Managing your own practice means juggling a lot of things simultaneously; paperwork, scheduling, accounting, and communications are just a few. If you are someone who struggles with organization, or if you simply would like to be able to access all of these features via one service, Google Workspace might be the perfect tool for your practice.
How does Google Workspace differ from Gmail?
Simply put, Gmail is the free version of Google Workspace. But as the saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” Gmail is NOT HIPPA-compliant. If you use Gmail for patient correspondence, it’s important to know that your messages to and from patients are not encrypted and therefore not guaranteed to be confidential.
What are some of the benefits of Google Workspace for therapists?
Google Workspace offers robust security and compliance features, including data encryption, two-factor authentication, and compliance with HIPPA regulations. Note, however, that opening an account with Google Workspace does not automatically activate its HIPPA-compliant features. See #4 in the next section for detailed instructions on how to make sure your Workspace is HIPPA-compliant.
With Google Drive, you can share patient records and treatment plans with other healthcare providers in real-time, allowing for easy coordination of care. This is especially beneficial for patients who have multiple providers.
Google Workspace adds a degree of professionalism to your business by allowing you to create an email address with your own domain name. Not only can this help to build trust with patients, but other healthcare providers might feel more comfortable communicating sensitive information if they know that your email is HIPPA-complaint.
Did you know that you can use Google Meet for virtual appointments and teletherapy sessions? Patients can access the secure portal directly from their own Google calendars, as well as set alerts for appointments, eliminating the need for complicated URL’s and reminder emails.
Google Workspace also allows you to share your calendar with other therapists and staff in your practice. This is particularly helpful if you have an administrator who handles scheduling, or if you share office space with other therapists. Sharing a calendar can help to reduce schedule conflicts and improve the overall efficiency of your practice.
With the Google Workspace mobile app, you can access your email, calendar, and documents from your phone or tablet, making it easy to stay connected and productive when you are away from the office.
Google Sheets is a cloud-based spreadsheet program that provides a number of benefits for therapists. There are templates for billing, budgeting, and keeping track of office supplies, or you can customize your own spreadsheet. Use Google’s add-on features to automate repetitive tasks for further efficiency.
How to get started using Google Workspace
Set up a Google Workspace account
You can sign up for Google Workspace through the main Google website. Google offers a 14-day free trial, but you’ll likely want to compare plans to determine which best fits your needs and budget. Plans start at $6/month with a one-year commitment.
Choose a domain name
When setting up your Workspace account, you will be asked to choose a domain name. This is the web address you will use to access all Workspace services. You can use your existing domain name, or if you have a website via Squarespace, you can set up your Workspace account directly through the Squarespace site.
Set up your email
Once you’ve chosen a domain name, you can create email addresses for your practice. You can also add email aliases, e.g. [email protected], and group emails.
Secure your account
To enable HIPPA-complaince, go to “Account Settings,” scroll down to “Legal & Compliance,” then “Security & Privacy Additional Terms.” Click the pencil icon to edit, then under “Google Workspace/Cloud Identity HIPAA Business Associate Amendment,” click the button that says “Review and Accept.” Follow the prompts, and you’re done!
Google Workspace is a service that includes access to HIPPA-complaint email, the ability to securely create and store patient forms, and a secure portal for teletherapy. These features make Google Workspace a particularly useful tool for therapists, especially those in practices that require frequent collaboration with other providers and office staff.
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