Best Mental Health Software 2021

Interview with TheraNest Customer Farah VanGenderen

We recently spoke with Farah VanGenderen from ReConnections Theraputic Services to hear about her experience using TheraNest practice management software. Read below to learn why she chose TheraNest and the feature that saves her the most time.

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It’s nice to meet you, Farah. Can you briefly introduce yourself and your mental health practice?

I have over 25 years of experience in working with families and individuals in various capacities within the Maryland community and it is my desire to continue to help in the healing process and growth of those on the Eastern Shore. I offer individual treatment (in person and online), groups for personal and professional growth and learning, and individual consultations for regular professional supervision or case consultation.

ReConnections Therapeutic Services was recently a larger practice, but my partners retired, so I took it over full-time as a solo practice. My practice has a mix of cash-pay and insurance-based clients. We specialize in:

  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Lives in Adjustment Phases: Teen to adulting, empty nesters, new retirees, newly single, divorced or divorcing, new parents
  • Attention Deficit Disorders
  • Grief
  • Vicarious Trauma and Burnout
  • Trauma – over 13 years as a trauma specialist and expert witness

What were the main features you were looking for when evaluating potential practice management software systems?

The two biggest factors for me were ease of use, and software that can handle as many tasks as possible within one system.

Before TheraNest, we were using one system for billing, one for notes, and a few others. It was painful to navigate all the different software systems.

What was your process for selecting your mental health practice management system?

I started with Facebook groups and review sites like SoftwarePundit to identify the best options. Then, I tested 6 different software vendors myself using their free 30-day trials. The process was overwhelming. Some tools have so many features that they aren't functional.

Have you used any other comparable practice management systems?

Yes, before moving onto TheraNest I used SimplePractice for a short period of time. I also demoed a handful of tools as a part of my evaluation process.

Why did you ultimately choose TheraNest over SimplePractice?

In reality, SimplePractice and TheraNest are pretty comparable. As I evaluated the systems, I liked the notes in TheraNest a bit better. The TheraNest templates were a better fit for me, and I really liked the pull-down fields with automatic text entry. TheraNest was also a bit more affordable for me, since it's priced based on your number of clients. However, as my number of clients increases, that might mean I switch back to SimplePractice.

SimplePractice also made it hard to talk to someone on the phone. It was easy to communicate with them through email, but I liked being able to talk to customer support directly.

Are you happy with TheraNest as your choice?

Yes, TheraNest has been a good fit for my practice. I've grown to appreciate its flexible invoicing features. TheraNest integrates nicely with Quickbooks and Excel for accounting.

I also really like having TheraNest on my phone. I try not to do too much work on vacation, but it's really nice being able to approve appointments from anywhere, see messages from anywhere.

Where has TheraNest saved you the most time?

I'd estimate I spend 80% of my time in sessions with clients, which I feel good about. I don’t have staff so the online scheduling functionality is a huge time-saver. Before TheraNest, I was spending 2-3 hours each day answering calls, returning calls, and figuring out my calendar. Now that's down to about one hour per week. Without the online scheduling tool that allows clients to make their own appointments I would have had to hire someone.

Another huge time saver is doing paperwork online. Clients usually take care of that when they schedule their appointments.

What is the most frustrating thing you have to deal with running your mental health practice?

The most frustrating aspect of my job is definitely dealing with insurance companies: tracking down authorizations, calling about things they deny, workers' compensation is an obnoxious level of paperwork and time.

I block off the full day every Wednesday for work-free Wednesday. In theory, I don’t work. In reality, I spend half of the day with Medicaid alone. It's 60 to 90 minutes on hold, and if I have to discuss more than 3 clients with them I have to hang up and start over.

It’s irritating to me. The insurance industry isn’t providing a service. It’s not about the client and it’s not about me. It’s about the insurance company hitting their numbers.

Does TheraNest help with this?

They do have video tutorials on billing and insurance that have been really helpful. They have also started using Apex clearinghouse. I will switch to Apex because it will be cheaper, I just haven’t had time. TheraNest has also made changes to their billing reports in response to customer requests. SimplePractice was great at responding to customer ideas for new software features as well.

What are some improvements that you’d like to see in TheraNest?

The online calendar for clients is a bit more confusing compared to SimplePractice's calendar. I feel like I’ve had a few more cases of confusion. For example, TheraNest doesn't have a key that says the light squares are available and the dark squares are already booked.

About TheraNest

TheraNest, founded in 2013, is a leading behavioral health practice management system. It priced based upon the number of active clients you have, so you can add as many users as you would like. In addition to basic features like scheduling, billing, and reporting, it offers Wiley Practice Planners, a fully integrated patient portal, and HIPAA compliant telehealth functionality. Starting at $38 per month for up to 30 active clients, TheraNest is a best-in-class option for solo, medium, and group practices.

Read our full TheraNest review here.

Visit TheraNest's website to sign up for a free 21-day trial.

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
  • Mental health software
  • SEO software
  • Social media software

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