Left-handed people have it rough.
Oh, and just about everything in the world is built for right-handers to use.
Being a behavioral health professional looking for free software can feel a lot like being left-handed. Most of the free solutions out there are built for general medical practices, hospitals, or other specialties. Finding a free solution aimed squarely at mental health offices is an exercise in frustration, like trying to use a pair of left-handed scissors.
If you don’t know what you’re looking for, check out last week’s post where I listed what to look for in mental health software.
But if you’re up to speed and just need some free and open source options for mental health software options, check out the list below.
What’s the number-one most popular mental health software option according to our infographic, and has a free version? TherapyNotes.com!
This web-based EHR is crazy well-reviewed on Capterra.
This behavioral health practice management software saves you time by managing the entire workflow of a mental health professional from scheduling the patient to submitting their claim. TherapyNotes.com automates scheduling, notes, electronic billing, and EMR.
The big drawback is the software is only free for schedulers, supervisors, and billing accounts.
This free, web-based medical billing software solution has functionality that is especially tailored to the needs of mental health practices. Practice Suite is free for one user login and uses a freemium model, meaning the free version has no ads or percent billing charges. Customers include “over 11,000 healthcare professionals and their staff, ranging from solo practitioners to Medical Centers like NYUMC.”
Practice Suite seems to understand the unique needs of the behavioral health practice, and the software is optimized for things like SOAP notes, adding mental health modifiers to bills, and the ability to choose different service levels and therapy codes depending on type of insurance. It supports more than 150 medical billing specialties. It works on Apple and Windows OS.
That said, the free version, with only one user, is fairly limited in that it can’t handle Medicare, Medicaid etc. without a $95 clearinghouse enrollment, and also doesn’t allow for unlimited claims or group billing.
According to PracticeFusion, it’s the #1 EHR for psychiatrists (whether that’s based on reviews or downloads is unclear). It’s a web-based solution, and is used by everyone from solo practitioners to large medical groups.
While PracticeFusion is a free EMR aimed at the general population of medical professionals rather than being designed from the ground up to cater to behavioral health practices, it has a strong mental health module that makes it ideal for inclusion on this list.
PracticeFusion has tons of behavioral health functionality. Strong psychiatric templates for things like interviews and mental status exams, anxiety and depression, and substance abuse round out the features aimed specifically at behavioral health. Additionally PracticeFusion is Meaningful Use certified, and has free e-prescribing and scheduling built in.
In our first version of this list we noted a limited ability to customize the software beyond templates. It appears PracticeFusion has innovated here, offering a specialty-specific template library, adaptive smart charting, and fully customizable encounter notes.
Web Infrastructure for Treatment Services EHR
Supposedly based on a software developed by SAMHSA, this is an open-source, web based system for behavioral health providers. Unfortunately, finding the actual free, open-source code of the original software is nigh-on impossible, and only paid versions like that offered by FEi Systems are readily accessible online. Current implementations include Oregon’s OWITS system (free for Oregon-based behavioral health agencies until July 1, 2015), and Idaho WITS (though some 25 other states have their own versions as well).
Related to WITS is Texas’s Behavioral Health Integrated Provider System (BHIPS); another “open source” software developed with taxpayer dollars that is just about impossible for the public to actually find online.
This free EMR from EvEMR only gets an honorable mention because, despite being launched in June 2013, there’s little evidence that this product still exists. The company which launched it has since deleted its Twitter account, and calls to the company’s phone line went unanswered, and voicemails were not returned.
Once you’ve decided what you need, check out our mental health software directory to compare options. You may also benefit from checkout out our Top 20 Most Popular Mental Health Software infographic. And to see reviews, check out our Mental Health Software Comparison Grid.
Have you found other free software specifically built for mental health providers? Mention it in the comments below!
Looking for Mental Health software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Mental Health software solutions.