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Do I need an EHR?














Let's start with one of the foundational questions therapists in private practice have to grapple with: do I need an Electronic Health Record (EHR)? If so, which one should I choose?


Spoiler alert: you DO need an EHR! Okay, there might be a few special cases where you would consider operating a private practice without an EHR, but that is going to be the vast minority of cases. The main purpose of an EHR is to collect and store client information in a secure and confidential system. It is an alternative to paper charts, file folders, and filing cabinets. It is an alternative to sending emails with word documents and PDFs that clients need to download, print, fill out by hand, and send back. If you are still keeping your records in paper form or in folders on your desktop, switching to an EHR will be a little bit of a learning curve, but it will streamline intake and forms for you and your client. It will increase the security of your client's info and it will make record-keeping and intake smoother and easier.


EHRs now come with a whole host of other features, which may be a huge benefit to you, or they may be unnecessary. Only you can decide if you also need/want integrated scheduling, telehealth, billing, or a simple website through your EHR. I personally do manual scheduling through my EHR, and I have auto-reminders and automatic billing setup for all of my clients. I also use my EHR for telehealth. I love having 75% of my tech for my practice centered in one integrated system. Other people choose to use alternate services for billing, or sometimes for telehealth or scheduling.


As for which EHRs to consider, we recommend Simple Practice or Therapy Notes. Both of these EHRs are comprehensive, well-established, and offer a wide range of functionality. I personally use Simple Practice: at $59/month I get an amazing set of services that handles all of my client PHI and my scheduling, telehealth, and billing.


What EHR do you like? Are you still trying to decide? Post your questions or experiences below in the comments.

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