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Setting up the Client Portal

Setting up the Client Portal

The Client Portal provides a secure method for communicating with your clients and their contacts. Account Owners, Clinicians with Administrator Access, and Practice Managers have the opportunity to enable the Client Portal in their SimplePractice account, as well as customize their Client Portal URL and welcome message. This guide will walk you through the process of setting up your Client Portal, and will provide instructions on how to start using its features, such as:

  • Sending intake forms to clients (both new and existing)
  • Sharing documents and files with clients
  • Sending Statements, Superbills, or Invoices
  • Allowing clients to make credit card payments through the portal (Online Payments account required)
  • Allowing clients to request appointments online (available on the Essential and Plus plans only)

In this guide, we'll cover:

Note: See Getting started guides for your clients to view or download Getting Started guides for clients using the Client Portal. 


Entering your practice information

Make sure the following information in your Settings > My Practice page is how you want it to appear when clients see your Client Portal:

  • Practice Name (displayed at the top of the Client Portal)
  • Time Zone
  • Practice Phone
  • Cancellation Policy
  • Office Locations 

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Note: You can decide whether you want to hide or display your exact address from prospective clients by following the instructions in our guide on Hiding or displaying your address publicly.


Turning on the Client Portal

Once you’ve confirmed your practice information is correct, you can turn on the Client Portal by following these steps:

  • Navigate to Settings > Client Portal
  • Set the Client Portal toggle to On

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  • After you turn on the Client Portal, you'll see the Settings, Emails, and Shared Documents and Files tabs

Setting up your Domain (Client Portal URL)

Your Domain (Client Portal URL) is the link you and your clients can use to access your Client Portal. Before you begin using the Client Portal, you'll want to set it up correctly by following these steps:

  • Navigate to Settings > Domains
    • Under Default Domain, you'll see your link
  • If you haven't locked your URL, you can personalize it by clicking and editing the text field
  • Click Save & Lock to lock your Domain

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Note: In a group practice, your Domain (Client Portal URL) is set practice-wide and will be shared between all clinicians. This domain can only be set by the Account Owner or a Practice Manager. We recommend using your group practice name as the domain, rather than a clinician's name.

After your Domain is locked, you'll see a View Link button next to the URL. If you click View Link, a new tab will open with your Client Portal homepage. For more information on what you'll see after you click View Link, see: What clients see when they login to the Client Portal.

Additionally, you can click the stacked paper icon to copy the URL, and you can paste it into an email, Secure Message, or add it to your practice website as needed.

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Note: For help adding the web address to your own website, please contact your website administrator.

Important: Once you lock your Domain, you won't be able to make changes to it directly. If needed, you can send our team a help request and we can unlock it for you.

After changing your Domain, the links that were previously provided to clients through SimplePractice emails will no longer work. The links found in those emails will direct clients to the SimplePractice website instead. We recommend letting your clients know ahead of time what the new Domain will be so they can bookmark it. We also recommend that you update any links to your Client Portal found elsewhere, such as on your website or in your email signature.

Your clients' login credentials for the Client Portal will remain the same, if you change your Domain.

Tip: If you already have an existing website, you can add your Client Portal URL to it. If you choose to create a Professional Website with us, your Client Portal will automatically be linked.


Inviting clients to the Client Portal

When your Client Portal is turned on, you can invite new clients to the portal when creating their files. Here's how: 

  • Click + Create > + Create Client 

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  • Enter the client's email address

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  • Click Continue to customize and send their intake packet

Once the intake packet is sent, clients will receive the Client Portal Welcome email. To customize this message, see Editing the intake Welcome email.  

You can invite existing clients to the Client Portal if they haven’t yet been granted access. Here’s how: 

  • Navigate to the client’s Overview page
  • Click Edit > Client Portal
  • If the client has an email address on file and hasn’t accessed the Client Portal yet, click Send Email to manually send an invitation email

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Resending a Client Portal invitation

If a client didn’t respond to the initial Client Portal invitation email, their file will show that the invitation was sent, but that the client has not signed in yet. 

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You can manually resend the invitation by checking the Resend email invitation box, customizing the message as needed, and clicking Send Email.

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If a client has signed in to the Client Portal at least once, you'll see a last signed in date. You won't have the option to manually resend the invitation. 

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If a client has signed in before and reaches out asking that you resend a sign-in link, you can manually send them your Client Portal link at any time. Here's how: 

  • Navigate to Settings > Domains
  • Click the copy link icon next to your unique Client Portal URL

copylink.simplepractice.defaultdomain.png

Note: See Setting up your Domain (Client Portal URL) if your Client Portal URL isn't set up yet. 

  • Click Messages at the top of your screen, and use the New Message icon to begin a message thread with the client

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  • Paste your Client Portal URL in the message thread

Tip: You can recommend that clients bookmark the link so they can quickly access their Client Portal at any time. 

  • Send the Secure Message

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The client will receive an email with the Client Portal link, where they can view the message and bookmark the Client Portal URL. For more information on Secure Messaging, see: Getting started with Secure Messaging.  

Note: To learn how you can help clients who are having difficulty signing into the Client Portal, see: Assisting clients with signing into the Client Portal.


Allowing clients to upload documents to the Client Portal

You can give clients the ability to easily upload and share documents with you through the Client Portal. Here's how:

  • Navigate to Settings > Client Portal  
  • Scroll to the Document Upload section
  • Check the box next to Allow clients to upload documents

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  • Click Save Settings

Once Document Upload is enabled, your clients will have a new section in the Documents tab of their Client Portal where they can upload documents. We support the following file types as long as the individual files are under 10MB in size:

  • PDF
  • JPG
  • PNG
  • MP3
  • M4A
  • DOC or DOCX
  • CSV

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Clients can either drag-and-drop files into the My Uploads box, or they can click Upload Files to select their documents.

Once uploaded, clients can see a list of the documents they've uploaded and re-download them if necessary.

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After a client uploads a document, their Primary Clinician will receive an email alerting them that there is a new document available. 

On the client’s Overview page, all clinicians assigned to the client can download, preview, or delete the documents the client has shared from the Client Uploads section within Uploaded Files

Note: If a clinician deletes a document from the Client Uploads section of the client's Overview page, that document will also be deleted from the client's portal.

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Note: If this feature is enabled, it will be visible to both Active and Inactive clients.


Editing the intake Welcome email

The Welcome email is the email clients receive with the invitation to your Client Portal. To customize it:

  • Navigate to Settings > Client Portal > Emails tab
  • Find the Welcome email and click Edit
    • Additional emails will be available depending on your SimplePractice plan

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  • You can change the text of the Welcome email subject line and the body of the email. You can also use template macros, which are found in the drop-downs above the email text. You can insert them in different places so that our platform knows where in the text to insert them, such as the client's first and/or last name, etc.

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Note: Do not delete the {practice_client_portal_login_link} macro, because this includes the unique link that clients will use to log into the portal. If you do delete this, see our section on What are macros and how do I use them?

Here's an example of what the Welcome email looks like when clients receive it, using the template shown above:

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Customizing and adding new practice documents

Now that your Welcome email is ready to go, the next step is to include your consent documents for client signatures.

Note: A consent document is any text document that you want your clients to electronically sign. Consent documents are not currently fillable forms, but clients are able to electronically sign these documents.

  • Access your consent documents section by clicking the Shared Documents and Files tab
  • We offer these standard consent document templates preloaded with your SimplePractice account:
    • Notice of Privacy Practices
    • Informed Consent
    • Practice Policies

Note: You can also add Spanish versions of consent documents. Learn more here: Spanish consent forms.

  • To modify and add your practice information to one of our document templates, select Edit
    • This will display a text field so that you can edit the text
  • When you're done, click Save to finalize updating your information

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Here's how to add a new consent document:

  • Click + Consent Document
  • Enter a title and text by typing or pasting into the document
  • Click Save when finished

Note: You can add as many new consent documents as you'd like to this section.

The Shared Documents and Files tab is also where you can choose default forms to be included in your intake packet, which are sent to clients by clicking the checkbox labeled Yes under Default.

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Checkboxes for signature are automatically included at the end of each text for consent documents in the Client Portal. 

The electronic signatures you collect from clients are legally binding under the U.S. Federal ESIGN Act. There's no need to keep a physical copy of these documents or get further authorization from the client.

All signed documents are stored with, and visibly show, the client's IP address along with the timestamp of when they signed the document. This unique signature along with our secure internal audit trail authenticates the client's identity and satisfies the requirements for legally binding electronic signatures.

If you open one of the consent documents, you'll see the client's signature, along with the date and time the document was signed and the IP address of the computer used when signing the document.

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If your client is a minor, the signature will be the contact who's listed in the client's information:

minorsignature.simplepractice.consentdocument.jpg

If you have PDFs or Word documents for your clients to download, such as homework, articles, or documents, you can add them by clicking + Downloadable File in the Files (Read-only) section.

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Adjusting the intake or other questionnaires

Before you send your intake package to clients, you can customize your intake forms and questionnaires. To do this, click Manage Forms in the Shared Documents and Files tab under Intake Forms and Questionnaires, or: 

  • Go to Settings > Notes and Forms
  • Select the name of any Progress Note or Intake Form to edit

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Tip: For more information on customizing notes and forms, see: Creating customized templates in My Notes and Forms.


Editing the Client Portal Greeting message

When clients enter the Client Portal to complete intake forms for the first time, they'll see a welcome screen with the Client Portal Greeting message.

This is the default Client Portal Greeting:

welcomepage.simplepractice.clientportal.jpg

To edit the Client Portal Greeting:

  • Navigate to Settings > Client Portal > Shared Documents and Files tab
  • Scroll to the Client Portal Greeting section
  • Click Edit to make changes to the message

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Viewing your practice's Client Portal

Here's how to navigate your practice's Client Portal:

  • Navigate to Settings > Domains
  • Click View Link

viewlink.simplepractice.domains.png


What clients see when they log into the Client Portal

Existing clients will receive the link to your Client Portal when you invite them or if you provide them with the practice link elsewhere. New clients will receive the link when you invite them to the Client Portal. Once they sign in, they'll receive the welcome message. 

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In their Client Portal, they can:

  • View and sign documents you've shared 

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Note: If your client hasn't viewed their documents yet, they'll see a New icon next to each document. 

  • See their invoices, statements, and superbills

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Note: Your client will see a New icon next to any unpaid invoices they haven't viewed yet, as well as a Past Due icon if the invoice is considered past due. To learn more about changing your Invoices Past Due settings, see: When are different email templates sent to clients?  

  • Request or cancel their appointments online with online appointment requests if you have them enabled (available with the Essential and Plus Plans only)

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  • Add their credit card information and set a default payment method

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Tip: You can create a test client using your contact information to try out sharing documents and preview the intake forms you plan to send. 

Important: State laws may vary. We recommend confirming the laws in your state before allowing a minor's parent/guardian to access the minor's Client Portal.


Enabling Client Portal features for individual clients

The primary features available in the Client Portal include allowing clients to request appointments online, use Secure Messaging, and access billing documents. To enable these features for individual clients: 

  • Navigate to the client's Overview page
  • Click Edit > Client Portal tab
  • Select the features you want to enable under Client Portal Features, and de-select the features you want to disable
  • Click Save Features

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Note: Enabling access to billing documents allows clients to see invoices, statements, and superbills. To allow clients to pay invoices through the Client Portal, an Online Payments account must be set up and the Pay a balance with credit card using Stripe option must be selected.


Disabling the Client Portal for individual clients

You can disable Client Portal access at any time. To do this: 

  • Navigate to the client's Overview page
  • Click Edit > Client Portal tab
  • Click Disable Access

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If you want to re-enable the Client Portal or enable it for a client for the first time, click Send Email in the Client Portal tab. 

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FAQs


What are macros and how do I use them?

You can use macros to personalize the messages that are included when you're creating or editing emails and reminders. A macro is a code that gets replaced with information specific to each recipient. Using macros allows you to easily personalize automatic or manually-sent emails to include specific information about or relevant to the recipient, such as first name or organization name.

An example of a macro is {client_first_name}, which is replaced with the client recipient's first name. Another example of a macro is {practice_client_portal_login_link}, which is replaced with your unique Client Portal login link.

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In order to generate a login link for your client's first entry into the portal, you must include the Practice Client Portal Login Link macro in the email. This macro is included by default. If you accidentally delete it, here's how you can add it back into the body of the email:

  • Navigate to Settings > Client Portal > Emails tab
  • Locate the email template you'd like to make changes to and click Edit
  • Click into the text box where you'd like to add the Client Portal link
  • Select the Links dropdown and choose Practice Client Portal Login Link
    • The Practice Client Portal Login Link macro is {practice_client_portal_login_link}

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This is what the email will look like from the client's end: 

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Note: {practice_client_portal_login_link} generates the email that your clients will use to log into their Client Portal for the first time. If you accidentally delete this invitation link, you'll want to add it back following the steps above.


Can I print a blank version of the intake questionnaire?

Yes, if your client does not use email, you'll need to provide a blank form to collect the intake information. However, the process to get this information into SimplePractice involves a few extra steps. Printing completed and blank forms has links to copy and print blank forms, and it explains how to enter the client's information correctly.


When are different email templates sent to clients? 

There are 13 different email templates in SimplePractice, and each one is customizable. Here's a breakdown of when you can expect your clients to receive each type of email:

  • Welcome: This is included with the initial intake package that's sent to a new client.
    • You'll be given the opportunity to edit this email template when following the steps to send your client their intake forms. For more information on sending documents and customizing this email, see: Sending intake forms and documents to clients.
  • Appointment Confirmation: This is sent when you approve an appointment that the client requested.
    • This can be edited by navigating to Settings > Client Portal > Emails. From there, click Edit next to the Appointment Confirmation email template.
  • Appointment Confirmation with Documents: This is sent when you approve an appointment that a client requests and the client has incomplete documents in the Client Portal.
    • This can be edited by navigating to Settings > Client Portal > Emails. From there, click Edit next to the Appointment Confirmation with Documents email template.
  • Video Appointment Confirmation: This is sent when you approve a Telehealth appointment that a client requested.
    • This can be edited by navigating to Settings > Client Portal > Emails. From there, click Edit next to the Video Appointment Confirmation email template.
  • Video Appointment Confirmation with Documents: This is sent when you approve a Telehealth appointment that a client requested and the client has incomplete documents in the Client Portal.
    • This can be edited by navigating to Settings > Client Portal > Emails. From there, click Edit next to the Video Appointment Confirmation with Documents email template.
  • Appointment Declined: This is sent when you decline an appointment that a client requests.
    • You'll be given an on-screen guide where you'll have the opportunity to edit your message when declining the appointment.
  • Client Portal Activation: This is sent when granting an existing client Client Portal access for the first time.
    • You can send this email by navigating to the client's Overview page > Edit > Client Portal tab. Click Send Email to grant Client Portal access and send this email. 

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  • Document Request: This is sent when you share documents with your client through the Client Portal.
  • New Billing Document Available: This is sent when a client has a new billing document available in their Client Portal from the previous day, and the client has billing notifications enabled.
    • To enable billing notifications for a client, navigate to their client Overview page and click Edit. Click into their Billing and Insurance tab, and choose Send email with link to Client Portal from the drop down. Check the box next to the corresponding billing document and click Save Client
  • Invoice Past Due: After an invoice is marked past due, this email is sent out once a week for four weeks, or until the invoice is either paid or deleted.
    • You can change when an invoice is considered past due by navigating to Settings > Billing and Services. Under the Invoice Settings section, find the Invoice Past Due subsection, and choose your desired number of days.
    • Click Save.

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  • Default Invoice Email: This is sent when the embedded email function is used in an invoice. This email will also include the invoice as an attachment. 
    • To edit this template, navigate to Settings > Documents, and click Edit next to the Default Invoice Email template. 
  • Default Statement Email: This is sent when the embedded email function is used in a statement. This email will also include the statement as an attachment. 
    • To edit this template, navigate to Settings > Documents, and click Edit next to the Default Statement Email template.
  • Default Superbill Email: This is sent when the embedded email function is used in a superbill. This email will also include the superbill as an attachment. 
    • To edit this template, navigate to Settings > Documents, and click Edit next to the Default Superbill Email template.

How do I allow my client the ability to add their credit card info in the Client Portal?

To allow a client the ability to add their credit card information in the Client Portal, you’ll want to make sure that Online Payments is enabled in your account and that the client has access to billing documents. To do this:

  • Navigate to the client’s Overview page
  • Click Edit
  • Choose the Client Portal tab
  • Check the box next to Access billing documents

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  • Click Save Features

Once you’ve enabled this for your client, they’ll see the option to add a card or choose a default card from the Payment Methods tab under Billing & Payments in the Client Portal:

newcard.simplepractice.clientportal.png

If a contact would like to add or select a new default credit card in the Client Portal, they can do so as long as they have access to the client’s billing documents. 

Note: See Sending the Demographics Information form and Credit Card Information form for more information.


Additional resources

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