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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. Each customer has 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 though the process of setting up your Client Portal, and will provide instructions on how to start using its features, such as sharing intake forms, delivering billing documents, collecting client payments and offering Online Booking (Professional Plan only).

In this guide, we'll cover:


How to enter your practice information

Make sure the following information found 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 
    • This can be edited from the Settings > My Practice > Locations tab

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How to turn on the Client Portal

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

  • Go to Settings > Client Portal
  • Click the Client Portal toggle to set it 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

How to set up your Domain (Client Portal URL)

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

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

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After your Domain is locked, you'll see a View Link button next to the URL. If you click this button, a new tab will open with your Client Portal homepage. You can also click the stacked paper icon to copy the URL so you can paste it into an email or add it to your practice website as needed.

copylink.simplepractice.clientportal.png

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 provided to clients through SimplePractice emails from before 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 (Client Portal URL) will be, so they can bookmark it on their computers. 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 information for the Client Portal will remain the same, but they'll have to log in from the new Domain. 


How to allow 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 and 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 use their computer’s file picker to select their documents.

Once uploaded, clients can see a list of the documents they have uploaded and even 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.

clientuploads.simplepractice.clientportal.png

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


How to edit 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 (these are found in the drop-downs above the email text) that you can insert in different places, so our platform will know where in the text to insert things, like 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 client's unique link needed to log in to the portal. If you do delete this, see our section on What are macros and how do I use them?

This is an example of what the Welcome email will look like when clients receive it, using the template shown above:

clientfacingemail.simplepractice.clientportal.png


How to customize and add new practice documents

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

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

  • Access the 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 into one of our document templates, select the Edit link. 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 to the document. You can type or paste 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, sent to clients by clicking the checkbox labeled Yes under Default.

Checkboxes for signature are automatically included at the end of each text for consent documents in the Client Portal, however you will not see this field while editing or creating consent documents.

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 will 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 parent who is listed in the client's information:

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

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How to adjust the intake or other questionnaires

To customize your intake forms and questionnaires, 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 about customizing notes and forms, see this walkthrough: My Notes and Forms: Creating customized client intake and progress note templates.


Choosing to send the Demographic Form and the Credit Card Information Form

You can select which items you’d like to include on your Demographic Form, and if you want to include a Credit Card Information Form by navigating to Settings > Client Portal > Shared Documents and Files. From there, Scroll down to the Demographic & Credit Card Forms section.

For the Demographic Form, you can choose to ask your client for their Nickname, their Insurance information, and their Gender Identity by checking the checkboxes next to the items you wish to include.

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In addition to those optional items, the Demographic Form asks for the client's name, email and phone information, communication and appointment reminder preferences, address, demographics, and emergency contact information. 

If Insurance is selected, the Demographic Form will include fields for your clients to enter their insurance information, as well as pictures of the front and back of their insurance card. Your clients will have the option to upload these images from their computer, or take photos and upload directly from their mobile device. This information will automatically populate into your clients' profiles, in their Client Info settings

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Note: If you’d like to have an existing client update their insurance information through the Demographic Form, you’ll need to delete their insurance information on file, and re-send this form. See Setting up insurance billing for your clients to learn more about updating a client's insurance information. 

You can learn more about the Demographic Form and the Credit Card Information Form in the video below:

Please note that the Sex field is a dropdown used to populate Box 3 of the CMS-1500 claim form. This is because insurance payers only accept Male or Female values in that box.

If you choose to use the Gender Identity field, it is a free text entry field where clients can input their gender identity, pronouns, and other information important to making them feel welcome in your practice.

Your client’s Gender information (ex. Female, Trans M-to-F, Other) will populate to the Gender Identity field on their Client Info tab. You can find and update this information if needed by going to the client's Overview page > Edit > Client Info tab and scrolling down to the About Client section. genderidentity.simplepractice.clientportal.png

Note: If you choose not to offer the Gender Identity field, the client will only see the Sex dropdown field.

Tip: The Demographic form mimics the Client Info page within SimplePractice, allowing your clients to populate their information via the Client Portal. We recommend you create a test client and send yourself the intake portal link, so you can see what the client sees.

You can also see the client point of view of the intake portal process by checking out this Help Center guide: Getting started guides for your clients.

Along with the Demographic Form, your clients can enter their credit card information using the Client Portal. The option to select the Credit Card Information Form is available whenever you share documents with your clients as long as you've enabled Online Payments.

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Note: If you need a credit card authorization, please create that through the consent documents for signature by your client, as the Credit Card Information Form does not include a signature box.


Editing the Client Portal Greeting message

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

This is the default Client Portal Greeting:

welcomemessage.simplepractice.clientportal.jpg

Here's how to edit the Client Portal Greeting:

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

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Enabling Client Portal features for individual clients

  • Navigate to the client's Overview page > 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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Disabling the Client Portal for individual clients

  • Navigate to the client's Overview page > 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, you can click Send Email in the Client Portal tab. 

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FAQs


What are macros and how do I use them?

When creating or editing your emails and reminders, you can use macros to personalize these messages. A macro is a special code that gets replaced with information specific to each recipient. Using macros allows you to easily personalize automatic emails or manual 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 will be replaced with the specific client recipient's first name. Another example of a macro is {practice_client_portal_login_link}, which will be replaced with your unique Client Portal login link for each recipient.

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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 set by default. However, if you accidentally delete the Client Portal link, 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 wish to tailor and click Edit
  • Click into the text box where you'd like to add the Client Portal link
  • Select the Links drop down, 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/PIN combo that your clients will use to log in for the first time to their Client Portal. 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 will 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. The Help Center guide Printing completed and blank forms has links to copy and print blank forms, and explains the process to get the client's information entered correctly.


When are different email templates sent to clients? 

There are 13 different email templates in SimplePractice, each one 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 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 our guide on 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 requested, where 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 requested.

    • You'll be given an on-screen guide where you will 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 as past due, this email is sent out once a week for four weeks, or until the invoice is 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 sub header for Invoice Past Due and choose an appropriate number of days

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    • Click Save.
  • Default Invoice Email: This is sent when the imbedded 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 imbedded 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 imbedded 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.

Additional Client Portal resources:

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