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The Practice of Therapy Podcast ( helps therapists, counselors, and other mental health clinicians start, build and grow in their private practices.  Whether you are just starting into private practice or have been in it a while, The Practice of Therapy Podcast will give you information to help you grow and succeed!

Jun 15, 2020

In this episode, Ed Darrah joins the show and describes how to streamline your private practice using G-Suite. Ed reveals which G-Suite tools are HIPAA and BAA compliant. After loads of trial and error, Ed is here to describe what he now knows about using G-Suite to streamline and make your practice as efficient as possible!

Meet Edward Darrah

Edward Darrah is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Pennsylvania. Additionally, Edward holds board certifications in Counseling, School Counseling, and TeleMental Health. Edward founded Edward Darrah Counseling & Athlete Wellness Consulting in 2015, providing mental health and sport performance services within the greater Philadelphia area. Edward is currently a full-time staff member at Temple University, where he serves as a mental health and performance counselor.

Streamlining Your Practice

Ed started to look at potential ways to streamline his practice. G-Suite is a HIPAA compliant platform, and it was very familiar to Ed because he uses it for personal work. Ed learned how to interconnect all the tools to use within his healthcare facility and transmit healthcare data. It was a lot of trial and error to connect the pieces. But once Ed became familiar with what he wanted to do, it became his primary EMR.

Ed was looking at his return on investment, and he was pouring money into an electronic medical record that is well known, but his patients were not using a lot of the features that Ed was paying for. They didn’t sign into the portal, and they didn’t manually schedule appointments. Plus, his patients didn’t use the messaging system. Instead, they often chose text message or email as primary communication, all things that didn’t fit into this software. The most significant difference between an EMR that you pay for monthly is that once you create that account, everything’s there for you – forms are there for the scheduling and billing. The optimization is undoubtedly there, especially if you take insurance, which will be the most significant piece.

EMR will undoubtedly give you an advantage if you’re doing insurance claiming. In contrast, an out of pocket provider might find that of the features and customization, the product might not technically meet all your needs, or you might not need everything. So, you might be overpaying on your subscription. Ed realized that maybe there’s a better way. With G-Suite and some of the third party add-ons, he found you’re able to build a robust system, and he doesn’t call it an EMR because it doesn’t do everything, but it does allow you to run your practice pretty efficiently at a low cost. Providers that are working part-time or even providers working full-time need to maximize their profits.

Cloud Search

Not many EMRs are going to have such a robust cloud search, like Google, that’s what they specialize in. So, if you were putting your documents into your drive, you can go into a patient’s folder and narrow it down. You can type in medication and then bring up the notes on that medication in seconds. So, in terms of paper and being able to access data, it makes sense to use both to allow more consistency and streamline that care.

G-Suite Marketplace

Within G-Suite, they have what they call the marketplace. The marketplace offers what we’re calling add-ons from companies that have other tools that G-Suite might not provide. They can add different applications like Google Forms or Google Docs to allow for different types of customization and accessibility. You have to make sure that the companies that you’re integrating with your G-Suite account are compliant. You need to go on their sites and look at their privacy policies if they offer a BAA. Then, make an informed decision.


JotForm is just an alternate solution to Google Forms, but there are advantages to JotForm. You can take a natural electronic signature right on the form, which makes a document legalized. You could also capture your IP addresses, create form IDs, and submission IDs. You can take payments through JotForm so you can create a receipt or even an invoice and send it out. There’s a little more customization; there’s a bit more opportunity to make it more branded. They do have very streamlined integration to Google Drive into Google Sheets – it generates a PDF. It cuts down on error and time.

About Ed’s Workflow

Ed uses Google Meet for his telehealth work. There are things to keep in mind with telehealth. For instance, you should have a backup telehealth service in case a client is not able to access Google Meet. In addition, Ed uses Google Tasks in his calendar. It helps him stay organized and prioritize. Also, Ed uses Google Sheets as a chart, for case management, contact information, and taking notes. Google Voice falls into a BAA agreement. Many therapists are confused if they can or cannot use Google Contacts. Ed says not to use Google Contacts for client information – it is not covered under BAA. Instead, Ed will keep a separate Google Sheet with all of the information. Now, Google has something called Google Chat. Google Chat is under the BAA.

Being transparent… Some of the resources below use affiliate links which simply means we receive a commission if you purchase using the links, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for using the links!

Edward’s Resources

Darrah Counseling

Darrah Counseling on Facebook

Athlete Wellness




Resources (use the coupon code "GORDON" and 2 months free)

Racism Resources

G Suite for Therapists | The E-Course (Use Code JUNE2020)

The Session Note Helper System

Free Google G-Suite Hacks Sheet you can get here.

Join the G-Suite for Therapists Users Group

Money Matters in Private Practice | The Course

Cool Resources

Be a Podcast Guest

Follow @TPOTpodcast on Instagram

Meet Gordon Brewer, MEd, LMFT