Empower Your Practice
Journal for Practice Managers

Your Checklist for Starting a Therapist Private Practice in the UK

Michael May
September 17, 2020

therapists uk

There’s a wealth of different options available when it comes to practice management software for therapists in the UK. With life slowly getting back to normal after the coronavirus outbreak, there’s never been a better time to put all your energy into developing your business with the help of digital tools. At Medesk, we have put together a clear checklist of items you need to tick off if you want to make sure your therapy business has the best chance of success.

Scheduling and Online Booking

Even the most efficient private practice manager could do with some help with scheduling patients in for their appointments. Just think of all those times when you’ve been on the phone making a booking for a patient while others are stuck on hold. That’s not even to mention the risk of human error or the fact that over a third of potential bookings are missed because they are attempted outside of your opening hours. Simply put, your scheduling could and should be a whole lot easier.

Online booking is a great way to tackle all sorts of problems in your clinic. It's not just about allowing patients the convenience to book through your website. In fact, you can learn how people discover your services, offer direct booking with individual practitioners, set up automatic reminders about upcoming appointments and all sorts.

Here are just some of the most common issues that you can solve if your online booking software is part of a platform like Medesk:

  • Allow patients to book out of clinic hours
  • Offer patients their preferred time slots based on your live availability
  • Send out automated booking confirmations and reminders to reduce cancellations and no-shows
  • Permit trusted referral partners to book directly into your schedule
  • Validate potential patients’ suitability for your services
  • Collect deposit payments to cover your overheads
  • Let patients choose a virtual consultation if they don’t want to travel
  • Learn what is most popular with patients, e.g. appointment times, practitioners, services
  • Track where patient learn about your services and what convinced them to book

online booking pms *Online booking in Medesk

Read more: Why online booking is one of the major trends of the year

Client Portal

Giving your clients a greater degree of control over their appointments can only be a good thing when it is done right. You don't necessarily want your clients to be able to cancel their appointments at the drop of a hat, but you do need them to feel like you are working for their benefit. One of the best ways to improve your relationships with clients is to integrate a client portal with GDPR-compliant clinic software in the UK.

Make the most of a client portal tool and ensure that your clients can:

  • Book new appointments online, whether virtual or physical
  • Pay a deposit while booking online to secure their appointment
  • Request a callback if you are unavailable when they first called, e.g. out of hours
  • Make a formal request for their documents to be sent securely
  • Pay the remainder of their bill online
  • Cancel and rearrange appointments with plenty of notice given

Read more: How to Build the Best Relationship with Your Patients

Writing Your Consultation Notes with Practice Management Software for Therapists

Going paperless is the number one goal for many therapists when it comes to keeping notes about clients. It's much safer to create and store your documents with the help of a private practice management software platform, not to mention how much quicker it can be. Whether you're looking for security or convenience, Medesk has you covered in both respects.

Handling all your paperwork online has many benefits, including helping you to:

  • Create standardised notes for ease of understanding by everyone involved in client care
  • Generate perfectly formatted documents with minimal effort
  • Organise information for use in analytics and reporting
  • Sort by document type to get a clear history of what has been happening

Therapists screen 1 *Psychological questionnaires Medesk

Handling Billing and Payments

You don't want your relationship with your clients to be too transactional in nature. Although they need to pay you for your services, it can be somewhat detrimental to your end-goals if this aspect of your business is not handled with adequate care. You want your clients to understand that your main priority is to provide them with the help they require, and handling billing, invoicing and payments digitally is a great way to take the emphasis off payment for services rendered.

Whether you have a private practice manager to help or you're handling the finances yourself, doing so with a dedicated software solution enables you to:

  • Create a clear schedule with attached services for your upcoming appointments
  • Link billing to specific appointments so clients know exactly what they are paying for
  • Take prepayments as part of online booking to cover your overheads in advance
  • Use automated emails that tell clients how to pay the reminder of their bill online
  • Sync your Medesk invoices with Xero to give your accountant all the information they need

Xero uk *Xero integration with Medesk

Read more: Medical Billing - What You Need to Know

Telemedicine and Video Consultations

The popularity of video consultations has shot through the roof since social distancing and other coronavirus-related measures were taken by the government. Since it was simply not feasible for many clients to attend their therapist appointments in person, the only other viable option was to do so on camera. While it can take a bit of time for you to adapt your workflow, it looks like there's no way back. Clients have come to expect telemedicine as a standard appointment option when making a booking with a therapist, so if you're not on board already, now is the time.

Take a telemedicine tool and combine it with your medical practice management software so you'll be able to:

  • Manage all your different appointment types on one calendar
  • Start video consultations directly from your practice management platform
  • Generate reports to analyse the effect of telemedicine on your business
  • Send out automated SMS and emails to nip any technical difficulties in the bud
  • Link telemedicine to your client portal for easy login and video access

Read next: Telemedicine – Making Life Easier for Your Practice and Your Patients

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