Scheduling Software for Therapists:
Therapy Notes, Doc, Acuity, and Simple Practice
Advantages of using online scheduling and reviews of some options
I'm constantly amazed that more clinicians aren’t using online scheduling.
Not only is online scheduling a good way to track your business, but, in an age when more and more people are phone averse -- due to taste or social anxiety or what not -- it’s a boon to have a patient-driven online option. I personally like to get on the phone, but I have clients who won’t even order food if they have to call on the phone to do it. Perhaps this is something to work on with them, but I can’t work with someone if they can’t get to the office, which brings us back to scheduling software!
I’ll go over three options.
During my agency years, I worked at agencies that used Simple Practice software. It’s attractive for these businesses because it is a full Practice Management suite -- you can do billing and track insurance paperwork and even access therapy notes. Groovy, right? Yes -- except it DOESN’T allow clients to make their own appointments online, so it doesn’t address the problem of phone-shy clients, AND, unlike a large agency, a single therapist might not be paying someone to answer their phones full-time. At this stage in your career, you’re going to end up returning calls and playing phone tag just to make a first appointment. Even though I don’t mind returning calls, I just didn’t have the time, especially if I ended up going through the whole “new client spiel.” Another established industry app, Therapy Notes, has this same problem.
For several years I have used Acuity and I’ve been pretty happy. I’m okay doing my billing separately in exchange for my client’s ability to schedule (and reschedule) their own appointments. The monthly fee is reasonable, I like how I can manage the length of sessions and create new options for myself like “an extended couple session” should I feel the need to see a couple for longer than normal. While it could be better, I will probably stick with it until something better comes along.
And speaking of “something better,” I think it may have just come along! I’ve met with and interviewed the new app Doc’s creator Scott Gregg. He told me, "Doc's powerful waiting lists and scheduling tools help providers juggle the scheduling preferences of multiple patients, send relevant reminders when they become available, allow clients to reserve unbooked time slots, and do it all from a simple app." The app, which has an optional direct payment feature you can activate, can be used from a mobile device by both provider and patient. Gregg and his partner, Chris Simmons, specifically created this with therapists in mind. Transitioning is a big endeavor, but when I get a chance, I’m going to try it!
Let me know what software you're using and what you like about it?