Pam Caviness is a licensed clinical social worker and life coach who has been in private practice since 2005, helping adults with a variety of mental health problems. She shared office space and staff with a group of independent clinicians who split the administrative overhead. In 2013, Pam moved her practice to a new location, and left all of the office staff behind. She started learning the administrative aspects herself, and relied on her EHR to help manage.
When Pam first started researching EHRs, she put Valant to the side because she was a bit intimidated by it. “It seemed that most of the reviews were done by psychiatrists or clinicians in bigger practices than mine. I thought that it was a system more geared towards a medical model for psychiatrists, and I thought it was a bit over-kill for my practice.” She decided to go with an EHR she thought was more specific to therapists.
Pam’s first EHR had features she liked, but others she struggled with. Her biggest problem was the note taking software. The SOAP template was too basic for her needs, but if she wanted anything different, she had to use complex computer coding to create a new template. Furthermore, the EHR would not allow her to bill until her notes were finished. While admittedly this is best practice, Pam often saw 9 patients per day and wasn’t able to finish the notes until late into the evening, which made it cumbersome to keep up with billing.
As her practice continued to grow, Pam felt that she was starting to outgrow her EHR. Despite her initial hesitation, she decided to give Valant another look. After a live demonstration, she was impressed with all that Valant could do. Pam implemented Valant in April of 2014.
Valant for the Solo Therapist
Pam worked with her Implementation Manager to understand how Mobile Notes could really streamline her note taking.
“With the SOAP-type format where they’re very open, I have a tendency of writing books in my progress notes and that was one thing that I really appreciated when I came to Valant: you understood and we were working together in terms of how to streamline my note taking, which has helped considerably.”
Pam mostly utilizes the intake and progress note templates and occasionally the missed appointment note template for no-shows. For evaluations, she utilizes the clinical history form and symptom screener which she sends to the patients prior to the appointment. The patients fill out the forms via our secure patient portal, and then send them back to her office, where it starts to populate the note. This added information helps Pam understand the history of her patients and enriches the notes with added information, but no added time.
Pam first received validation of the quality of her notes from an insurance company when she had to export several notes for a disability claim. “I’ve never had an insurance company come back and say that those notes were the best notes they had seen– and it was the format. They were the Valant notes, and it was very structured.”
With 9 patients per day, she’s still not always able to finish every note the same day, but Valant’s dashboard helps her stay organized and identifies the notes that need to be finished without interrupting the billing process. She credits the dashboard and other Valant reports for making her more organized. “If you saw my dashboard, you would see that I am up to date on both notes and billing!”
Pam’s advice to small non-prescriber practices is to not be intimidated by Valant’s popularity among larger practices. The multiple documentation templates and practice management suite make it a great fit for solo therapists, psychiatrists, and group practices alike.