Best Mental Health Software 2021

How to Use, SimplePractice & TheraNest for Telehealth

Teletherapy is growing trend in the mental health industry. Read our overview of how therapists can use telehealth software like, SimplePractice & TheraNest to offer HIPAA-compliant video conferencing and grow their private practices.

Teletherapy is a growing trend in the mental health industry. Today, 32% of therapists offer some form of online counseling1. Consumers are also increasingly searching for teletherapy online, as you can see in the growing volume of searches for 'teletherapy' over the past five years.

Below, we'll cover the benefits of teletherapy, review teletherapy insurance coverage, and show how you can use, SimplePractice or TheraNest to bring HIPAA-compliant video conferencing to your practice.

Table of Contents

What is teletherapy?

Teletherapy is the delivery of therapy services over high-resolution, live streaming video. The services provided by the clinician and the client experience are generally identical to typical therapy, the only difference being that the therapist and client are not in the same physical room. Teletherapy can also be used to describe remote therapy delivered over other mediums such as text message, email, fax, and chat.

Is teletherapy HIPAA compliant?

Yes, there are many software platforms that allow clinicians to provide teletherapy in a HIPAA-compliant manner. Historically, Skype and other general video-conferencing solutions have been used for teletherapy, but they are not HIPAA-compliant. For example, Skype does not offer a Business Associates Agreement, does not use the proper form of encryption to protect data, and is not HITECH-compliant.

Fortunately, the software from, SimplePractice, TheraNest and was built specifically for mental health and are all HIPAA-compliant. Among other safety provisions, these teletherapy platforms do not permanently store protected health information, regularly conduct risk analyses, and have ongoing training for all required staff.

What are the benefits of teletherapy?

Teletherapy offers many advantages and benefits for both clinicians and clients.

What are the advantages of telehealth for clinicians?

  • Increased Market Size: Teletherapy allows clinicians to provide care to clients outside of their geographical area, which can lead to increased practice revenue.
  • Cost Savings: Teletherapy eliminates the overhead required to build out and maintain a physical therapy office.
  • Flexibility: Since teletherapy can be provided from anywhere, it allows clinicians to fit additional sessions into their busy schedules.
  • Saves Time: Teletherapy eliminates the need to commute, saving therapists time.
  • Privacy: Running into clients can be awkward at best. Teletherapy allows therapists to reduce these run-ins.

What are the advantages of telehealth for patients?

  • Increased Access to Specialists: Clients with unique needs are able to connect with therapists specializing in any type of service.
  • Increased Access for Rural Populations: Teletherapy gives individuals living in rural areas access to a much greater number of therapists.
  • Increased Access for Disabled Populations: Clients who have difficulty commuting, are bedridden or have chronic illnesses are able to access care from their own homes.
  • Flexibility: Teletherapy allows people who cannot take time off from work, or have very busy schedules to access the care they need.
  • Cost Savings: Clients save time and money by not commuting to a physical therapy office.
  • Privacy: Clients do not have to worry about running into other people they know in offices, and can work with therapists outside their physical communities.

Teletherapy insurance coverage

Let's look at telemedicine reimbursement for private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and State Employee Health Plans. The CPT codes for teletherapy are also listed below along with a sample of national reimbursement rates.

Private insurance telehealth coverage

There is no set standard across all private insurance payers for teletherapy. In many cases, a prior authorization is required before teletherapy will be reimbursed.

The good news is that currently 36 states and the District of Columbia have parity policies for private payer coverage to ensure private insurers cover telehealth services.

Medicare telehealth reimbursement

In general, Medicare Fee-For-Service Program will cover from originating sites to individuals who live in a rural geographical location, Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or a county outside a metropolitan statistical area.

Medicare includes several services as part of its telehealth reimbursement program:

  • Diagnostic examination
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Health and behavior assessment intervention
  • Neurobehavioral status examination

In order for clinical services or an (encounter) to be covered by Medicare services need to be provided by one of the following health care professionals:

  • Physician
  • Nurse practitioner (NP)
  • Physician assistants (PA)
  • Nurse-midwives
  • Clinical nurse specialists (CNS)
  • Certified registered nurse anesthetists
  • Clinical psychologists
  • Clinical social workers

Note: Part B of traditional fee-for-service places limitations on services. Limitations include requiring the Medicare beneficiary/patient to be in either a rural area or in an area that is underserved by health professionals

Medicaid telehealth reimbursement

Telemedicine in Medicaid is covered in 48 states. It's important to keep in mind that:

  • Medicaid coverage varies from state to state
  • Many states cover telehealth in some form
  • Always check with your state Medicaid agency before offering telehealth services

State employee health plan reimbursement for telehealth

The following states offer coverage as a part of state employee health plans:

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Washington

CPT codes for teletherapy

According to the American Psychological Association, these are the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT)® codes that should be used for teletherapy.

Telehealth ServiceCPT CODESNational Reimbursement Rates
Psychiatric diagnostic interview examination90791$140.00
Interactive complexity psychiatry services and procedures90785N/A
Individual psychotherapy90832, 90834, 90837$91.18
Psychotherapy for crisis90839, 90840$142.72
Family psychotherapy without the patient present90846N/A
Family psychotherapy with the patient present90847$114.61
Individual and group health and behavior assessment and intervention96150-96154$21.26
Neurobehavioral status examination96116$97.31

Teletherapy software overview

There are numerous companies that enable therapists to easily provide teletherapy. Below, we'll cover three of the best options for private practices. is a HIPAA compliant teletherapy platform, while SimplePractice and TheraNest offer teletherapy as a component of their broader mental health practice management software. If you already have a practice management system, we recommend starting with If you don't have a practice management system, or are in the market for a new one, we recommend testing both SimplePractice and TheraNest.

How to use for teletherapy is used by over 40,000 providers from 7,000 organizations. The teletherapy platform works in all Internet-connected browsers and devices as well as the company's mobile application.

End-to-end walkthrough of a video session with

Here's an end-to-end walkthrough of a video session with For each step, we'll share an actual image of the software's interface.

Step 1: Set up your account with Stripe to accept payments works with Stripe to allow you to accept payments. It takes about 5 minutes to enter your business and financial information to begin accepting payments. Stripe Integration

Step 2: Invite client to a session
With, you can invite a client to a session through an email, text message, calendar invite or website badge. It's best to specify the time and date you'd like to meet the client in the invite, so they know when to check into your online waiting room. inviting client

Step 3: Start the teletherapy session with your client
You will be notified when your client joins your online waiting room. You click one button to start the session. Here's what the session will look like from the client's perspective. Telehealth Sessions

What differentiates from alternate solutions?

Here are a few key ways in which differentiates from the other solutions:

  • Offers a plan with low-definition video teletherapy that is free for life.
  • Does not require clients to download any software, applications, or create an account.
  • Works with any practice management software.
  • Does not have its own scheduling calendar to help you manage appointments. We recommend integrating its invitations into your current client scheduling workflows. Pricing offers three plans that scale depending on your number of clinicians and the level of functionality you'd like to have in your teletherapy platform:

  • Free: $0
  • Professional: $35/month for individuals
  • Clinic: $50/month per provider up to 5 providers, bulk discounts thereafter
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How to use SimplePractice for teletherapy

SimplePractice is SoftwarePundit's best overall practice management system for mental health practices. SimplePractice's telehealth functionality is available for an additional cost of $10 per month per clinician. Thousands of health and wellness professionals use SimplePractice's telehealth platform to conduct secure video appointments with their clients each day.

End-to-end walkthrough of a video session with SimplePractice

Here's an end-to-end walkthrough of a video session with SimplePractice. For each step, we'll share an actual image of the software's interface.

Step 1: Select the telehealth option for your telehealth appointments
To create a telehealth appointment in SimplePractice, you must set the appointment's location to Telehealth: Video Office. Once you do this, SimplePractice will share the necessary links for you and the client to access the telehealth session. All of your teletherapy appointments will be managed on your SimplePractice master calendar, which helps streamline your scheduling, documentation, and billing.

SimplePractice telehealth session

Step 2: Client receives email and joins session
SimplePractice will send your client a notification and reminders about the teletherapy session. Each client is able to join the teletherapy session with one click.

SimplePractice join telehealth session

Step 3: Start the teletherapy session with your client
You can start your SimplePractice teletherapy sessions using a link found in each appointment invite. Navigate to the appropriate calendar invite and click Start video session to launch your teletherapy appointment.

SimplePractice start telehealth session

Here's an image of what the telehealth session will look like in SimplePractice.

SimplePractice telehealth session

What differentiates SimplePractice from alternate solutions?

Here are a few key ways in which SimplePractice differentiates from the other solutions:

  • SimplePractice created a mobile application that enables HIPAA compliant video sessions for clients and clinicians.
  • Your telehealth appointments automatically leverage the same scheduling, documentation, and billing functionality as the rest of your appointments.

SimplePractice Pricing

The price of SimplePractice's practice management solution starts at $49/month for a single clinician. Telehealth is an additional $10/month per clinician.

SimplePractice Full Review and Free Trial

If you are interested, you can read SoftwarePundit's full review of SimplePractice, or sign up for a free trial today.

How to use TheraNest for teletherapy

TheraNest is a best-in-class practice management system that is highly comparable to SimplePractice. The company's software is used by thousands of therapists across the country. As you'll read, TheraNest's teletherapy solution is tightly integrated into the other features in its system.

End-to-end walkthrough of a video session with TheraNest

Here's an end-to-end walkthrough of a video session with TheraNest. For each step, we'll share an actual image of the software's interface.

Step 1: Select the telehealth option for your telehealth appointments
Similar to SimplePractice, it is simple to check the Telehealth Session box to indicate that a scheduled appointment will be conducted over video.

TheraNest Telehealth

Step 2: Client joins your teletherapy session
When a new appointment is scheduled, the client will receive a calendar invite through TheraNest with a link to join the appointment.

Step 3: Launch your teletherapy session
As with SimplePractice, TheraNest allows you to launch your teletherapy appointment from your master calendar with one click. Once you launch your appointment, you and your client will see an interface that looks like the image below.

TheraNest Telehealth

What differentiates TheraNest from alternate solutions?

Here are a few key ways in which TheraNest differentiates from the other solutions:

  • Clients can join telehealth sessions without creating an account or downloading any software.
  • Your telehealth appointments automatically leverage the same scheduling, documentation, and billing functionality as the rest of your appointments.
  • Group telehealth lets you conduct online video sessions with up to 6 participants.

TheraNest Pricing

The price of TheraNest's practice management solution starts at $38/month for up to 30 active clients. Telehealth is an additional $10/month per clinician.

TheraNest Full Review and Free Trial

If you are interested, you can read SoftwarePundit's full review of TheraNest, or sign up for a free trial today.

1Based on a proprietary SoftwarePundit analysis of all profiles in the Psychology Today directory.

Bruce Hogan

Bruce Hogan is Co-founder & CEO of SoftwarePundit. He leads the team's research and publishes content about software products and trends. Bruce has experience investing at multi-billion dollar private equity firms, leading teams at venture-backed technology companies, and launching new businesses. You can connect with Bruce on LinkedIn.

Bruce is an expert in several software categories including:

  • Dental software
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