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Practice Management

Practice Management

Author: Rob Eubanks

Understand the basics of practice management

Describe the key services provided by EHRs

Differentiate between EHRs and other approaches to practice management

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Welcome to a new unit and a new lesson. After a unit introduction, we'll explore the basics of practice management and the key services provided by EHRs, or Electronic Health Records. We'll also differentiate between EHRs and other approaches to practice management.

So here are the specifics of what we'll be covering-- an introduction to unit 3, EHR services, selecting an EHR, not EHR systems, the perils of practice management, both EHR and non-EHR systems.

Welcome to a new unit. This unit will introduce the concept of practice management. Practice management can be defined as private practice office administration, including processes such as scheduling clients, billing and accounting, and tracking the client. Unit 3 will cover various components of managing a private practice, including the following-- practice management software, budgeting, fees, claims in billing, office policies and procedures, medical record creation and maintenance, marketing and networking. It's going to be a great journey through more key areas that will help you build and run a successful private practice.

Most practice management occurs via an electronic health record, or EHR, which is industry standard. Some other less popular options include paper-based systems or single computer-based systems. Many EHRs are multi-functional and provide access to a very, very long list of services and benefits. The list is so long, in fact, that I'm going to give you a few minutes to glance at it.


Practice management systems typically have free training for those who purchase the system. Hundreds of EHRs exist, and you will need to evaluate which is best for you and your practice. An electronic health record fee is one of the more important administrative fees a counselor pays. Some EHRs are free, but others cost between $20 to several hundred dollars per month for an individual user.

Now, these prices are based on the services provided and features available. And note that free EHRs typically include ads. Most often, the office administrator has free access to the EHR, but there is a cost associated with the counselor's use of an EHR. Typically, the office administrator will have their own login credential in order to complete tasks such as check-in and billing and other things like that.

Having a single, unified EHR system makes the process of practice administration easier and less time-consuming. Handling scheduling, office visits, and billing are all complex and time-consuming, especially if they are hosted on different systems. So having a separate or non-integrated system, or a non-EHR, has the potential for increased errors. And because of this, counselors will want to have as many features as possible to be integrated into a single management system to help with the integration and flow overall. Several practice management systems are available, and you can google practice management system for mental and behavioral health.

OK. Onward to non-EHR management systems. EHR was the last time. Non-EHR is this time. Got it? OK. Now, non-EHR systems, they can include the following-- paper-based record keeping, Excel files, a separate clearinghouse for billing, word processing for case notes, paper copies of client insurance information. Non-EHR-based systems may need added protection to stay secure with HIPAA.

Not having an integrated system for practice management can consume tremendous amounts of time. Some reasons for this include having to access multiple systems that are not synced, looking through various systems to find client information, increased error due to transcribing numbers into more than one system, or having to duplicate information more than once. So it is worth the time invested in finding an effective system, even if it costs more money, because it will save you time and money in the future.

Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. So paperwork and administration, whether electronic or not, requires a high degree of preparation and precision and detail. It's not uncommon for a counselor to spend between five and 25 minutes in office administration per client per week. Time spent on administration can range from scheduling a recurring appointment, which is around five minutes, to completing a case note, which is 10 to 15 minutes, to the all joy of all joys, waiting on the phone for an insurance representative, which can be 15 minutes to a whole freaking hour, after which you'll need to build in time for an adult beverage just to decompress from all of this. Where was I?

Using systems that are not integrated takes even longer. As clientele increases, you may want to hire an office administrator in order to keep up with practice management. When an administrator is able to handle the scheduling, billing, and accounting, it frees the counselor-- you-- up to spend time with the client as opposed to administration of the case file.

Now, keep in mind that the counselor has the potential to make between $65 and $150 per client hour, and office administration typically costs between $10 and $20 per hour and can be accomplished in 5 to 20 hours per week depending on the number of clients.

So here's what we covered in this lesson-- first, introduction to unit 3, EHR services, selecting an EHR, non-EHR systems, the perils of practice management, EHR and non-EHR systems.

Notes on "Practice Management"

(00:00-00:44) Introduction

(00:45-01:35) Introduction to Unit 3

(01:36-02:41) EHR Services

(02:42-04:19) Selecting an EHR 

(04:20-05:36) Non-EHR Systems

(05:37-07:21) Perils of Practice Management

(07:22-07:44) Summary