7 Reasons Why ABA Therapists Need Practice Management Software
In this digital age, it seems as though there’s software for everything – including multiple software solutions that can aid your ABA therapy practice. You’ve probably seen numerous advertisements or sales pitches for software that you simply weren’t interested in. It makes you think. Do you really need practice management software?
Yes! ABA therapists need practice management software to help manage every aspect of their practices – and with the right software, you can make a huge difference in how smoothly your day flows and how much of your focus you can spend on your clients, rather than getting stuck dealing with software concerns.
Let’s go through just some of the reasons your ABA practice needs practice management software.
Reason #1: Practice Management Software Can Eliminate Scheduling Errors
Imagine this. You come in for your day’s work, only to realize that there’s a gaping hole in your schedule. No worries: you can use that time to catch up on paperwork, or to catch up on the latest articles in your preferred journals. You have a relatively peaceful morning; and if it seems odd that there are no patients scheduled, you aren’t too worried.
Then eleven o’clock rolls around, and suddenly, you have two clients booked into the same slot, with the same therapist. Now what?
Perhaps you’ve experienced this problem – or a similar one – before. Maybe you struggle to keep clients with the therapists they work the best with. Because of the nature of ABA clients, scheduling glitches can make therapy sessions more difficult–or even prevent a client from having an effective session due to the disruption.
Scheduling problems can cause serious issues for your practice. Not only do they lead to a desperate scramble to see every patient who needs to be seen, they can destroy the sense of trust your patients have in your practice and the services you can provide. When you have great practice management software, you can help avoid many of those scheduling error scenarios, match your clients with their preferred therapists, and easily keep track of appointments. Practice management software also makes it easier to block out therapists’ vacations and ensure that you don’t mistakenly end up with clients who don’t know about those vacations.
Reason #2: Your Practice Management Software Can Help Notify Patients About Changes in Routine
The next scenario isn’t hard to imagine.
You have a therapist out on a much-needed and much-anticipated vacation. You also have some questions you need to answer while they’re away.
Will another therapist be handling their appointments? Will you cancel their appointments altogether? Your practice management software won’t just allow you to block out vacations. It can also warn you about how those vacations may affect current and future schedules. Autistic clients may struggle with change, especially change that they can’t plan for ahead of time. Thanks to your practice management software, you can make sure that every patient gets those much-needed notifications in hand.
Reason #3: Practice Management Software Makes It Easier to Track Hours and Handle Payroll
Do you ever reach the end of the week and struggle to track the hours each member of the team has spent at work? Do you find yourself looking closely at specific members of the team who are prone to leaving early and arriving late? Practice management software makes keeping up with those hours worked easier than ever. It also keeps that information available in one easy place, which can improve your ability to keep track of what your staff members’ hours look like and how they’re interacting with patients.
Reason #4: Practice Management Software Helps Keep Up with Billing
Have you ever had client payments fall through the cracks – or a client who fell substantially behind on payments? Small ABA practices, in particular, can be devastated by clients who fail to take care of their financial responsibilities. As long as payments come in, you can easily keep your practice up and running: the bills paid, the lights turned on, and every staff member receiving a paycheck on time.
When your clients aren’t taking care of their payments, however, you can quickly fall behind on the financial obligations of your business. Your practice management software can make it easier to keep up with billing, including:
- Automatically billing clients when needed. You can set up your software so that clients who do not pay at the time of their appointment will receive their bills at pre-specified times: on a monthly basis, for example.
- Reminders for patients who haven’t paid. When clients get too far behind on their bills, you may not want to continue seeing them until they can get caught up. Your practice management software can issue critical reminders and let you know that you haven’t received a payment from a specific client in a while. You can then either invite them to make a payment at their next appointment or cancel those appointments until the client is able to get caught up.
Reason #5: Your Practice Management Software Can Provide the HR Support You Need
Remember that necessary time-off for your employee?
Imagine the bind you’d be in if you were only told verbally about that request and then forgot about it when the time came? Given the needs of your clients and your practice overall it probably wouldn’t be pretty. HR might have been the last thing on your mind when you were developing your practice, but its necessary to keep employees happy and your practice running smoothly.
Practice management software can give you HR tools you’ll need to your practice on track. You can keep track of vacation time and requests and see how that time off affects client schedules. Your practice management software may even go a bit further by providing payroll reports and notices of expiring employee credentials.
Reason #6: Your Practice Management Software Can Provide the Tools You Need to Care for Clients Properly
Your practice management software doesn’t just help with the “business” side of your practice. It can also provide the tools you need to improve client care and create a better therapy experience. This may include:
- Tracking authorizations. Client care for ABA providers includes being able to easily track authorizations. If you have a “paper” system in place this can be difficult. With the right practice management software you can benefit from an authorizations-based system that allows you to create authorizations, assign treatment types, know when authorizations are about to expire, and record maximum allowed hours.
- Document management. You know that there can be a lot of paperwork for each ABA client. You need a place that will maintain those documents and be HIPAA-compliant. Your practice management software can be that place. Keep everything from SOAP notes to intake forms in a secure location where you can easily find them for review or audits.
Reason #7: Your Practice Management Software Can Make Reporting Easier
As an ABA therapist, you create reports about each of your clients after every session. You need to keep up with their progress: to stay aware of what they’re currently doing and what they need to do in their next session in order to continue progressing. Not only that, you need to track what you’ve done during each session, how the client responded, and what techniques are working best for each client. Your practice management software can make it easier to keep up with all those important reports.
- Keep all your reports in one location. It can be easy to lose track of a report for a specific client, especially if you’re juggling multiple client or have been seeing a client for a long time. With effective practice management software, however, you’ll keep all those reports in one place, where you can easily pull them up as needed.
- Always know that you’re looking at the latest version of a client’s reports.If you accidentally pull up an outdated report, it could change the way you interact with a client or the suggestions you offer parents or guardians after the session. Effective practice management software, on the other hand, can ensure that you always have the latest version of a report at your fingertips.
- Provide reminders if you haven’t filed a report. Don’t lose track of clients or their reports thanks to your practice management software. Instead, make sure you put in all that information when it’s needed most.
As an ABA therapist, you have to take care of many tasks every day. It’s not just about seeing clients. You must also keep your office running smoothly, manage payroll, and make sure all the bills get paid on time – not to mention taking care of reporting, billing clients, and working with insurance companies. Your practice management software can’t take those tasks off your plate completely, but it can streamline many of them, freeing up your time to focus on your clients instead of worrying about those day-to-day details.
Want to Learn More About Using Practice Management Software to Improve the Way You Do Business?
This post is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be used in lieu of practitioners own due diligence, state and federal regulations, and funders’ policies. During the Coronavirus pandemic, and when implementing telehealth, be sure to use your resources and complete the proper follow-up with funders and insurance.