When someone visits your therapy website, they have a lot of questions.
First and foremost, your website should make it very simple for them to find the answers to those questions. Then, once they have the answers (and probably even more questions), you’ll want to make it super easy for them to reach out and schedule a free phone consultation/intake.
An online therapy scheduling option is one of the best tools that you can add to your website if you want to convert visitors into clients.
If you make it easy for potential clients to make that first appointment, then you’re going to see more clients coming through the door. More than just a marketing tool, this is a service that you provide to your clients to simplify their experience of trying to schedule therapy appointments.
Why You Need an Online Therapy Scheduling Option on your Website
People have short attention spans, especially when they are in need of help. They want to quickly search for a solution online and find it without a lot of hassle. Therefore, you have to make sure that your therapy website provides potential clients with quick answers to their most pressing questions.
Scheduling an appointment should be the easiest thing to do on your therapist website.
Instead of making them search around the site for answers or have to place a call to your office to find out, you can provide them with an online therapy scheduling option that allows them to see the answer for themselves. You can also use that page to provide FAQs about your schedule, availability, and how soon they can get in to see you.
If a client is on the fence about whether or not they want to come into therapy, an online scheduling option can sometimes tip them towards trying it out.
The human brain is more likely to pause and convince itself not to do something if it has to work too hard to make an action happen. Online scheduling reduces that difficulty and makes setting up an appointment easy.
In other words, if a potential client has to wait for your office hours, then call your desk and speak to you to make an appointment, then they might hesitate. In contrast, if they can click the web scheduling button at any time of night or day then select an appointment time that works for them, it doesn’t seem so hard.
The easier that you make things on your clients, the better attitude they’re going to have coming into therapy. By letting them schedule therapy online, you’re making counseling easier for them from the get-go. This sends the positive message that you’re there to help them, not to make their lives harder. Your clients won’t forget the power of this initial message.
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Do You Need a HIPAA Compliant Online Scheduling App?
Let me start by stating that I am neither a lawyer nor a therapist who has to answer to regulation boards.
That said, I have been working with therapists long enough to know that the HIPAA relationship traditionally begins when the person becomes a client. Not when they first reach out for help. This means that you probably don’t need a HIPAA compliant online scheduling app for your therapy practice. That said, I also know that according to the letter of the law, even the most basic of contact information (name, email, phone) can be considered PHI. The real question is … what are YOU comfortable with when it comes to your counseling scheduling software? (again, I’m not a lawyer)
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The Best Online Scheduling Tools for Therapists
Depending on your specific needs, budget, and where you stand on the HIPAA question, there are myriad options available to you online. So how do you choose? In the end, it should come down to the features you want most. In addition to HIPAA compliance, you want to ask yourself if you’re looking for a complete EHR (Electronic Health Records) or EMR (Electronic Medical Records) system or just online scheduling tools. For your EMR needs you may try visiting a place like www.patientnow.com/emr/ for some additional info.
While the choice is ultimately up to you, most therapists I work with at Goodman Creatives choose one of the following online scheduling apps.
This one is my personal favorite. They have a free account that syncs perfectly with your Google Calendar. It also provides native integration with your website via widgets. This means that someone can book a free call without leaving your website.
Here’s what it looks like in action. — Feel free to schedule a call with me to learn how we can use online scheduling to get you more therapy clients … or, just scroll past it to see the rest of my recommendations.
Acuity Scheduling offers the best of both worlds. It has a free version, which is easy to set up and integrate with your website. Then, for $50/month, they also offer HIPAA compliance. This way, you can get started for free and then later choose to upgrade your account.
This complete therapy practice management solution (EHR) also offers online scheduling. You can use this tool to simplify your own business thanks to credit card processing, billing, therapy note tools, electronic claim filing, and secure document storage. Your clients can use it to schedule online therapy consultations, web therapy appointments, and office appointments. Thanks to calendar syncing, those appointments will show up across all of your devices.
A solid option for therapists who aren’t interested in bells and whistles. Yellow Schedule offers a simple HIPAA-compliant online therapy appointment scheduler. It’s easy for you and your clients to customize and personalize this tool to set up recurring appointments, change appointment times, and confirm appointments. If you’re part of a multi-therapist practice, this booking tool easily accommodates every therapist. The one caveat is that the calendar isn’t particularly beautiful. Functional, but bland.
Other Options for Therapist Scheduling Apps
Sprintful is an easy-to-use scheduling software that’s also easy on the pocket at a $19 per month Professional Plan. It’s scalable, so you can choose a package that best fits your practice’s needs. Empower your clients to self-schedule their appointments, removing the hassle of going through a receptionist.
They can also pay you online via Stripe. The automatic sync feature updates your calendar, letting you know of the upcoming meetings. Whether it’s an online therapy session or an in-person consultation, you can manage it all through this app.
Carepatron is a community-driven telehealth platform for health practitioners and their clients. They believe that Health teams play a critical role in our communities but often don’t have access to the telehealth tools they need to deliver more collaborative and better health outcomes.
Instead, they often rely on low-quality video tools, manual processes, and legacy software to get by. Carepatron believes that the best way to better health is by bringing practitioners and clients together in one collaborative Telehealth platform.
Clients and practitioners can try Carepatron for free at: https://www.carepatron.com/
TheraNest & Therapy Notes
TheraNest and Therapy Notes are two additional options for online scheduling tools designed with therapists in mind. While we have not used them personally, people do seem to like them. Also, if you have a WordPress website, you might want to check out Amelia.
How Free Consultations From Therapist Scheduling Software Can Lead to Loyal Clients
One of the most valuable services that therapists can offer to new clients is a free consultation. You may offer phone therapy consultations and/or in-person consultations. Like with scheduling any other appointment, the process of setting up free consultations is easiest if you’ve implemented online scheduling.
Imagine that your ideal client has stumbled upon your website. However, they aren’t quite sure whether or not you’re the right fit for them. They want to ask you a few questions, which they could easily do in the free fifteen-minute consultation call that you offer. Instead of playing phone tag or leaving a message on your machine, they can simply set up a free consultation call during the hours you have available.
By making the move to sign up for that call, then showing up for the call, they’re already investing energy in you.
Even though they haven’t spent money, they now have more motivation to try therapy with you. During the free call, you’ll be able to answer any questions that they may have. Then you can encourage them to make an appointment. You may offer to make the appointment on the phone or let them use your online scheduler to set up a date and time that works best for them.
These initial moments of contact are the beginning of establishing rapport with your client. Offering a free consultation to make sure you’re a good fit and making it easy to set up appointments through online tools, you’ve laid the foundation for a positive helping relationship.
Is Therapist Scheduling Software an EHR?
Quick answer is no. While some EHRs include psychologist scheduling software, the two are not synonymous. According to cms.gov:
An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is an electronic version of a patients medical history, that is maintained by the provider over time, and may include all of the key administrative clinical data relevant to that persons care under a particular provider, including demographics, progress notes, problems, medications, vital signs, past medical history, immunizations, laboratory data and radiology reports The EHR automates access to information and has the potential to streamline the clinician’s workflow. The EHR also has the ability to support other care-related activities directly or indirectly through various interfaces, including evidence-based decision support, quality management, and outcomes reporting.
As you see, nowhere in there does it talk about scheduling software for therapists. Plus, there’s a big difference between apps for therapists to use with clients and a therapy scheduler for free consults.
Need Help Choosing the Best Online Scheduling App For YOUR Therapist Website?
Over the past decade, my therapist marketing agency and I have set up almost every online scheduling app out there. I would love to help you choose and set up the best one for your therapy practice. Want to learn more? Use the form below … or, click here to use my app and schedule a time for us to chat.