (laughs)

Uriah: The only time it’s not really a great option is when we have clients that have, say, divorced, parents that pay differently, one by check, one by credit card, that kind of situation.

But for the majority of clients, it’s going to be quite a nice option. Especially now that telehealth is so popular, I think we maybe got like one check payment in the last 10-11 months, which is kind of nice.

Tracel: Right, right. Especially if you’re not seeing somebody in the office, this is a perfect thing to use.

Uriah: Absolutely, yes. And, I’ll just say this because some people are going to think about it. You’re probably thinking this right now, “Maybe I can get a better credit card processing rate if I use another service outside of SimplePractice?”

And you might be able to do that. But you are going to lose time and money because you don’t have the integration.

Tracel: That client I mentioned? That’s exactly what she was doing. She’s using another service, and when I explained to her what she’d be saving in her time, it was well worth it for her to just use Stripe and use the interface that was already built in.

Uriah: I like it. I like it. And then the next one is that the client portal is really easy to use and fully featured. I mean, I haven’t looked at every client portal for sure, but I think SimplePractice’s is one of the best.

It just makes things easy for the clients to electronically sign their forms, to look at their past and future appointments, they can log in there and pay their bills, and upload documents. There’s just so many different things you can do, including secure messaging, which I didn’t even put on this list. But that’s a nice feature that’s built into the client portal as well. Huge, huge benefit.

Tracel: Right, and if you take insurance, you can upload the medical cards, all of that stuff is kept right there. It’s really fantastic.

Uriah: Yeah, and it works really well on mobile devices, too, which is which is important.

The one thing that I do want them to release in the future is a client-facing app to use secure messaging to where they don’t have to click a link and log in every single time. So, it’s more like texting, but it’s secure.

Tracel: Right.

Uriah: That’s like top on my list of things. (laughs)

Tracel: Your wish list. (laughs)

Uriah: Yeah, yeah. (laughs) The client portal is huge, that’s fantastic, and just a note on that, we come across some of our new clients for Productive Therapist that use SimplePractice but don’t use this particular feature. Maybe they’ve got a button on their contact page for online scheduling, but it clicks over to their client portal site, which is fine, but there is a SimplePractice widget that you can embed easily on that page where they click the button, and it pops up on the same site and gives the person online scheduling options.

And then when they’re done, they go right back to your website. So that’s kind of neat.

Tracel: Yes.

Uriah: Yeah. The next one is a flexible calendar and scheduling system. This is obviously key for us as a team of virtual assistants.

The calendar and everything related to scheduling client appointments looks good and works well. And I think it’s just really attractive and functional. There’s color coding on the fly out, which is what they call that little window where you click on an appointment and it pops up a little window.

Tracel: Mmhmm.

Uriah: You can pretty much do everything you need to do in that little fly out window, and it just works well.

And for me, it makes it really easy to manage my group practice because there’s a couple of different views that are common to any calendaring system, but I can go in and I can see what sessions my therapists are having every single day of the week.

So, I can look at a week view, a month view, or the best one for me is a day view.

So just this morning I looked to see who was “in the office today,” and I could see what everybody was doing. And if we were fully in the office, then that gives me a quick snapshot on which offices are going to be used. It’s a nice visual for me as the owner. So that’s great.

Tracel: And the other thing that I like about this scheduling, if you are scheduling as a virtual assistant, is the section for availability where the clinicians can go in and put when they’re available, especially if they have an opening for a new client or something like that.

Not everybody uses their calendar that way, but I find it very helpful so that you don’t overlook an open spot that might be challenging to see on the work schedule. You have this separate section you can go to find just the open time slots, which is really helpful.

Uriah: Yeah, I like that a lot. I know Tiffany uses that a lot for my practice for sure, especially for our therapists that are busy and very full. She can quickly see what’s open, what’s not open, all of that.

Tracel: Exactly.

Uriah: So, this is my short list, there’s a lot more things that I could talk about, but the last one on my short list here is the solid telehealth feature, which we mentioned before.

SimplePractice, without knowing it, developed and added it well before the pandemic, which is nice. And back in March of 2020 in a single day, I decided, “OK, we have to do this.”

I think I clicked just a couple of buttons and turned on the telehealth feature for all of my therapists.

And I really, honestly didn’t have to give them much information or guidance on how to use it. It was just that intuitive from the get-go.

So that has been a lifesaver for us for sure, and for many, many other practices as well.

One nice thing about that, too, is that in the last one or two months, they added some extra features, both for stability and improving how well it functions, but also the feature where you can hide your own face, which is especially nice if you’re like me and you don’t want to look at yourself all the time. (laughs)

Tracel: Right. (laughs)

Uriah: So not only did they have it in place at the right time, but they’ve added features and increased its stability over time, which is fantastic.

Tracel: Mmhmm.

Uriah: So, like I said, I could go on. There’s a number of other features that you can go to the website and check out. These are just some of the favorite ones that I enjoy, my team enjoys, and that makes running my group practice quite simple.

If you want to learn more and get your first two months for the price of one, head over to simplepractice.com/productivetherapist. Thanks for listening and have a great day. Bye, Tracel!

Tracel: Bye!

Special Offer: Get your first 2 months of SimplePractice for the price of one when you sign up for an account today. This exclusive offer is valid for new customers only. Check out the details.

Uriah Guilford, MFT


Uriah is a group practice owner and the creator of Productive Therapist. He is a technology nerd, a minimalist travel packer, a rock drummer and business development enthusiast.

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