Making Progress on Your Progress Notes

 Making Progress on Your Progress Notes

Written by Kelsey Someliana-Lauer, Virtual Assistant at Therapy Practice Solutions

Take a moment for reflection - what is your favorite part of being a mental health therapist? Chances are, you likely thought something along the lines of helping others, doing what I love, supporting a community, and so on. Now take a moment - what administrative task do you like the most? This is probably a harder answer. Maybe you like making your own social media, or writing your own blogs. Perhaps emails aren’t the bane of your existence. Out of all these answers - were progress notes on the list?

Not many mental health clinicians jump for joy over writing their progress notes. There are many reasons progress notes end up on the bottom of our “fun” list - they may feel tedious to write, you may be writing extremely long notes, or you may feel too busy in other aspects of your life. Regardless, writing progress notes is important for multiple reasons, including:

  • Being a refresher for your next session to remember what you discussed with your client

  • Keeping detailed records for higher-risk clients, such as those with severe depression

  • Maintaining HIPAA compliance by being able to produce notes if requested

Since progress notes are so important, what can be done to ease the burden of writing them? Here are three tips from the pros at Therapy Practice Solutions!

Use a Template

A template for note-taking is a huge time saver. If you use an EHR like SimplePractice or Theranest, there are note templates built into the library. If you don’t use an EHR or want to write hand-written notes, there are still templates available for you. It’s important to remember - progress notes should have some standard elements, such as a description of what was discussed, the therapeutic intervention used, what time the session was, a suicidality assessment, and so on.

Schedule Sessions 15 Minutes Apart

Picture this - you’ve worked eight hours today, and you’ve seen eight clients for one hour each. You’ve had back-to-back-to-back clients recounting their concerns, traumas, and week. At the end of the day, the last thing you want to do is write eight progress notes.

Instead of writing all of your progress notes at the end of the day, try scheduling fifteen minutes in-between clients to give yourself time to write your note. Even if you don’t get the whole note done in that time, it should give you a head start! While this may seemingly extend your workday, you’ll only have to write one progress note at the end of the day and be done.

Hire a Virtual Assistant

While writing a progress note feels daunting, dictating a progress note may not feel so bad! If you hire a HIPAA-informed Virtual Assistant, like those at Therapy Practice Solutions, you can record your note using a voice memo and send it securely to your assistant. The assistant can then enter the note into your template or EHR. Voila - your note is done, and you didn’t have to write at all! Of course, we always suggest you review and sign the note. Pairing this strategy with scheduling sessions 10-15 minutes apart means nearly nothing to do at the end of your day.

The folx at Therapy Practice Solutions would love to help you with your progress notes! Our Virtual Assistants can transcribe your audio versions of your notes. If this feels like a step you wouldn’t like to do, Assistants can instead offload your other administrative tasks, like returning calls and emails, insurance billing, and marketing, so you have more time in your day to complete your notes. Reach out today to see how we can help!


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