The right tools make all the difference... Whether you're an individual clinician who is about to launch your first private practice, or a group practice looking for better ideas, here's a list of tools that will help you build and manage a full caseload.
- Practice owners, like most entrepreneurs, love to learn but struggle to find the time to do it. We've got stacks of books and no times to read them. That's where Blinkist saves the day. It's an app that gives you access to five minute summaries of all the best books from the top authors, including the main themes, most actionable points and best quotes.
Simplify and Automate...
- Online Client Forms with Automatic Reminders ($40 / month) - IntakeQ.com pays for itself by saving you the time and cost of printing new client forms like your Informed Consent Client, New Client Info Sheet, Updated Credit Card Collection Form or new therapist Onboarding Forms. Even better, is how it saves you time and money on paper and file cabinets since it automatically converts them to PDF's that can be easily uploaded to your EHR and sends your clients automated reminders when they haven't completed their paperwork. As a bonus, small practices can actually use IntakeQ as a standalone EHR that is perfect for cash pay prices.
- Electronic Medical Record Systems ($20 - $50 per month) - Paper is expensive, high risk, and time-consuming. Switching to a low-cost and quality electronic medical record (EMR) system is crucial in streamlining your practice, especially for practices wanting to accept insurance. We strongly recommend TherapyNotes.com (use code "Success20" for two free months) for practices that hope to grow beyond a single clinician, but also love SimplePractice for folks who want a robust EMR at a great price.
- HIPAA Compliant Email ($10 per month) - It's both unsafe and unprofessional to use the popular personal email programs for your practice. Peace of mind comes cheap with programs like Hushmail.com, which offers 128-bit encryption, free secure web forms, and the uber important Business Associate Agreement (BAA) required under HIPAA.
- HIPAA Compliant Fax ($8 per month) - If you hope to receive referrals from doctors or other healthcare professionals, a secure fax line is essential. At $8 per month, SRFax.com is our hands down winner. They offer HIPAA compliant PGP encryption, will provide you with a dedicated fax number that forwards to your inbox, and sign a Business Associate Agreement.
- HIPAA Compliant VOIP Phone ($30 / month) - While it is completely acceptable for an individual practitioner to use their cell phone as their main number for the practice, many clinicians prefer to to have a separate phone number. Until Google Voice becomes HIPAA compliant, RingCentral.com is our choice, since it runs through an app on your phone and has some great call tracking features.
Get More Clients...
- Directory Services ($30 / month) - With a six month free trial and easy set up, every clinician should create a PsychologyToday.com profile even before they build their own website. As a bonus, it comes with a free subscription to the PsychToday magazine which makes for great lobby reading material.
- Marketing Materials ($100 / year) - Most clinicians spend too much time designing the perfect marketing materials and not enough time telling everyone about their practice. Vistaprint.com has great materials at incredible prices that allow you to customize with ease.
- Client Retention ($20 / month) - The easiest client to obtain is the one you already have. Getting your clients to come back is not just about doing good therapy. It's also about reminding your clients that you're available when they need you. Since you should never send a BCC email to all your clients, software like ConstantContact.com helps you publicize your upcoming availability, your expanded hours, new groups, etc. And yes, they'll sign a HIPAA compliant Business Associate Agreement.
- Decorating Your Office - Most new clinicians over-spend thinking that a great looking office will make for a thriving business. In reality, expensive furniture only hurts your early profits. We started our practice with a few hundred dollars of used furniture from consignment stores. If you are going to buy new furniture, we recommend using Wayfair or Hayneedle. They both offer low prices for quality furniture ($1,000 or less for a therapy room), free delivery, and an ability break your purchases up into 3-6 payments through Affirm (a third party financing company).
Managing Your Business
- Business Credit Card ($95 / year) - For liability, audit and tracking purposes, you should keep your business expenses separate from your personal expenses. From day one, our practice has relied on the Chase Ink card, which offers 5% cash back at office supply stores and for your internet / cell phone providers. They also offer 2% back on dining and gas and 1% on everything else, as well as an annual statement with your expenses broken up by category.
- Founder's Card ($395 annually, but pays for itself) - FoundersCard.com is a membership program for business owners that provides you discounts, freebies and access to networking events. We save 10-15% off standard rates for providers like AT&T, UPS, Constant Contact, RingCentral, Microsoft Office online, etc. Founder's Card also helps you save 5-20% on transactions at sites like LegalZoom, JetBlue, 1-800-Flowers, Fiji Water Delivery, etc and comes with free magazine subscriptions.
- Legal Zoom - While I will always advise everyone to consult attorneys in their state on a variety of issues, I know many of you will still choose to go it on your own to save money. For company and LLC formation, "Doing Business As" (DBA) registration, etc., LegalZoom offers solid service at a reasonable price.
- Tracking Your Finances and Taxes ($12 / mo) - Keeping track of what you earn and reporting your expenses properly is an important aspect of running your business. Spending valuable clinical time trying to file your taxes each year is a major drain on productivity. We highly recommend Quickbooks to track expenses and Turbotax to file your Schedule C (the data transfer easily between these two programs).
**Disclosure - Though some of the products and companies recommended do provide referral fees to SemiPrivatePractice.com, all products listed are currently being used and/or have been tested by SPP staff or Ken Clark.