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Best EMR & EHR Software for Therapists: The Complete Guide

The fast-paced growth of behavioral health made healthcare providers demand better systems to keep up. The application of EMRs and EHRs have addressed this problem. Because both are digital software, people tend to use them interchangeably, resulting in confusion.

What’s great is that this software helps streamline communication between clinicians, doctors, and the patients in their care. Psychiatrists can prescribe medication, track prescriptions requests, and have access to medical history to ensure the patient’s safety and investigate if there’s substance misuse. Thus, they can remotely provide quality care as if they are right next to each other!

Because of the improvements experienced by the clinicians who used it, a variety of software options are made available today. Each has specifications that will cater to the clinician’s specific needs, but like everything, it comes with a price. It’s not cheap, but it could definitely take some things off your plate and help you run a more streamlined practice.

Now that we have a good summary of everything we’ll discuss, it’s time to dig through! Keep reading to learn the best EMR and EHR Software for mental health professionals.

EMR vs EHR

Before we start digging through these systems, it’s essential to know exactly what the difference is between the two. EMR, or electronic medical record, is a chart created digitally from a single practice. Meaning if you’re a therapist, this is going to be for your eyes only. On the other hand, EHR or electronic health record, is a chart created that can be used to share across practices. It will contain information from different therapists and may include information about the patient’s healthcare providers.

A simple way to look at how EMR and EHR are different is that:

  • EMR is only for your practice.
  • EHR is for everyone involved in the patient’s care.

These two are often used interchangeably in mental health, and most software providers tend to refer to themselves as EHR software but do mention EMR quite frequently.

What is an EMR and How Does It Help Therapists?

An EMR or electronic medical record is a digital version of a paper record. It contains information about a patient’s medical history, diagnoses, treatment plans, psychiatric medications (for therapists), allergies, laboratory test results, and every medical data that a specialist finds when a patient proceeds with a check-up. All of this information is stored in a cloud.

Advantages of an EMR

Let’s review some advantages of an EMR:

1. Improve practice efficiency

EMRs allow prompt access to patient data that adds efficiency to the workflow of any practitioner using it – including billing. 

2. Securely share medical information

Furthermore, the system also will enable organizations within a practice to securely share medical information in a snap without the inconvenience of delivering printed data to all staff involved in a patient’s care or the hassle of rummaging through file cabinets to find the correct file. 

3. Reduce possible mistakes

Apart from that, everyone knows about the running gag about a doctor’s handwriting; EMRs will help you avoid not only the squiggly script, but it will also help reduce the possibility of misinterpretations of written notes during transcription. 

Disadvantages of an EMR

Let’s review some disadvantages of an EMR:

1. Requires staff training

EMRs, like any other tools, systems, and skills, require staff training. It can be intricate to use; that’s why you must need your team to train on how to get familiarized with the software. Remember, though, conducting upskilling will lessen the time spent with your patients, so it’s essential to schedule these training sessions properly – you may even consider giving your staff paid overtime so your team can go through it immediately.

2. There is a financial cost

Along with the training costs, EMRs itself can be expensive. Yet, the weight of its price tag depends on the functionalities and features your practice needs. There are a lot of EMRs in the market that offer a myriad of features. Keep in mind that your clinic might only require some of them, so it’s best to find an EMR system that can cater to just what you need. That way, you’ll only be paying for what you need.

3. Cybersecurity risks

Cloud-based systems are always at risk of being hacked. Malicious attempts to access the system to siphon confidential and private information are always possible. To avoid this from happening, it’s crucial for every practitioner to ensure that the EMR system used in their clinic engages with the appropriate security measure to keep attackers out. 

What is an EHR and How Does It Help Therapists?

An EHR or electronic health record’s definition or what it does is similar to EMR. The only difference is that multiple healthcare providers can access and enter details along with the patient. In this regard, it helps patients avoid undergoing duplicate tests by means of clinicians and doctors alike being on the same page, helps save time by reducing delays when patient information needs to be inputted, and patients become more well-informed before making any decisions because they also have access to their results.

Advantages of an EHR

Let’s review some advantages of an EHR:

1. Improved quality of care

A therapist with EHR software has a major advantage over a therapist who doesn’t have EHR software. For clients, EHR software offers:

  • The ability to improve accuracy of documentation, making diagnosis and claims submission easier and faster
  • The ability to track and manage medication all in one location
  • The ability to start treatments immediately with automated alerts noting potential risks
  • The ability to provide greater support in making point-of-care decisions
  • The ability to easily integrate evidence-based clinical guidelines
  • The ability to more easily track and implement preventive care
  • The ability to store medical records more safely
  • The ability to analyze data more easily

2. Collaboration between healthcare providers become more efficient

Aside from giving healthcare providers a greater sense of organizational efficiency, EHRs also offer the chance to collaborate with fellow healthcare providers. Making patient care more seamless and the dissemination of information from each party more swift – without a game of phone tag.

3. Financial incentives

An accredited EHR system for therapists can help the practice meet Medicare and Medicaid Meaningful Use requirements. If a clinic uses this kind of EHR system, the federal government can help them access certain incentives compared to those who do not. 

Disadvantages of an EHR

Let’s review some disadvantages of an EHR:

1. Privacy and cybersecurity issues

All computerized systems are vulnerable to attacks by hackers, and EHR systems are not completely immune.

2. Frightening Patients Unnecessarily

When a patient has access to their own medical information, it can expose them to information they they may not fully understand —creating panic and hysteria that might lead to the patient doing things that a healthcare professional would not advise. 

3. Inconvenience and inefficiency

Frequent maintenance of an EHR system is necessary, and a team who uses one must stay on top of it. Records could lose their accuracy if not updated timely, and in times of a power outage or computer failure, the information stored in the system can become out of reach. Having a backup computer that can access the EHR is highly recommended to avoid inconveniences like this.

4 Basic Requirements in EHR Software for Therapists

Therapists use EHRs and EMRs to manage day-to-day processes while ensuring that patient information remains confidential and can provide easy access to clients simultaneously. Currently, the American Psychological Association (APA) isn’t endorsing any specific software for use. Interestingly, the law doesn’t require mental health professionals to use any.

Whatever the case may be, whenever choosing software for handling and storing medical records, it’s essential to take note of the following:

1. It must be HIPAA-compliant

Keeping mental health records separate from other medical records is necessary for some therapists and practices. Yes, a central record can promote overall improvement in care delivery, but the software used should give users control over who can look at their medical or therapy records.

2. Data presented should be organized

Keeping mental health records separate from other medical records is necessary for some therapists and practices. Yes, a central record can promote overall improvement in care delivery, but the software used should give users control over who can look at their medical or therapy records.

3. Storage

Software available in the market mostly store data in a cloud or directly on a clinician’s computer. Make sure to carefully investigate what’s best for your practice since, like always, there are advantages and disadvantages to any approach. 

4. Ease of access

Choose a software that will allow patients to download their information directly and won’t redirect somewhere else. Another important bit is to make sure that the one you choose works on a wide range of phones and computers.

5 of the Best EMR / EHR Software for Therapists in 2023

Let’s review 5 of the best EMR / EHR software solutions for mental health professionals in 2023, in no particular order:

SimplePractice

SimplePractice’s edge compared to the rest on this list is that its telehealth option allows patients to look for available slots and book appointments. It also assists in conducting sessions from remote locations.

Why it’s great:

  • Its compatibility with iOS and Android devices makes it easy to schedule and generate accurate bills wherever you are located.
  • Patients can look for available slots and book appointments online, as well as submit consent and intake forms via the patient portal.
  • It can automatically send reminders to clients via voice or email to allow patients to reschedule or cancel appointments to reduce no-shows.
  • It can be fully integrated with Google and Outlook Calendars, Stipe, and Braintree to fully manage operations using a single system.
  • Patients can process payments using credit and debit cards by signing in to the portal. It will also encourage clients to enroll in autopay.

How much is it?

For solo practices:

Coming in with a 30-day free trial, it starts at $29/mo with an option to add telehealth services for an additional $15/mo. The most popular choice starts at $69/mo, including telehealth and 10 insurance claim filing valued at $.25/claim. The next option starts at $99/mo, which includes everything from the first two options but instead of paying additional for a Wiley Treatment Planner, it comes with the package. Instead of having 10 available insurance claims, it increases to 35.

For group practices:

The group practice option also offers a 30-day free trial. It starts at $158/mo for 2 clinicians and up to $630/mo for 10 clinicians. This option is customizable depending on the size of your practice. You can check the pricing on their website for more information.

Compatibility:

Compatible with Linux, Mac, and Windows devices.

Advisable company size:

Small practices

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Theranest

TheraNest makes it easy for therapists and psychologists to smoothen daily operations by making management, scheduling, billing, and reporting modules easy to do. Save files on a secure server and have access to information while you’re away from your computer using your phone. Its patient portal will allow you to send reminders about upcoming appointments and allow patients to sign consent forms and intakes electronically.

Apart from that, you can schedule appointments in just a few clicks and virtual sessions can also be conducted via the website allowing you and your clients to utilize TheraNest well.

Why it’s great:

  • You can view appointments and generate treatment plans using internet-ready devices – phones and tablets. 
  • Your patients are allowed to sign documents inside their portal electronically. 
  • Gain access to DSM-5 and ICD-10 diagnostic codes in just a few clicks.
  • Infinitely add additional users without additional costs.
  • Store and view documents anywhere, anytime.
  • Data backups automatically run, helping you avoid any important files.
  • Appointment reminders can be sent via voice call, SMS, or email within the portal.
  • Will allow you to set up automatic reminders for your staff when a client responds.
  • Patients can pay online via the patient portal using debit or credit cards.

How much is it?

It starts at $39/month for up to 30 active clients. $50 for up to 40. $60 for 50 active clients. $91 for up to 80 clients, and if you need a lot more than that, you can contact them directly, or you may visit their website.

Note: Taxes still not applied.

Compatibility:

Compatible with Linux, Mac, and Windows devices.

Advisable company size:

Small, Medium, and Large practices

Get TheraNest

Learn more about TheraNest here

TherapyNotes

TherapyNotes is a web-based EHR system that’s been intended for use by therapists and multi-physician practices. This software will allow you to access and create customized patient treatment plans, compose and update progress reports, and draw up psychological and psychiatric patient profiles and assessments. Apart from that, this EHR system for therapists allows a practitioner to accept credit card payments and save their details in its billing module to save time on future payments.

Why it’s great:

  • You can create recurring patient appointments
  • You can set up staff work schedules and have the ability to directly see your staff’s individual and patient calendars
  • Has an automatic to-do list to tell you what needs to be filled out
  • Has a customizable client portal that will allow your patients to sign in and create a request for new or repeat appointments
  • It’s compatible with Windows PCs, Macs, iPads, and other internet ready devices.

How much is it?

It starts at $49/month for a solo practitioner, $59/month for a group ($30/month per additional clinician, +$20/month per intern) with an unlimited addition of non-clinical staff, and for the same amount at $59/month for an enterprise ($30/month per additional clinician, +$20/month per intern) unlimited addition of non-clinical staff and includes a designated account manager.

Compatibility:

Compatible with Linux, Mac, and Windows devices.

Advisable company size:

Small, Medium, and Large practices

Get TherapyNotes

Learn more about TherapyNotes here

DrChrono

Among other things, DrChrono will allow its users to e-prescribe, schedule, and generate invoices and charting modules to make those processes easy. It fully integrates with a HIPAA-regulated cloud storage system called Box for unlimited storage, data backups, and mobility. It can be accessed using web browsers and tablets such as iPads. Users can specifically tag files to access documents quickly.

Why it’s great:

  • Notify patients about future appointments via text or email. Apart from that,
  • Patients can send confirmation via phone or email making the process easy for the client.
  • E-prescriptions help avoid misinterpretation of handwriting.
  • Allow clients to look for available slots and schedule appointments using a web browser, iPads or iPhones.
  • Patients can directly access health information records via iOS devices.

How much is it?

DrChrono has four pricing plans:

Prometheus, Hippocrates, Apollo, and Apollo Plus. You can get a quote by visiting their plans and pricing page on their website.

Compatibility:

Compatible with Linux, Mac, and Windows devices.

Advisable company size:

Small, Medium, and Large practices

Get DrChrono

Learn more about DrChrono here

CounSol

CounSol is an EHR system that has a fully customizable dashboard that will help clinicians prioritize what statistics or reports are the most critical for their practice. This information is readily available once someone logs in.

It also has a section where you can see detailed reports using its pre-built reporting feature, where you can access patient details, billing, and session reports. 

Why it’s great:

  • Can customize forms depending on what kind of information needs to be taken from the patient.
  • Can be integrated with calendars to help avoid missing important updates and appointments.
  • Can schedule group sessions and set the duration, location, and time.
  • Patients can review and sign up for group meetings by signing in on the client portal.
  • Messages can be sent from within the system to remind clients about their sessions or payment statuses.
  • Automatically sends notifications to patients 24, 28, or 72 hours before their scheduled appointment through text, email, or phone.

How much is it?

They have four plans: Standard, Standard Plus, Premium, and Premium plus.

Standard:

The plan starts at $49.95/mo (+$35/mo for each additional counselor)

Standard Plus:

The plan starts at $59.95/mo (+$45/mo for each additional counselor)

Premium:

The plan starts at $64.95/mo (+$45/mo for each additional counselor)

Premium Plus:

The plan starts at $69.95/mo (+$45/mo for each additional counselor)

You can check out their pricing on their website for more information about their plans.

Compatibility:

Compatible with Linux, Mac, and Windows devices.

Advisable company size:

Small, Medium, and Large practices

Get CounSol

Learn more about CounSol here

The Bottom Line About EMR & EHR for Mental Health Providers

Thanks for reading our guide on the best EMR & EHR Software for Therapists. EHRs and EMRs are created to help streamline patient care and make clinicians do their jobs better. With many options available in the market, it is easy to feel pressure to choose the correct EHR system for your practice. Nobody can tell what specific EHR system for therapists can do the job – because each clinician has their style of care, administrative issues to handle, and management patterns. 

Being prepared and investigating pain points in your organization is the answer to finding the perfect EHR system for your team. Doing this will help you make an informed decision and ultimately lead to choosing the software for your practice. 

TherapyByPro is an online mental health directory that connects mental health pros with clients in need. If you’re a mental health professional, you can Join our community and add your practice listing here. We have assessments, practice forms, and worksheet templates mental health professionals can use to streamline their practice. View all of our mental health forms, worksheet, and assessments here.

Anthony Bart
Author: Anthony Bart

Anthony Bart is a huge mental health advocate. He has primarily positioned his marketing expertise to work with mental health professionals so that they can help as many patients as possible. He is currently the owner of BartX, TherapistX, and TherapyByPro.

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