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Saving time (and trees) for therapists

Every therapist has a different working style when it comes to documentation and notes. Mine was a more cumbersome one: take notes during a session on a legal pad, at the end of the day rewrite each note into my EHR, and then shred the handwritten notes. Some therapists type directly into notes during sessions, or in the space between sessions, but this has never worked for me.

My system worked to a point, but as I've become busier I started looking for more efficient solutions that wouldn't take so much time at the end of each day. I wanted to both waste less paper, but also find a way to write notes directly into my EHR (TherapyNotes) instead of on paper as sessions were happening.

I looked everywhere for solutions... Google searches, YouTube, reaching out directly to my EHR, reviewing posts on therapist forums, but I still couldn't find concrete answers. Some wrote that they use iPad Notes and copied and uploaded those into each chart, but that still seemed like a lot of steps. Others said that they were able to write directly into their EHR on an iPad, but tech people I spoke with were skeptical and thought if I could actually do this I'd need an aftermarket app, and I worried about HIPAA. I figured out a solution(!) - nothing groundbreaking - but I hope that what I've found might help others.

At $600 an iPad Air with a $125 Apple pencil seemed pricey, but I was willing to think about spending the money to save time long-term. It turns out, the non-Air, non-Pro regular, less expensive iPad with iPadOS 14 and later comes preloaded with the "Scribble" feature that will let you handwrite to text with an Apple pencil into any program. I got a 2021, 9th generation, 64gb iPad for around $300. The Apple pencil (first generation) was another $100. If you go this route, keep in mind that the regular iPad only works with the first generation Apple pencil. If you go with the iPad Air, you'll need the slightly more expensive second generation pencil.

I opened it all up and was still a little skeptical that it'd all really work. I'm not a huge tech person and spent several hours configuring and testing it - but it actually works! (*Photo with my daughter's name as a test client for practice). Tap on any field in my EHR and you can handwrite into it, and it immediately converts to text.

Thanks to everyone who has helped me along the way in figuring this all out, from tech pros to other therapists who gave me hope that this might work. I hope this might be helpful to others!

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Please be advised that I am not an attorney, nor am I giving legal advice. Please bring these ideas and solutions to your attorney for legal advice before putting these strategies into practice. This

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