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Getting started with Secure Messaging

Getting started with Secure Messaging

Secure Messaging brings safe, secure, and HIPAA compliant communication to SimplePractice. Secure Messaging makes it easy to securely communicate with your clients and team members all in one place.

Note: Secure Messaging is available on the Essential and Plus Plans. You can learn more about our plans and pricing on our SimplePractice Pricing page.

In this guide, we'll cover:


Enabling Secure Messaging

To message your clients, Secure Messaging must first be enabled on both the practice level and the individual client level.

To enable Secure Messaging at the practice level:

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  • Switch the toggle to On to enable Secure Messaging between you and your Clients

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  • You also have the option to Automatically allow secure messaging for all new clients so anyone given Client Portal access can Secure Message

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Note: If you’ve added team members to your account, you must first switch Secure Messaging On for your team before you can do so for your clients.

  • You can enable Secure Messaging between yourself and individual clients from that page, or from the client’s Overview page > Edit > Client Portal tab

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Note: When any user sends a Secure Message and the recipient does not read the message after 10-20 minutes, a notification email will be sent automatically.


Sending messages to your clients

Once Secure Messaging is enabled for a client, you can easily communicate with them on either a computer or the SimplePractice mobile app. When a client receives a Secure Message, they’ll also receive an email containing a Client Portal login link that will allow them to access the message.

To send a Secure Message, click Messages.

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You can access your Secure Messages at any time by clicking Messages in the top navigation bar. You can either select one of your past conversations to continue, or you can choose to start a new conversation by selecting the New Message icon.

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When you create a new message, you’ll see a list of clients and team members who you've recently messaged, as well as a search bar. Once you select a client to message, you’ll see the option to Enable Secure Messaging to start the chat if they don’t have Secure Messaging enabled.

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If the client’s Secure Messaging has already been enabled, you can start writing your Secure Message. To send a message, press enter or return on your keyboard.

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When you send a Secure Message, your client will receive an email alerting them that you’ve messaged them.

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Note: If a client uses the SimplePractice Client Portal mobile app, they can also enable push notifications for new messages. Tapping the push notification will open the secure message conversation, which they can view and respond to within the app. For more information, see The SimplePractice Client Portal mobile app.

Your client can open the email from either their desktop or mobile device. They'll be able to view the message and reply back without having to sign in for 24 hours. After 24 hours, clients will have to use their email address to request an Instant Sign In link to login and access your message. Clients are required to log in to keep Secure Messaging HIPAA compliant. 

You'll see your client's response in your Secure Messages and will be alerted by a red bubble on top of the Messages button.

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Disabling Secure Messaging for a client

If you need to disable Secure Messaging for a client, follow these steps:

  • Navigate to the client's Overview page
  • Click Edit
  • Uncheck the Use secure messaging box in their Client Portal tab

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  • When you're finished, click Save Features.

Handling PHI sent to the wrong client

If you accidentally sent PHI to the wrong client, you can delete the message. To do this:

  • Navigate to the Secure Message with the client
  • Select the message you wish to remove by clicking the red trash can icon

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  • Click Remove

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  • Both you and your client will see that a message has been removed

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Enabling Secure Messaging for your team

You can enable or disable Secure Messaging for your team members at any time. To do this:

  • Navigate to Settings > Secure Messaging > Team members
  • Select or deselect the Enabled box next to each team member's name

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  • Click Save

Sending messages to your team

Secure Messaging works the same way for your team as it does with clients, but the potential uses depend on each of your team members' role:

  • Billers and Schedulers can send clinicians direct Secure Messages with their questions, notes, or actions required
  • Schedulers can instantly inform clinicians when a client calls or leaves a message
  • Billers can easily communicate about insurance information for a specific client
  • Supervisors can advise interns directly in SimplePractice
  • Clinicians can collaborate with other clinicians in your practice on a case, coordinate office scheduling, and even share SimplePractice tips

Note: Clinicians will only be able to message clients if they have been granted client access; however, any team member with the Biller or Scheduler role will have the ability to message any client. You can learn more about granting team members client access here: Client access and changing access levels.


Sending messages from your mobile device

You have the ability to send and receive Secure Messages from your SimplePractice app on iOS or Android.

With Secure Messaging, you can conveniently initiate conversations with both team members and clients. Team members and clients will first need to have Secure Messaging enabled. To do so, you’ll want to enable it from the web app on your computer. For detailed instructions, see How to enable Secure Messaging.

Note: You can respond to any existing conversation in Secure Messaging.


How to enable push notifications

You can opt to receive a push notification on your mobile device so you can respond in a timely manner directly from the SimplePractice mobile app. When you tap on the notification, your app will open so that you can send a HIPAA compliant response to your clients and team members.

Note: Clients can also enable push notifications for new messages on the SimplePractice Client Portal mobile app. For more information, see The SimplePractice Client Portal mobile app.

To access the push notification management screen:

  • Open the SimplePractice mobile app
  • Tap the ... icon in the top right

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  • Select Settings
  • Select Push Notifications

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There are four different push notifications available, and this is where you can customize which ones you'd like to receive. Notifications with the check mark are enabled. If you want to disable a notification type, tap the notification to uncheck it.

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See the table below for a description of each type of push notification. 

Alert type

Alert description

Appointment Alerts

When an appointment is about to start

New Message

When a new Secure Message is received

Appointment Request Alerts

When a new appointment has been requested

Video Appointment Alerts When a video appointment is about to start

You can choose to receive all, some, or none of these push notifications.

Important: You’ll also be notified via email when a client sends you a Secure Message, if you’re not signed into SimplePractice at the time the message is sent. If you’re signed into SimplePractice when the message is sent, you’ll be notified in the Messages section of SimplePractice instead.

Note: If you're experiencing any issues with accessing this feature, we recommend upgrading to the latest version of the mobile app. See Updating your SimplePractice app for more information.


FAQs


Is there a way for Secure Messaging to be enabled by default when I create a new client?

Secure Messaging can’t be enabled for clients by default. You can enable messaging for each client who has Client Portal access by navigating to Settings > Secure Messaging.

Alternatively, you can allow a client the ability to Secure Message by navigating to the client's Overview page and clicking Edit. From there, you can click the Client Portal tab, and check the box next to Use secure messaging. Click Save Features to enable Secure Messaging for the client. 

See Enabling Secure Messaging for more information. 


Can clients Secure Message non-clinical team members (Biller/Scheduler/Supervisor)?

Clients can message Practice Managers, Billers, and Schedulers. However, they can only message Supervisors if that team member has access to their client profile, or if they also have the Biller or Scheduler role.


Can non-clinical team members use Secure Messaging?

Non-clinical team members can send Secure Messages to other team members and clients, as long as Secure Messaging is enabled for them at the account level. To turn on Secure Messaging for team members, see Enabling Secure Messaging for your team.


Can clients Secure Message other clinicians?

Clients are only able to initiate a Secure Message with their primary clinician. However, if another clinician with access to the client's profile initiates a conversation via Secure Messaging, the client will be able to respond to that message and can reach out to that clinician in the future through the same exchange. 


Can I set up an automated response for Secure Messages? 

It's not possible to establish an automated response for Secure Messages.


Can I use emojis in Secure Messages?

Yes, emojis can be used in Secure Messaging utilizing emoji codes. 

Some examples of emoji codes include:

  • :grin:
  • :smile:
  • :thumbsup:

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Can I remind clients to complete documents?

While you can't set up automated Secure Messages, you can enable automated reminders for clients to complete pending documents. To do this, navigate to the client’s Client info tab and check the Completing documents box. 

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This reminder will be sent at a set time before the client’s upcoming appointment, so long as there’s documentation that hasn’t been completed on their end. Navigate to Settings > Client Reminders to adjust how long before an appointment this reminder will be sent.


Can I download a transcript of Secure Messages between team members?

It’s not possible to download a transcript of Secure Messages sent between team members within your SimplePractice account. For assistance with obtaining a transcript, please contact our support team.

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