Created by leading health management solution SimplePractice, Monarch raises the industry standard as the first national therapist directory to offer online booking, customized search, and direct health platform integration
LOS ANGELES—March 30, 2021—Monarch launches today as the first national therapist directory integrated into a robust electronic health record (EHR) platform, giving therapy seekers the security, ease of use, and full-service capabilities more common to every other area of modern healthcare until now. At Monarch’s launch, therapy seekers will be able to search its database of over 90,000 mental health practitioners nationwide, see their availability, and even book online. Monarch also integrates directly into the SimplePractice EHR platform, giving both patients and therapists an all-in-one solution that ensures the secure, seamless flow of information from the time an appointment is scheduled all the way through to the actual visit, billing, follow-up appointments, and more.
“For far too long, therapy seekers and those in need of behavioral and mental health services have been relegated to the back of the line when it comes to customer experience and access to care,” says Howard Spector, CEO of SimplePractice, a leading digital practice management platform and the creator of Monarch. “It’s about time we start treating mental healthcare as healthcare, with the same standards of service, access, and technology that has become so commonplace in every other medical setting.”
For SimplePractice, a user-centric therapist directory and online booking portal is the latest in a series of platform additions built from the ground up to better serve the mental and behavioral health community. SimplePractice customers, many of whom are therapists who run their own private practices, already benefit from a full ecosystem that handles all of the logistics necessary to run a seamless practice. That means telehealth, scheduling, billing, form-intake, and continuing education—all available on one elegant, HIPAA-compliant, and HITRUST-certified platform. SimplePractice is part of the EngageSmart portfolio of solutions, backed by leading global growth equity firm General Atlantic.
Connecting back-office solutions tailored to the needs of mental health professionals to a platform for direct engagement with therapy seekers was the logical next step in a series of innovations from SimplePractice in recent years. In 2018, the company launched telehealth to provide mental health professionals with the same suite of services that exists for “traditional” healthcare, which was starting to advance its technologies. That means when COVID-19 caused mass closures of businesses and restricted in-person interactions, SimplePractice customers were already well-equipped to transition to virtual sessions with their clients.
Even as SimplePractice’s own customer base and feature use skyrocketed as the pandemic raged on (in 2020, the company scheduled an average of 17.2 years of therapy appointments each day, and has conducted 1,374 years of telehealth on the platform since March of last year), CEO Howard Spector recognized a massive unmet need for improving access to care for the therapy seekers themselves.
“We’ve been long equipping our customers, many of whom are small business owners in addition to being health professionals, with the same best-in-class technology that medical professionals in large practices and hospital systems are accustomed to. At the same time, we’ve seen that their own clients—therapy seekers themselves—are still left out in the cold when it comes to seamlessly being able to find, book, visit, and pay for care in the way they can for nearly everything else,” he says.
“Mental health should not be a luxury, an exception, or even a nice-to-have—nor should it be so challenging to navigate as a patient, consumer, or recipient of care. Monarch was created to address all of that, and to remove so many of the obstacles that stand in the way of getting therapy when you need it most.”
Within a few months, the Monarch platform will also offer matchmaking capabilities, and allow therapists and practitioners to report on the progress of patients. Monarch is also in talks with leading employee assistance provider (EAP) networks to augment existing healthcare provider groups with Monarch’s national therapist network.
Therapy seekers can visit www.meetmonarch.com today to search the therapist database and book an appointment based on their own preferences and availability.
Why Online Booking Matters in Healthcare
According to a recent survey of therapy seekers by SimplePractice, 67% stated they would be more likely to choose a therapist if online booking for that therapist were offered. This mirrors data from the wider healthcare industry that shows that when online booking is available, 43% of all healthcare appointments are booked after hours. The same research shows that if an appointment is not available within a few days, the effort to seek care is abandoned altogether, or another practitioner with availability is selected.
In the SimplePractice survey, 74% of people diagnosed with depression, 75% of those diagnosed with anxiety, and 80% of those with drug or alcohol addictions were more likely to choose a therapist who offered online booking. This disadvantages not only therapists, who are missing opportunities to grow their practices, but those people who are most in need of care.
The link between cost, insurance, and therapist availability
The same SimplePractice survey showed that the primary barrier to treatment for therapy seekers is cost and payment options, followed closely by therapist availability and the option to book online/during off-hours.
Similarly, in a parallel survey of therapists by SimplePractice, many therapists reported being overwhelmed by the increase in demand for their services. But they also reported a sense of despair at not being able to offer help to all those who requested it, due to scheduling and insurance limitations.
Across the board, therapists who take insurance tend to have very little availability to take on new patients, while those who operate on a cash basis tend to have more room. The ability to see therapist availability in real-time is a huge differentiator for therapy seekers on Monarch, as it saves countless phone calls, emails, and other outreach attempts to therapists who—despite having profiles available on directory sites—have no current openings for new patients.
Addressing the behavioral health crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many vulnerabilities in our healthcare system, with the dearth of support for mental and behavioral health practitioners, their clients, and those seeking treatment key among them. A recent report from Accenture points out that behavioral health issues have been rapidly rising since the start of the pandemic and that digital health solutions will be more vital than ever in addressing challenges in access and availability of quality care.
Finding the right therapist is often more challenging than finding almost any other type of healthcare practitioner. The launch of Monarch is a major milestone in streamlining access to mental health, serving as an invaluable tool for both therapy seekers and the mental and behavioral health professionals who dedicate their lives to helping them. To find out more, visit www.meetmonarch.com.
SimplePractice, an EngageSmart solution, gives health and wellness practitioners everything they need to succeed as entrepreneurs. With telehealth, scheduling, billing, form intake, continuing education, and more all available on one elegant, HIPAA-compliant, and HITRUST-certified platform, SimplePractice is the leading cloud-based EHR software for private practitioners. More than 90,000 practitioners trust SimplePractice to run their business, advance in their profession, and increase their capacity to help others, all without sacrificing the quality of life and control over their own destiny that should come with running a private practice. In 2021, SimplePractice launched Monarch, the first national therapist directory to offer online booking, customized search, and direct EHR platform integration. For more information on SimplePractice, visit SimplePractice.com and join the conversation on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.