Dr. Julie Hanks, PhD, LCSW, may just be one of the busiest private practitioners out there. She’s the founder and director of a group practice called Wasatch Family Therapy. She’s also an author, relationship expert, media contributor, blogger, speaker, performing songwriter, licensed therapist, and college professor with more than 28 years of experience counseling women, couples, and families.
With so much going on, Dr. Hanks couldn’t waste anymore time on her group practice’s outdated electronic health record (EHR) system. So she needed to make a change, and she needed to make one fast. We sat down with Dr. Hanks to hear what her experience was like switching to a new EHR.
Dr. Hanks Tells Her Story
My practice was in need of a change. But finding and implementing an EHR system is hard, especially for a group practice. As healers, we genuinely like to do our work. Guiding clients through the therapy process and seeing them make progress is why we do what we do. But if you’re in private practice, you know there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that’s crucial to running an efficient and organized business.
The right EHR matters, but it’s not always easy to sort out which one is actually going to work best for you. There’s a variety of features that are so important for my practice—like easy and immediate reporting options, an online scheduler, integrated credit card billing, and a great client portal. We’d been using an EHR for three years that had some great clinical features, but the reporting options were inconvenient and outdated. We needed to upgrade.
How We Managed the Transition Process
My team at Wasatch Family Therapy made the switch to SimplePractice. After reviewing the other options out there, SimplePractice was the most innovative practice management software I could find that would actually meet my needs. In case you’re also fed up with your EHR and are looking to make the switch, I wanted to share my experience transitioning to SimplePractice.
It’s important to remember that no matter how great the software is, transitioning a group practice to a new system comes with its own set of challenges. My team experienced a lot of anxiety prior to switching to SimplePractice—as is to be expected since an EHR is an integral part of any practice, both from a clinical and business standpoint. And the unknown factors—the possibility of errors that might impact our livelihoods—were daunting.
A few weeks before our March 1st transition date, I sent all of my team members their login information, so they could get familiar with SimplePractice by testing out the platform, creating test clients, using the calendar, and exploring the clinical notes. I asked them to jot down all of their questions and any difficulties they had navigating the software. Then, they could send their feedback to me and my office manager, Brittany.
Brittany watched the SimplePractice training videos in preparation for our March 1st transition date. She also went through all of the administrative options, inputted all of our therapists, and customized the auto-responders and invoices.
We held two hour-long training sessions during our regularly scheduled team meetings to walk everyone through the SimplePractice platform. Each clinician brought their laptops or smartphones, so they could follow along on their own devices. Brittany guided everyone through scheduling a client, writing notes, syncing with Google Calendar, and more. We also had the team play around with the SimplePractice app.
During these training sessions, I noticed something ironic—our tendency to want to complicate SimplePractice. It wasn’t long before therapists started requesting a variety of clinical notes and forms. My clinical director, Mike, did a great job of vetting the suggestions by saying, “You have to make a really good case for me to add anything to SimplePractice.” It’s important to question why we approach things the way we do. Sometimes the better way of doing things takes some adjustment, and that’s okay.
The Challenges We Faced During Transition
The problems we experienced during our transition in March were actually caused by our old practice management platform. Our previous payment portal didn’t require CVC codes, so we soon realized that we couldn’t run any of our clients’ credit cards. We had to ask every client for their CVC code, or had to manually input their credit card information via the client portal.
Another issue we encountered because of our previous EHR was that we didn’t have a way to export our client data, so we could import it into SimplePractice. So, we (and by “we” I mean my office manager Brittany) had to input all of our client information by hand. Having to deal with these inefficiencies from our old software only reinforced our need to upgrade to SimplePractice.
What We Love About SimplePractice
From my clinicians’ point of view, SimplePractice is very user-friendly. Plus, the simple intake and clinical note forms take a lot less time to complete now.
From an office manager’s vantage point, SimplePractice makes running credit cards a breeze. The seamless integration with Stripe payment processing has significantly reduced the time and effort it takes to process credit card payments. Also, we love the automated messages feature that gives new clients access to both the Client Portal and new client forms.
As the owner and executive director of a group practice, I appreciate how easily I can access financial reports to see if we’re meeting our financial goals. Now I have the insight and information I need at the touch of a button. After just one month of using SimplePractice, I knew I made the right decision for my practice.
Meet the Switching Team
You have important practice information and sensitive client data to bring to a new platform, so you want to make sure it’s done right. The SimplePractice Switching Team helps you make a smooth and painless transition.
The main concern for many practitioners is migrating their client data. But with SimplePractice, our intuitive process allows you to upload all of your client data in just four easy steps. Plus, the experienced Switching Team will be by your side providing detailed instructions and personally guiding you through the uploading process.
To switch your client data to SimplePractice, follow these four steps:
- Export your client data from your previous EHR with our export instructions
- Upload client data by using our switching template
- Send a Mass Document Request to your clients with the click of a button
- Start using your pre-populated account
In addition to our Switching Team, you’ll also have the support of our top-rated Customer Success team who are available to help you every step of the way. Make the switch today.