Recommended Technology, Tools, and Resources for Therapists and Counselors
I often get asked what pieces of technology I've used to acheive a paperless office. I decided to put them all in one place so others might benefit. As I started constructing this list, I thought I might as well link to some other tools and resources I've found useful as well. In the interest of full disclosure, some of these are affiliate links. Please note that I only recommend items I have personally used and am very happy with, so if you purchase them, I appreciate you using my links since I hopefully saved you some time!
You won't find a recommended EHR/Practice Management System here. Instead, you can find my reviews of those systems here. If you'd like to save hours of research and have a "best fit" recommended to you based on your practice's unique needs and priorities, you've come to the right place. Check out our EHR Feature Match Service.
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These are the workhorses. The devices that let us work efficiently and even go paperless.
You'll note that I list a scanner and printer separately here. I don't like “all-in-one” printer/scanner/fax combos for several reasons. First they tend to be a bit “clunky” and inefficient. More importantly, if one function fails, you're stuck either buying an independent device to replace that function, or getting an entirely new “all-in-one”. Finally, (and Consumer Reports came to the same findings) I've found all-in-ones to be less reliable.
These Canon scanners are slim, portable, and reliable. It is wonderful to have, especially when I was working out of multiple offices. To be clear, the one I have is not the same exact model linked here. But that's because mine has lasted over seven years! The one listed here is the newer model and I'd buy it in a heartbeat if I needed one.
Did you know there are different security levels of shredders? Did you know that “strip shredders” are the “least secure” (i.e. it's easiest to piece back together strips of paper). I've been quite pleased with every AmazonBasics item I've ever purchased, and this multi-chop shredder is no exception. This affordable unit comes with it's own receptacle, will even shred credit cards, and will allow you to ensure privacy for your clients.
For years I was an HP guy when it came to printers. Then something happened. The quality of their printers seemed to decline. I had nothing but headaches with the last two I owned. So, I tried this Canon and it's still going strong. Despite being mostly paperless with my clinical work, I print a lot (for marketing and other purposes) and this printer has stood up to heavy use. The only con I can come up with is that it goes through ink fairly quickly, more quickly than the HPs I owned. But I don't mind that since it's given me zero trouble. Again, the model I have is the MG6220 and the one pictured is the newer model. I strongly recommend finding a non-OEM ink that works well to save you money. I've been very happy with LD inks, but it doesn't look like they make cartridges for the newer model yet. (P.S. Yes, I know I wasn't a fan of "all in ones", but it's almost impossible to find a printer that doesn't also scan these days. I've never scanned with mine).
Recommended Professional Books
These are books I've found helpful in running the business/professional side of a private practice.
We are required to have a contigency plan in place to protect our clients in case we retire, are disabled, or become incapacitated. This eBook, I co-authored with Nancy Wheeler, guides you through the process and provides you with several templates you can use to complete your plan. Use code YE25X to receive 15% off at Smashwords! You don't need an eReader. Our book can be read on tablets, phones, laptops, and desktops as well! You get to choose your preferred format and download our templates from the web site.
Love it or hate it, the DSM-V is required reading for those in our profession. This latest version includes help in converting to ICD-10 codes.
For those times it doesn't make sense to lug the full DSM-5 around this desk reference comes in quite handy. At approximately 4 inches by 6 inches, this may qualify as a "pocket edition" depending on how big your pockets are.
Looking for an easy to follow model and structure for your progress notes? Dr. Rhonda Sutton has created STEPNotes to allow therapists to easily conceptualize sessions for effective progress notes.
Deciding whether or not to panel with insurance companies? Wondering about the ins and outs if you do? Barbara Griswold has written a go to resource for learning about accepting insurance and making the decision for you and your practice.
Virtual Receptionist / Phone System - All Call Technologies
Many of us operate from our cell phones these days, but could use more robust features. All Call Technologies, Virtual Receptionist system, allows you to affordably have all the perks of a professional phone system while still using your own office or cell phone. Further, they are familiar with mental health practices, security and HIPAA and will sign a Business Associate Agreement with you. The icing on the top is that they are a small business with very personal customer service, something often lacking with the larger companies in the market.
No more paper. No more toner. No more paying for a landline just to support a fax machine. All at an affordable price with a company that is HIPAA compliant and will sign a Business Associate Agreement with you. Easy choice.
Square is our go to processor for credit card transations. No monthly minimums or extra charges. Just a flat rate that works great for those with credit card charges under $10,000/month. If you're a therapist, be sure to ask to be classifed as a "medical provider" so that you can accept FSA and HSA cards.
Use our link to sign up for Square and receive free processing on your first $1000 charges within the first 180 days!
Looking for Web Site/Hosting Recommendations?
Though most know me for my expertise in technology and business, I still do clinical work. In that work, I've found the following useful.
I often incorporate games in my work. This one, as a cooperative game, is a great one for both individuals, families and small groups. It presents an opportunity to assess and teach communication, teamwork, and social skills, all while helping each other grab the four treasures and escape the island before it sinks into the ocean!
This classic therapy game for children helps them open up and approach challenging subjects through playing the game.
Recommended Blogs & Podcasts
You never can have too much information and help when working in the field of mental health, especially if you own a private practice. Following are blogs and podcasts I find to make up a quality, well rounded fountain of knowledge.
Joe Sanok has done something like a bazillion podcasts. Okay, not really that many, but he is a veritable podcasting machine, covering not just the business side of private practice, but also the human side. Need a place to start? Listen to my visit with Joe at the ACA Conference in 2015.
Tamara Suttle has been helping therapists with practice building and related topics for a long time. Her blog is a wealth of information.
Roy Huggins and I have worked together on many projects, including the TherapyTech show. He's a go to guy for HIPAA/Security questions and training.
Melvin Varghese is a relative newcomer to the scene and he's hit the ground running.
Following are some additional resources that I've found helpful
Practice Building Search Engine - Kat Love
Kat Love has put together this excellent tool that allows you to search the sites of multiple private practice consultants/coaches all at once! Find articles on everything having to do with private practice, including articles from our blog here at Tame Your Practice.
Dr. Maelisa Hall knows her stuff when it comes to proper clinical documentation. Plus, she offers a free, online, crash course.
Looking for a template for a social media policy? Dr. Keely Kolmes is the go to expert on this and provides a great template.
TherapistAid is a cornucopia of worksheets and other resources for working with clients.