One of my favorite websites is PersonCenteredTech.com . This is where I learn so much about HIPAA rules as it concerns technology. As therapists, we all need to keep ourselves up-to-date on how to keep our patient information safe, and this site helps you do it.
Take a look here to get a free guide to how to keep your smartphone safe. You’ll be glad you did.
Every therapist wants to know how to get doctors to refer to their practice. Doctors are very busy these days, and they often don’t need have time to meet with you. At the same time, they need help with patients who need more time than they can give. So, in my experience, doctors want to be able to refer patients to therapists, if they have confidence in the therapist. To have that confidence, they have to get to know you.
I’ve used the letters below to introduce myself to doctors. There you’ll find links to PDF files for the letters. I purposefully did not provide Word documents because I think you should compose your own letter, in your voice, so that it fits your particular practice.
If that message sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same idea behind our Blog Content for Therapists offering. That’s where I send you a twice monthly email with an outline of a blog topic, likely one for which your prospective are looking , ready for you to complete in your own voice. To sign up for those for a very low monthly rate, please visit our Full Membership registration page. There’s no commitment, because you can cancel at any time.
Now back to the letters, which you see if you’re a Free or Full Member. Click here to sign-up for a Free Membership or a paid Full Membership
I love seeing therapists get excited about getting found on the internet. It’s astounding to me how many clients find me that way. It used to be that if people found me on the “yellow pages” (remember those?) the client connection was often not strong initially, and they seemed different than direct referrals or clients who had seen me speak. I think that those clients often had a feeling that they had just picked someone “out of the blue”, and often they didn’t show up for a first appointment. Or if they did, some didn’t return for a second appointment, which was a very rare even indeed with more direct referrals.
But these days clients who find me on the internet seem to come in feeling fairly connected. I think the ability to see a picture, read about us, and even more importantly, read things we write, gives them a chance to feel that they know us. And it helps them in selecting a therapist whom they feel is a good match for their particular situation. It really makes a difference.
This is why I think that a full website with your own blog on it is so very important for therapists. It’s not only that it helps you get found on the internet (although that is very true, because a blog keeps your content fresh). It’s also that reading your blog posts and other pages on your site helps your client get to know you, and make an affirmative decision that you may be the right therapist for them.
I’ve always enjoyed helping therapists learn to do better marketing . After all, we can’t help people if we can’t get them in our office. And I guess I’m pretty good at it, because I am blessed with a very busy practice. The only downside of that of that is I’ve had limited time to devote to this website.
I’ve finally come to realize that the old truism of “find your niche” is even more true when there is very little time to devote to an endeavor. I’ve decided that my niche is helping therapists get found on the internet, most specifically by blogging. Blogging to increase your presence on local search is, in my opinion, the single most effective thing you can do to help your website get noticed.
Some of you may groan, thinking, “That’s exactly what I don’t have time for!” That’s where I can be of help. If you become a paying member of PracticeSuccessTools.com , you’ll be able to ramp up your blogging with very little effort. If you want to learn more about that, take a look at PracticeSuccessTools.com. I believe that my tools are so powerful that I decided to structure the website as a membership site. You don’t have to pay to have at least partial access, but you do have to sign up.
Meanwhile, here on the blog, we’ll be talking about all kinds of ways to build your practice in general terms. I’m excited to do so, and hope to be adding all sort of information to the main site as time allows (there’s that limitation again, but I’ll do the best I can). But for the “meat and potatoes” aspect of the site, that one that has my full attention, you’ll definitely want to try out our Full Membership subscription. No commitment if you don’t like it, and I’m quite sure that you will.
Here’s a great post from Person Centered Tech on the new(ish) HIPAA requirements for online backup services.
I have used FirstBackup.com for years, and they are great. $49 per year for 2 GB of storage, great customer service based in Iowa, and most importantly …. when my hard drive crashed, the restore process worked and I got all of my backed up date back!
Full disclosure: if you click on my link, I make a little bit of money, but seriously, I would refer them no matter what!
I know, I know, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed with requirements for HIPAA. At one point, I had a template to offer for building your own security manual. Unfortunately, that link is gone.
But, luckily you can still learn why it is crucial to have your own HIPAA security manual, and how to go about it. Visit Person-Centered Tech, and prepare to be impressed!
Here’s a great post by Mike Langlois, shared by Keely Kolmes, and now here. He makes some great points.
Sometimes it seems like a full-time job to keep up with HIPAA. On January 25, 2013 the Department of Health and Human Services published its Final Rule, and one of its requirements is that certain changes be made to a “covered entity’s” Notice of Privacy Practices by September 23, 2013.
For a great summary of what is required, take a look at this article by David Jensen, JD, one of the staff attorneys for CAMFT. It’s very helpful.
The title says it all. This is not a good idea for so many reasons. This week I heard a story that will really convince you.
I heard about a therapist, an excellent, conscientious person, who was on her LinkedIn profile, and somehow told it to “find friends” or the equivalent thereof. So LinkedIn sent “invitations” to everyone on her email list (which means she had to give it her username and password), including a disgruntled client. This client then reported her to the board, who dismissed the charge. But the client is also suing her, apparently for malpractice for violating confidentiality.
Although this is the first time I have heard of a complaint, it isn’t the first time I have heard of a therapist making this mistake and accidentally mailing to clients. How to prevent it? Don’t put email addresses into online address books. Use a different type of email client like Thunderbird that only “lives” on your computer, or use a CRM program (Contact Relationship Management) like ACT that again only lives on your computer.
Prevention is the best policy!