Dealing With Difficult Therapy Notes Charting Issues in Therapy Practice
It’s been a nightmare for many – I’m sure I’m not the only one! Finding online software to handle billing, notes, and insurance had been something I simply wanted to avoid. Yet, I had to admit feeling that if I could just find the right package, a myriad of problems would be answered.
Chief among my issues was the years-long problem of keeping up with difficult charting issues in private practice. I lived in the shadow of fear that my notes would be subpoenaed for court or insurance issues and they would be so woefully disorganized that I would be unable to aid my client in their needs for support. Thankfully, this never happened.
Still, this is the dark side of an otherwise successful private practice. I have solved the problem of continuity of notes, treatment planning and phone contacts with patients through the interface of the TheraNest.com system.
TheraNest happened across my desk through the referral of a friend. Having worked for agencies that employed very complex systems that required months to get up and running, I was skeptical about taking on such a system in private practice. What swayed me was TheraNest’s offer to let me try the software for free, without even giving them a credit card. I reluctantly entered my personal info and entered some information for a few difficult clients to see if the system would work. I first watched the provided videos about getting the system up and running. From these, I received assurances about the encryption and security of the system, knowing my information would be protected. I was amazed that after the first 40 minutes of watching, I already had a fair grasp on the system. By the end of my first turn with the program, I was inputting client information, my own personal information and several insurance companies’ information with ease.
For the first time, I had encountered an interface that allowed me to smoothly enter data between treatment plans, notes, and between-session encounters in an easy-to-use manner, so I could move back and forth between these contacts without leafing through voluminous file notes. I realized I would be able to search old notes and treatment plans. The system also accepts DSM IV or V coding (though one has to be consistent per file) and provides a smooth interface for billing and insurance. TheraNest’s intuitive file system allows me to click where I normally would turn a page and find myself right where I belong. The treatment plan options interface fluidly with the case notes so I can see where I was the last session and easily pick up where I left off. The system is so versatile, allowing me to easily type in a few words to give a mental status, then just a sentence or two to describe the tone and process of the session. Through TheraNest.com, I have the option to upload my excel files of clients to the application, saving time in entering data. With written notes, a little transcribing will be required, but that’s a bigger issue to deal with in the future. With a brighter looking future and fears dissipating, the TheraNest system is looking like a great option, indeed.
About the Author
Linda J. Wilk, M.A. is a retired family therapist and pastoral counselor who now writes professionally. She has been involved with transitioning a private agency from paper to electronic systems and has been a practicing therapist for 19 years.