Simple & Sane – How Not To Over-Think HIPAA In Private Practice



Yesterday I got to hang out with my friend and favorite security-geek-turned-counselor, Roy Huggins, LPC, NCC!

Many of you were able to join us for that live interview talking about a more accurate way to think about HIPAA and HITECH compliance.

Roy shared with us a little bit about the way he has found to simplify our security needs as mental health professionals in a way that honors our desire to protect our clients and their information, to fulfill our legal responsibilities, and to come out the other side still sane.

Check out the interview below and let me know what you think!

Even better . . . he’s offering each of you a significant discount through May 31, 2015 extended through June 7, 2015. [Thank you, Roy!]

(I know!  I know!  It’s a short window of time!)

I’m working on him to extend that deadline for a little longer, but I’m not sure if I can get him to do it.

That means that if you’re committed to honoring the trust that your clients have placed in you and wanting to ensure that you are protecting them and their information as best you can, then you want to check out Roy’s brand new tool, The HIPAA Security Workbook:  Mental Health HIPAA Compliance, Securely & Sanely.

Use the code:  PPIOPCT to get an additional 15% off.

I’ve already vetted it for you and that’s the only reason I’m encouraging you to get it.

However, it’s important to me that you know that I will get a small portion of your purchase price returned to me IF you use the code above.

If you would prefer that I not get anything from your purchase, you may go directly to Person-Centered Tech to purchase it there.

I haven’t found anything at any price that makes HIPAA compliance this simple.

Once you pick up your own copy, I hope you’ll drop back in to let us know what you think about it.


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How to Make Sense of Your Google Analytics


How to Make Sense of Your Google Analytics

If you haven’t yet started using Google Analytics for your own website, here’s a tutorial to get you started.  It’s simple to set up and it’s free to use.  But once the data starts rolling in, you need to understand what it means.  That’s why I invited Kelly Higdon to join us today to explain some of these mystery terms  that therapists need to know to make good use of Google Analytics. Please join me in making her feel welcome here!


A Guest Post by Kelly Higdon, LMFT

The goal of any website is to build trust. When people find your site, you want them to explore, read, click and eventually call you. So how do you know if your website is meeting this goal?

Google analytics is a powerful tool that once installed, gives you tons of rich data at your fingertips. This data helps you decide how to improve your website and foster more trust with your visitors.

While there are many data sets you can find through your analytics, I find it best to start with the basics. Once you are in the habit of checking your analytics weekly and you have a sense of what changes impact outcomes on your website, then you can decide if there are other factors you want to explore.

Let’s take a look at some of the basic information and what you can do to improve your website and how it works for your private practice growth.

What’s the Big Deal about Bounce Rate?

The basic definition of bounce rate according to Google is the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. Your bounce rate can be high should you have a single page website, however, rarely are therapists’ websites a single page so let’s explore other explanation to bounce rate.

The search engines, like Google, pride themselves in giving accurate results to searches. A bounce rate can inform Google that what they gave as results to a search may be inaccurate. For example, I am searching for an oil change and a car dealer shows up. I click on the dealer website and realize that it wasn’t the page I was looking for so I click back to search some more. That bounce tells Google that the dealer they suggested may not be the best result for the search term oil change.

When people don’t find what they are looking for with ease, they leave a website. Your website should invite them to stay and spend some time with you. According to Rocket Fuel, a bounce rate in the range of 26 to 40 percent is excellent, 41 to 55 percent is roughly average and 56 to 70 percent is higher than average. So take a look at your current bounce rate and see where your website falls in these categories. From there you can work to decrease the bounce rate.

To decrease the bounce rate, the design of your site needs to be modern, simple and clear. Some sites are not mobile friendly or look like a website from the 1990’s.

If the information isn’t easy to read or appealing to the eye, you can quickly lose the interest of people on your website. In 5 seconds of landing on your website is it clear who you are, what you do and who you help?

Lastly, are you clear about what you want the person to do next? Some of us think a single call to action – call me at 555-xxxx – is enough. But that isn’t how relationships work. Invite them to get to know your specialty or a unique skill you use. Make it clear where you want readers to go to next on your website.

Also, when setting up your site, make sure your website is clear about your category of business for SEO purposes so that you are ranked for the proper keywords that your ideal clients use to find you.

Referrals to Your Website

Google analytics will show you who referred to your website and is a strong indicator of how people are finding you. Often we put efforts into social media or other online marketing only to wonder if it was worth it. By paying attention to your referral sources you will know where to focus your energy.

If you have a Twitter post that drives visitors to a blog post on your site and you promote it for a week, take note if your referrals from Twitter increase. We notice this a lot at ZynnyMe. We have an emphasis in something that spikes traffic from Facebook or Twitter and that informs us about where to focus our social media presence and what to share on our social media. You will also start to see if people are finding you organically, meaning they search in Google and find you based on keywords.

Based on your top referrals, you can curate content for them and continue to test what information drives more people to your website. Once people are on your website, you will know if they are sticking around based on your bounce rate. This is where you start to see the interdependency of your analytics. Regardless of where you choose to send people once they get to  your website, be sure to have a clear call to action and give them opportunities to dig into your site more deeply.

More Page Views, Please

This informs you how times people have viewed a single page on your site. This, of course, is something you want to see increasing as you market your practice. Being found online is simply not enough. You want to be viewed more and more.

To increase your number of page views it helps to keep your website updated with fresh, new, regular content. It’s also important to make it easy for people to share your content by installing a share bar.  This will increase your page views.

Having guest blog posts or interviews of others on your site will also increase page views because those people will be promoting their content on your website.

Also, don’t forget to give your visitors opportunities to click further into your site by having additional links on the page. The more page views, the more your visitor is engaging on your website and building trust with you.

What’s the Big Deal about Engagement?

This is how long a person is staying on your website. Of course the longer they hang out means the more interested they are in what you are offering. If you see your page views increase and your engagement increase, this means people not only are looking at more pages but they are spending more time looking at the page.

One of the ways to improve engagement is to make it easy for your visitors to know where to go for more information. Don’t give them 50 options and links to click on. More options mean more room for indecision. Make it simple. You may want to have two linked images on a page – one for your couples therapy page and one for your work with children. Then the visitor can choose where s/he wants to go next. Keep the text on your pages simple and broken up with headers. This will naturally draw the eye to what is important. The more engagement you have, the more relevant your website is to your reader.

The Easy Way

You can simply log into your analytics dashboard to get this information, however I recommend using to get a weekly visual report of your analytics. It makes analytics easy to digest and interpret. I also recommend using sumome’s free heat maps so you can have another visual representation of where people click on your website.

Analytics is why I love online marketing for private practices. You no longer have to keep doing something in your marketing because you “should”, rather you do what you know works and you have hard data as evidence of it working.


About the Author: Kelly Higdon, LMFT is co-owner of ZynnyMe in Image of Kelly HigdonLaguna Hills, California where she helps therapists build full practices and happy lives. Check out her mini-boot camp course full of articles and trainings to keep you inspired in building a private practice.



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10 Steps to Writing Letters That Get Results When Therapists Get Cheated


I talk to therapists every week who 10 Steps to Writing Letters of Complaintare stunned that business owners in our own and allied professions, can and will pass out shoddy advice and poor or deceptive services simply to make a dollar at a therapist’s expense.

I see it happen in Facebook chats and LinkedIn groups every single day.

It’s easy to slip from being business owner to victimized consumer.

The minute we step outside of our own areas of expertise, we – like the general public – become vulnerable to those who lack imagination and integrity.

If you’ve hired a CPA to do your taxes only to learn that he didn’t quite get around to completing your return by the deadline this year . . . or you’re working with a web developer who promised to get you on the first page of a Google search but you can’t find your business on the first 10 pages of a Google search . . . or you’re Virtual Assistant has assured you that she will meet your deadline before your next webinar but doesn’t follow through . . . or your billing specialist has repeatedly failed to send out invoices . . . you need to know the 10 steps to take when writing a letter of complaint to another professional to get the results that you want.

I first learned these from Ellen Phillips after reading her book Shocked, Appalled, and Dismayed!  How to Write Letters of Complaint that Get Results.

I’ve used them several times and have always gotten the results I wanted.

Here they are for you:

Step 1 – Take a breath and calm down.  

Don’t vent on social media.

Don’t run off at the mouth to friends and neighbors.

And, don’t put anything in writing while your blood is still boiling.

Step 2 – Gather your thoughts and get organized.

For that matter, organize your receipts, your documentation, and get the facts straight in your own mind.

Step 3 – Do your research to find out who is ultimately in charge.

There is absolutely no reason to continue dealing with the powerless underling that has led you to this point.

It’s much more efficient and much more impactful to go directly to the one with the power to make this situation right.

Step 4 – Remain professional and unemotional.

Don’t curse or threaten or use colorful adjectives.

Just the facts will serve you best here.

Step 5 – Be concise but not-so-subtle.

It’s important to start that letter off in an attention-getting way.

Don’t be shy about how you are affected by the situation that has arisen.

But, don’t be excessively wordy in describing the situation that occurred and the current problem.

(And, don’t forget to include the steps you have taken so far to rectify the situation.)

Step 6 – Note the likelihood of this situation costing you business.

It’s true when you think about your family and friends and loyal clients and referral sources, too, reacting to this situation.

Step 7 – Ask exactly for what you want to rectify this situation.

Don’t be shy.

Don’t whine and hint at what you would like.

Instead, remind this individual that you entered into this business arrangement with integrity and enthusiasm as a loyal customer and would now like “a full reimbursement” and “public apology” or whatever else it might be that  would, in your opinion, make this right.

Step 8 – Don’t forget to include a deadline for your request.

State something like “I expect to hear from you within the next seven days” or whatever you believe to be reasonable.

Step 9 – Copy others who might be interested in or able to influence this situation.

When professional and trade organizations, regulatory agencies ( including local, state, and federal agencies), and media outlets are copied, the resolution is often quick.

And, if you find yourself in need of an extra “nudge ” due to inaction, Step 10 is then to go back to each of those individuals that you have copied and send them a personal letter in a similar format.

I hope if you have found yourself needing to stand up to other business owners to get what you have paid for, you’ll drop in here to share how you addressed it, how that worked for you, and what suggestions you might have for other therapists, too.


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