How an iPad Helps Run a Therapist's Office [Interview] | Cult of Mac

How an iPad Helps Run a Therapist’s Office [Interview]


Psychotherapist Marcos Quinones.
Psychotherapist Marcos Quinones.

Psychotherapist Marcos Quinones has got streamlining a one-man office down to a science.

Quinones, a former software developer, is a New York City-based cognitive behavioral therapist and licensed clinical social worker who runs his entire office on Apple gear.

He credits the iPad with making a big impact in the smooth running of his sole practice.

As part of our continuing series about businesses using the iPad, he shares a few key apps that help him process payments and help with patient records, saving time and money.

Cult of Mac: What’s your current office setup?

Marcos Quinones: I use several Apple devices and software to run my private psychotherapy practice in Manhattan. Among the devices are the iPad 2, iPhone 4s, iMac, and MacBook Pro. The software I use is Numbers, Pages, iCal, Reminders, Note Taker HD, GoodReader, Skype, Youtube, Twitter and Squareup.

CoM: How did you get started?

Marcos Quinones: Having worked as a software developer in the late 90s, I came into psychotherapy with the idea of using technology as a service delivery medium. To do that, I would have to do some coding and find existing technology that would deliver treatment options to clients and the world in general. Also, I would use technology to streamline my processes.

I started filming myself on my MacBook Pro discussing problematic situations and how to use cognitive therapy as self help to resolve those issues. I posted over 100 of such videos in Spanish and English on YouTube (Channel mizike1122). Very helpful and free. Upon opening up a private practice, I needed a way to streamline arduous administrative tasks because I am a sole practitioner. And, anyone who knows anything about the health industry is that we are very paper intensive.

CoM: So how does the iPad figure in?

MQ: My first project was to find a way to charge my clients quickly after our 45-minute session so that I can get to the next session and not lose valuable time. I choose Since it came for the iPad, it was a perfect fit.

CoM: What kind of reaction did your clients have?

MQ: The clients loved the “high tech” way of paying for their session and signing the iPad screen with their finger. Some were even looking forward to the end of the session so they can use the iPad. The only problem with this solution is that they don’t have a method of keying in the credit card.  Therefore, my Skype sessions are still charged the traditional way by keying in their number into a hideous box. Other online solutions are more expensive.

CoM: What else do you use the iPad for?

MQ: I had to find a solution to enter comprehensive progress notes into an online electronic medical health records company. What I decided was to code a Numbers form with date boxes, check boxes, dropdown dialog boxes, and text boxes and aggregate the row entries into a narrative that could be cut and pasted into the online medical records website. This worked great because it takes less than a minute to compose four large comprehensive paragraphs for the session agenda, session note, homework and next week’s agenda.

[A screenshot from Note Taker HD]

CoM: What about privacy?

MQ: To manage privacy, the rows are identified by client initials and password protected. At the end of each week, I simply cut and paste each of the four paragraphs mentioned above into my online medical records website right from the iPad. For added security, I keep only one week of notes on my iPad so that I can refer back to the notes prior to the client coming in.

Also, prior to the client coming in, I take a look at the treatment plan I created on Note Taker HD. After about the third session, I bring up a few templates on Note Taker HD, which I had previously scanned in to the program, and write up a treatment plan. The templates help me focus on areas I may miss if weren’t prompted to check off. This treatment plan is also identified by client initials and stored in the electronic medical records site.

I use Pages templates to create receipts for my clients. Once per month, they need receipts to submit to their insurance companies for reimbursement. I change the dates of service and print the page. Having a template for each client saves a lot of time.  Other than signing the Squareup application on the iPad, my clients are clueless about what goes on behind the scene to make this ship run smoothly. They simply appreciate the attention I can give them without worrying about administrative tasks.

Finally, as a professor at New York University and Hunter College, I have to read lots of published articles, midterm papers and finals. I use GoodReader for that. I have my students email their work, I bring it up on GoodReader, comment and email them back.

This story is part of a series on businesses using the iPad. Contact (or use the link below) if you’d like to be featured.