Mental Help Net
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest NewsQuestions and AnswersBlog EntriesVideosLinksBook Reviews
Maximizing Effectiveness in Dynamic Psychotherapy Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy101 Healing Stories101 Things I Wish I'd Known When I Started Using HypnosisA Primer for Beginning PsychotherapyA Therapist's Guide to Understanding Common Medical ProblemsACT With LoveAlready FreeAssessment and Treatment of Childhood Problems, Second EditionBad TherapyBecoming MyselfBefore ForgivingBeing a Brain-Wise TherapistBiofeedback for the BrainBody PsychotherapyBody SenseBoundaries and Boundary Violations in PsychoanalysisBrain Change TherapyBreaking ApartBuffy the Vampire Slayer and PhilosophyBuilding on BionCare of the PsycheChoosing an Online TherapistClinical Handbook of Psychological DisordersClinical Intuition in PsychotherapyClinical Pearls of WisdomCo-Creating ChangeCompassion and Healing in Medicine and SocietyConfessions of a Former ChildConfidential RelationshipsConfidentiality and Mental HealthConfidingContemplative Psychotherapy EssentialsCouch FictionCounseling with Choice TheoryCritical Issues in PsychotherapyCrucial Choices, Crucial ChangesDecoding the Ethics CodeDepression 101Depression in ContextDo-It-Yourself Eye Movement Techniques for Emotional HealingDoing CBTDoing ItE-TherapyEncountering the Sacred in PsychotherapyEnergy Psychology InteractiveEssays on Philosophical CounselingEthics in Psychotherapy and CounselingEveryday Mind ReadingExercise-Based Interventions for Mental IllnessExistential PsychotherapyExpressing EmotionFacing Human SufferingFairbairn's Object Relations Theory in the Clinical SettingFamily TherapyFavorite Counseling and Therapy Homework AssignmentsFlourishingFlying ColorsGod & TherapyHandbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for TherapistsHandbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual ClientsHealing the Heart and Mind with MindfulnessHealing the Soul in the Age of the BrainHeinz KohutHow and Why Are Some Therapists Better Than Others?How People ChangeHow to Give Her Absolute PleasureHow to Go to TherapyIf Only I Had KnownIn SessionIn Therapy We TrustIn Treatment: Season 1Incorporating Spirituality in Counseling and PsychotherapyIs Long-Term Therapy Unethical?Issues in Philosophical CounselingIt’s Your HourLearning from Our MistakesLetters to a Young TherapistLogotherapy and Existential AnalysisLove's ExecutionerMan's Search for MeaningMeditations on Self-Discipline and FailureMetaphoria: Metaphor and Guided Metaphor for Psychotherapy and HealingMindfulnessMindfulness and AcceptanceMindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for DepressionMindworks: An Introduction to NLPMockingbird YearsMomma and the Meaning of LifeMotivational Interviewing: Preparing People For ChangeMulticulturalism and the Therapeutic ProcessOf Two MindsOn the CouchOne Nation Under TherapyOur Inner WorldOutsider Art and Art TherapyOvercoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings, and BehaviorsPhilosophical CounselingPhilosophical MidwiferyPhilosophical PracticePhilosophy and PsychotherapyPhilosophy for Counselling and PsychotherapyPhilosophy PracticePhilosophy's Role in Counseling and PsychotherapyPlato, Not Prozac!Process-Based CBTPsychologists Defying the CrowdPsychology, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, and the Politics of Human RelationshipsPsychosis in the FamilyPsychotherapyPsychotherapyPsychotherapy As PraxisPsychotherapy East and WestPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsPsychotherapy for Personality DisordersRational Emotive Behavior TherapyRational Emotive Behavior TherapyRationality and the Pursuit of HappinessRecovery OptionsRent Two Films and Let's Talk in the MorningSaving the Modern SoulSecond-order Change in PsychotherapySelf MattersSelf-Compassion in PsychotherapySelf-Determination Theory in the ClinicSexual Orientation and Psychodynamic PsychotherapyStrangers to OurselvesTaking America Off DrugsTales of PsychotherapyThe Art of HypnosisThe Case Formulation Approach to Cognitive-Behavior TherapyThe Compassionate ConnectionThe Crucible of ExperienceThe Education of Mrs. BemisThe Fall Of An IconThe Gift of TherapyThe Great Psychotherapy Debate: The Evidence for What Makes Psychotherapy Work The Husbands and Wives ClubThe Love CureThe Making of a TherapistThe Mummy at the Dining Room TableThe Neuroscience of PsychotherapyThe Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Healing the Social BrainThe New PsychoanalysisThe Philosopher's Autobiography The Portable CoachThe Portable Ethicist for Mental Health Professionals The Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday LifeThe Problem with Cognitive Behavioural TherapyThe Psychodynamics of Gender and Gender RoleThe Psychotherapy Documentation PrimerThe Real World Guide to Psychotherapy PracticeThe Schopenhauer CureThe Talking CureThe Therapeutic "Aha!"The Therapist's Guide to Psychopharmacology, Revised EditionThe Therapist's Ultimate Solution BookThe UnsayableThe Wing of MadnessTheory and Practice of Brief TherapyTherapyTheraScribe 4.0Thinking about ThinkingThriveToward a Psychology of AwakeningTracking Mental Health OutcomesTreating Attachment DisordersWhat the Buddha FeltWhat Works for Whom? Second EditionWhy Psychoanalysis?Yoga Therapy
Therapist Search
Find a Therapist:
 (USA/CAN only)

Use our Advanced Search to locate a therapist outside of North America.

Related Topics

Psychological Testing
Mental Disorders
Mental Health Professions
Treatments & Interventions

by PEC Technologies
John Wiley & Sons, 2001
Review by Chae Kwak on Dec 10th 2001

TheraScribe 4.0For nearly all mental health-care practitioners, the most satisfying aspect of our practice is our clinical interaction with patients. However, any practicing psychotherapist can attest to the frustrations in dealing with the mountains of paperwork that are required by various managed care payers and other regulatory entities. But theses demands are not necessarily all bad. Clear and well written treatment plans, progress notes, and homework planners can assist patients' progress in treatment. It also gives clinicians a clearer sense of their patients' progress and facilitates accountability.

An ideal solution to this problem would be a system that automates much of the repetitive and laborious processes required in our daily clinical practice. Therefore, an ideal computer software system would be one that is simple to use, does not require a steep learning curve, is flexible enough to accommodate our individual clinical styles, intuitive to use, and, most importantly, can easily and effortlessly be incorporated into our practice.

There are several computer programs that purport to help clinicians in organizing the labyrinth of paperwork that is required. TheraScribe 4.0 is the latest offering from PEC Technologies. It comes in three versions: 1) Solo / Small Group Edition - to install on one computer, 2) Solo / Small Group Edition - for installation on a Network of up to 10 Users, and 3) Enterprise SQL Edition Server Installation with Enterprise SQL Edition-Client. According to the company's literature, TheraScribe "is simply the most robust, yet easiest-to-use, behavioral health clinical management system available."

Strictly speaking, TheraScribe 4.0 is more than a simple tool that organizes paperwork. What separates this program from others is the "ability of the software to put the contents of Wiley's best-selling Practice Planner books (Treatment Planners, Homework Planners, and Progress Notes Planners) at user's fingertips…with thousands of prewritten clinical management components and tools…with…clinically sound language, and on-screen help to expertly guide you through each stage of the treatment process: intake/assessment, treatment planning, progress monitoring, and outcomes analysis."

The various features available in this program are too numerous to mention in this review. However, as expected, essential features like psychosocial assessment, billing authorization date (with numbers of remaining visits available), DSM IV codes, ability to input demographic information, mental status exam, and progress notes are all included in this program and they function as advertised.

A significant aspect of this program is its flexibility and the expandability via the use of various treatment and treatment-setting modules. For example, TheraScribe 4.0 integrates Wiley's Practice Planner books into the program, thus allowing clinicians easy assess to their bundled treatment planners and homework planners. Other treatment planner modules that can be purchased separately from the vendor include addictions, adult psychotherapy, child psychotherapy, family, group, and personality disorders. These treatment modules can also be custom-tailored to various treatment centers (e.g., adult criminal justice planner, behavioral medicine planner, pastoral counseling treatment planner, and the psychiatric evaluation and pharmacology planner). The same applies to the different progress note planners; the add-on module for adult progress notes planner, the adolescent progress notes planner, the addiction progress notes planner, and the child progress notes planner also can be purchased separately.

Another important feature of this software is the ability to customize it. Adding fields and creating custom reports can be relatively easily done, especially after getting familiar with the program. Yet to this reviewer, that is the most important question regarding migration to a computerized system in assisting with our clinical practice: usability.

No matter how powerful the features are, it means very little if the program is too difficult to understand and cumbersome to use. There is an inherent flexibility in using pen and paper in keeping records and creating a treatment plan. It allows for the freedom to be flexible and creative, and paper allows the leeway to use our clinical judgment without having to follow a rigid, prescribed course of treatment.

Of course some of this flexibility can be introduced into TheraScribe 4.0 but not without having sufficient familiarity with the details of the program. There is a substantial learning curve associated with this program though TheraScribe 4.0 comes with a CD-ROM based tutorial designed to help. The makers also offer telephone and onsite training for additional fees.

TheraScribe 4.0 essentially delivers what it promises in the promotional literature. The program interface is well designed, and with some practice, is relatively intuitive to navigate throughout the program (those who do not have much experience with using computers may have more difficulty.)

In this reviewer's opinion, TheraScribe's biggest strength is also its weakness. The programs' flexibility, power, and multitude of features require a great deal of time, energy, and effort to learn and understand. It requires a near-complete commitment to the program on the clinicians' part. Therefore, the essential question clinicians must ask when assessing the possibility of migrating their clinical information/practice to a computerized system such as TheraScribe is the degree of commitment to change their present way of doing things. Halfhearted commitment may be counterproductive as this may mean maintaining both handwritten notes and the computerized system at the same time, thus doubling the workload.

The TheraScribe 4.0 under review was a Demo disk with several key features disabled, including printing. Given these limitations, it was difficult to make a full commitment to switch more records to this program. It was difficult, therefore, to adequately assess the day-to-day practicality of using this system in clinical practice.

TheraScribe 4.0 is more than a simple record management program. It is a set of various tools. As with any tool, in order to use it effectively, it is important to understand how it is used and the strengths and weakness of that tool. In this case, TheraScribe 4.0 delivers what it purports. The ultimate question is whether that is sufficient to change the tried and true pen and paper method. This can only be answered by individual needs of clinicians and organizations.

TheraScribe can be a tremendously powerful practice aid but its real start-up costs must include a realistic calculation of the time and effort and motivation required to truly commit to optimal utilization.

© 2001 Chae Kwak

Chae Kwak is a psychotherapist in the Adult Outpatient Community Psychiatry Program at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland.

Link: Web Page for Therascribe

Follow us on Twitter!

Find us on Facebook!

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.

Powered by CenterSite.Net