TeleHealth Remote Therapy EMR

Post-Pandemic Advice for Therapy Clinics: Is TeleHealth Here to Stay?

Since March 2020, the world of therapy has looked quite different than normal out of pure necessity. Many providers began offering TeleHealth sessions as an option, and you may have been one of them.

While it may have seemed like the swift move to offering therapy remotely was a short-term reaction to the Covid pandemic, we are seeing some indications that this may foreshadow TeleHealth as an enduring modality. Our business interactions with speech, occupational, physical, and behavioral therapists over the past few months support the idea that this transition to TeleHealth could be here to stay.

There are several emerging trends that may make remote delivery of treatments the new normal in the therapy industry:

  • The strain on the economy overall means that for those patients whose therapy is supplemental, changes in financial resources or job schedules could limit their ability to show up regularly to in-person appointments.
  • For pediatric patients, parents are finding out just how convenient it is to have their children treated at home. It cuts down on time, driving costs, and overall hassle. If it is the same cost as an office visit, there is a good chance many parents will choose the remote option.
  • This transition makes more sense for some providers, depending on the size and setup of each clinic. It may reduce overhead and staffing costs.

These components do not necessarily mean you should plan on offering TeleHealth on a large scale or indefinitely, or that it is going to be viable for your clinic to do so from a business standpoint.

What is going to ultimately determine whether some therapy modalities transition online for good? You can probably guess the biggest factor: Medicare, Medicaid, and even private payers would have to continue to reimburse at the current rates for virtual therapy sessions. Furthermore, if Medicare and Medicaid cut payments to a lesser amount, it is difficult to predict patients’ willingness or ability to transition to self pay or a larger co-pay amount. This will likely vary based on a number of things, not the least of which is the state of the economy and the average individual’s cash reserves.

We think it’s critical for clinic owners like you to plan for this reality on a more permanent basis, even if it does not in fact play out that way. Just as our EMR is set up for you to document and plan for all possibilities, TheraPlan supports thinking ahead and we’d rather have you be safe than sorry, especially if times are hard.

What should you therefore consider right now to prep for this potentiality? Here are a few insider tips:

  • Ensure that you are using a HIPAA-compliant platform for teletherapy sessions and get a signed BAA with whichever company whose software you’re using. Read more about this in our last blog.
  • Streamline all administrative processes as much as possible, especially those that require frequent communication with insurance companies. With all the delays that have arisen of late, this is even more essential. Now is a great time to begin working with a credentialing service like Clinic Connection and an experienced therapy billing agency like EEP. Make efficiency your top priority!
  • If you have not already, consider moving to a web-based EMR like TheraPlan, which makes patient charts and documentation easily accessible for all your therapists, from anywhere. Our application will soon have an integrated TeleHealth platform, which pairs the scheduler and text messaging system and eliminates the need for multiple systems to maintain. Stay tuned for this release!

With all the changes that could be upcoming, now is the perfect time to get your clinic’s records organized. We highly recommend electronic records if you’re looking to keep up with the industry and have the best chance of surviving massive changes like what we’ve seen happen already this year.

We’re here to help. Schedule a demo of TheraPlan at your convenience and let’s get your clinic ready to weather anything!

Therapy EMR Software Update Mobile Responsive

Version 2.1 of our therapy EMR is here!

We’re excited to announce that we’ve released a big software update today! TheraPlan Version 2.1 is full of big changes, many of which were the result of excellent feedback from our current users: therapists like you! We know you’ll find the updates to be useful. Here are some highlights of this version:
  • Text Reminders

Sending appointment reminders to patients reduces no shows and results in higher revenue. TheraPlan is excited to release this new, optional service to our clients who use our scheduler: a seamless integration with an SMS appointment reminder service. Opting in will allow TheraPlan to automatically send configurable text message reminders to your patients when they have appointments coming up the following day.

  • Message Center

Our message center is getting a complete makeover. After TheraPlan version 2.1 is released to our clinics, you’ll notice that notifications from the message center will appear anywhere within TheraPlan. These will notify the user if they receive a message, which they will also be able to answer conveniently from whereve they are working thanks to our new quick access message center icon!

  • To-Do List

Your dashboard will now feature a to-do list in the top right corner. This list will automatically update with: authorizations, evaluations, insurances, and plans of care that are expiring soon. You can click on any of these items to see the complete list of patients to whom they apply.

  • Place Appointments on Hold

This next update is aimed at those of you who use our calendar feature. Should you have a regular patient who needs to temporarily stop sessions for any reason, you’ll be able to simply put their series of appointments on hold, which will be denoted by a red flag above their appointment bubble. That way, you won’t forget that they may need to fill that spot again at some point in the future, but it won’t prevent you from scheduling other appointments in the meantime.

  • Creating Events

You can also use our calendar to create events now, which could be used to keep track of things like lunch breaks, vacation time, doctors’ appointments, and any other times your staff may be out of the office. These events are customizable with up to eight different colors, which look very different from your regular calendar appointments so you can differentiate easily between the two.

  • Calendar Filters

A third calendar update in 2.1 is the addition of filters. You’ll enjoy the convenience of filtering appointments by patient name, location, event, and status flags. This will make it possible to see a patient’s upcoming schedule at-a-glance, which is super helpful to your admin team when they’re on the phone with a patient, for example.

  • Evaluation Auto-Population

Rather than having just diagnosis codes populate from one evaluation to the next (or goals from an evaluation to a re-evaluation), the majority of data from your most recent evaluation for a patient will carry over when the following one is created. This does not include: CPT codes, assessments, plan of care start and end dates, and the frequency and duration text areas. Our goal with this change is to reduce the amount of time and clicks it takes our providers to complete an evaluation in our application, and we hope you like this change as well!

  • TCP Goal Changes

Based on feedback from our clinics, we have added a new checkbox to the Therapy Care Plan that will allow for providers to select whether they want their old goals to populate from the Therapy Care Plan to any future treatment notes within the plan of care date range.

  • Additions & Deductions in User Maintenance

We’re adding an Additions & Deductions accordion to the User Maintenance section. This is designed to assist clinic owners with accurately completing payroll for every clinic employee. A default addition or deduction amount can be added to your providers’ profiles, which will then appear on all future payrolls. This can be removed or edited if necessary. We believe this will speed up the payroll cycle even further.

  • PT Eval: ROM/Strength Changes

Our physical therapists will appreciate this next update. Inside the Subjective/Objective tab of the PT evaluation, the Range of Motion/Strength accordion will now be arranged by body part, from head to toe. Checking a particular area of the body will expand the range-of-motion chart, revealing its respective options.

We’re looking forward to sharing these developments with all of you. For a more thorough explanation of the updates, check out this video. If you have questions about any of the new features, please contact our support desk at (407) 674-7350.

How TheraPlan Was Built on Feedback from Therapists Like You

When our founder, Stephen Edwards, set out to design TheraPlan, he didn’t have all the answers. In fact, he had nothing but questions: All the questions that therapists, therapy clinic owners, and his own billing agency staff had come up with throughout the years while using other therapy EMRs.  

Why can’t an EMR make it faster to document my daily progress notes and evaluations? 

Can using an EMR allow me to cut down on how often I have to communicate with admins? 

How come I can’t track authorizations inside my EMR? 

Why am I spending so much time clearing up confusion about payroll? 

When will there be an EMR with truly helpful technical support? 

Do I have to be a coding expert to understand which CPT codes I need to use? 

Can an EMR be just as effective for community-based therapists? 

Starting with questions like these turned out to be the critical factor in building a valuable software application for the therapy community. Inherent in these questions, Steve heard a need for an intuitive system that wouldn’t just provide a place to house documents or keep track of patients’ demographic details. The solution was going to be a full-service resource for therapy practices. 

Yet, he didn’t have all the answers.  

Even with 25 years of healthcare administration and therapy billing experience, Steve knew that he needed to look beyond his own ideas to build what the therapy community truly needed. 

That’s why he consulted with therapists working in various disciplines: speech, occupational, physical, ABA, and EI, to build all the elements of our software. He didn’t just ask “What do you need?”, but also “What do you want an EMR to look like and feel like?”  

These therapists became our sounding board, a panel of experts who provided us with ongoing feedback as we developed our 

audit-guided documentation templates,  

goal transfer process for evaluations and plans of care,  

appointment management functions, 

and more. 

Long hours of research, discussion, and investigation resulted in many of the answers we sought. From these, we derived our application’s mobile responsiveness, dashboard and accordion technology, calendar interface, and more. Questions remain, though, which is the exciting part of developing an EMR. There is always more to learn! 

We continue to grow with each new software release, but more importantly, with each question or concern that comes through to our support desk. We never assume that we’re done learning about what therapists really want and need.  

We know that your job can look different every day. Our goal is to exercise the same flexibility that’s required of you, so that we stay agile and serve you best. 

Since day one, TheraPlan has evolved based on the experiences of real therapists. This process will continue. When you become a TheraPlan user, you join our panel of advisers. Every question you present to us will be added to our archive of round table topics for future development.  

Check out more about our story here.

Using TheraPlan’s New Functionality for Your Therapy Clinic Payroll

We know that one of the most overwhelming responsibilities you have as a therapy clinic owner is keeping track of pay for your therapists.  Our most recent software release includes a comprehensive payroll module designed to ease the burden on clinic owners, answer therapists’ questions, and provide a transparent process for all parties.  A payroll system that is integrated with an EMR, like that which we have designed in TheraPlan, offers a means of quickly and accurately paying your providers. By contrast, in a paper-based clinic, accurate payroll depends on frequent and detailed communication with providers. As your practice grows, this quickly becomes cumbersome for you and your administrative staff.   Our EMR shows you the total number of complete and incomplete documents for each provider, including evaluations, reevaluations, and daily progress notes. This means you don’t have to track down any missing documentation or ask your therapists to clarify their hours during a particular pay period. Accuracy is built in to TheraPlan.  Aside from the efficiency this provides for your payroll process, there are additional perks to using our payroll module. It allows you to:   
  1. Gain an understanding of when your providers perform their documentation. Are they burning the midnight oil or getting notes done promptly during the day? Identifying these patterns can assist you in reevaluating policies and training your staff more thoroughly.  
  2. Observe the time period between document creation and signing. It’s important to keep an eye on the average time between the point when your providers create documentation and the moment when they sign and close the documents. Not only should they be following the 48-hour rule per CMS guidelines, but a quick turnaround in documentation contributes to efficient clinic operations, a quicker revenue cycle, and simplified payroll. TheraPlan’s payroll module offers a convenient way to oversee this pattern for each provider. 
  3. Maintain transparency with your therapists. Communicating with your staff about the details of their pay can become a never-ending endeavor when you don’t have an electronic version of payroll. With TheraPlan, any provider can access their personal payroll details at any time. This erases the need for constant oversight and unnecessary emails or phone calls. Your therapists will be thrilled to know exactly how much they are getting paid and when, and to have access to their payroll history. 
If calculating and distributing pay is a frustration in your therapy clinic, moving your documentation and payroll to TheraPlan could be the solution. Schedule a demo to find out exactly how our payroll module would work for your practice.   
TheraPlan EMR Plan of Care Tracking

Feature Highlight: Plan of Care Tracking

For this first installment of our TheraPlan Feature Highlight series, we are diving into plans of care and care tracking! As a therapist, you no doubt understand what a plan of care is, but do you know why it’s so important?   The reasons are twofold: you need a current plan of care to keep a patient on your schedule, and to ensure that you will get paid for the dates of service on which you treat them. Staying on top of plans of care is essential for avoiding any gaps in regular appointments. If you’re not authorized to see a patient due to an expired plan of care, you will lose revenue and, more importantly, your patient will temporarily lose the opportunity to receive regular treatments. In developing TheraPlan, we built in plan of care tracking because we wanted to ease the communication between therapists and a clinic admin team. That can easily be done if an EMR keeps track of when plans of care will expire, removing the need for manual plan of care tracking. When you create an evaluation, you’ll enter your plan of care dates and a summary of treatment plan.   Entering these dates lessens your workload as the therapist by ensuring that the goals you enter for this patient will carry forward to any treatment you complete within this date range. It’s also helpful to your admin team or billers because they don’t need to do any research to figure out when a new plan of care is required. It’s a win-win!   Discover more about TheraPlan’s built-in efficienciehere, and follow us on Facebook to get regular updates on this blog series and others!