Updated: Mar 25
"What EMR should I use?"
This is one of the most common questions I hear when I'm first helping a therapist get set up in their practice. There are so many options out there & it's hard to know what options are going to be best long term.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing your EMR:
What's your budget?
Are you looking for strictly documentation or a practice management software?
Do you need an HEP builder included in the software?
Do you need telehealth capabilities built in?
Do you need payment processor integration? If so, which one?
Are you looking for something simple or something that will grow with you (and possibly a team)?
My Personal Tech Stack
Practice management, scheduling, documentation: IntakeQ
Telehealth: Google Meet
Sharing files with clients: Google Drive
With all of these things consider, let's dive in.
My Recommendations For Best Cash Based Physical Therapy Practice EMRs
My first recommendation typically for those who are just getting started is Google Workspace. You can use Google Workspace as a beginner-friendly EMR & at the time of this writing, it's only $6 per month. You can use Google Workspace to do documentation, scheduling, telehealth calls, keep patient records, correspond with clients, and it has a very basic website builder. For those wanting to bootstrap your operation, this could be perfect. There are entire practices with multiple team members that run their business using solely Google Workspace.
A couple of great resources on how to set this up can be found here and there's a Facebook group dedicated to using this software for your practice here.
Of course, it has it's drawbacks. I LOVE Google, I've been a die-hard Android fan for years and I utilize Google Workspace in my business, however, I've always felt that the workflow was too clunky for me. There's a lot of clicking forward and backward and opening new tabs and linking things together manually, and even though this is the lowest cost option for EMRs, I had a hard time justifying how difficult it was for me to navigate consistently and remember where I had everything located. It seemed like it would take too much time.
That's what led me to option two!
I have been using IntakeQ since day one, and it's the practice management software that I recommend to all new practice owners. I am pro-collecting intake and consent forms virtually. We live in a time with enough technology that as a patient, I believe this should be part of my experience whenever I go to healthcare appointments, and it isn't always. Just the other day, I spent 20 minutes filling out paper intake forms at a doctor's appointment. I could have done them at home before I came to the appointment, and saved everyone a lot of time.
I also really like being able to offer my patients forms prior to their first appointment because it gives me time to review them prior to my patient arriving. This is not something I always had access to in the outpatient clinic setting, and I feel I can offer a better service and experience if I'm prepared for the patient coming in. We can spend more time actually doing objective testing and treatment rather than going through the basic information they filled out on their form. I like to use it more as an opportunity to review anything that I flagged on review, and then move on.
IntakeQ makes the process of sending out forms super easy. I made my own intake and consent forms, based on information I got from Danny Matta's program and the ICE Physio Clinical Management of the Fitness Athlete Essentials course.
I like that they have options to just use it for forms and documentation, or you can use it for full practice management like I do, which also includes scheduling, appointment reminders, patient portals and profiles, superbills, invoicing, etc.
The best part for me is that I can keep everything all in one place and it's not super high cost. I work with people in multiple different ways, between physical therapy, strength/health coaching, business coaching, and marketing, so it allows me to manage all of my clients in one spot and keep HIPAA compliant documentation for my physical therapy patients.
It does not include home exercise programming, but for that, I use TrueCoach and my clients really like it.
The only thing that's missing for me is being able to connect Google Meet appointments instead of Zoom, but other than that, 10/10 highly recommend if it's in your budget and/or you'd like to keep everything in one spot.
IntakeQ also has a Facebook group you can find here.
The next two softwares are ones that I don't personally use, but I know other practices use them.
Other than IntakeQ, the other software that I hear of most people using is PTEverywhere. From my understanding, it's also an all-in-one practice management tool and includes HEPs (IntakeQ does not). It definitely has all the things you would need to run your cash-practice, and it does come in at the top of this list of recommendations. Everyone I know who uses it though really likes it!
This was the other contender I looked at in the beginning, comparing it to IntakeQ. From my experience testing it out, they are pretty similar. I've heard of more mental health professionals using this software and my friend Reina Olivera uses it for her occupational therapy practice. Just like IntakeQ, it has a couple of levels of monthly subscriptions depending on the features you need.
My biggest recommendation when it comes to EMR software for your cash practice is it has to be simple and easy to use. You need to be able to schedule, process payments, and pull up a note quickly, within 10-20 seconds ideally. There should be minimal to no lag in the process, because if there is, it will cause you stress & you'll get flustered, which may impact your ability to market and make sales. So whatever software you're using for any purpose, make it easy and I would say this needs to be the priority vs. only looking based on price.
What do you think? What software are you using? Leave a comment below!
Are you a PT, OT, SLP, or other healthcare professional looking into starting your own cash-based practice? Or are you a current practice owner struggling to get patients in the door, and you're not sure what to do next?
I got you.
I currently offer business coaching and digital marketing services for new business/practice owners, to help you start, launch, and grow the private practice you've always wanted 😊