Luminello Sold to SimplePractice and Now Everything Sucks

Private Equity came for my wife’s psychiatric private practice EHR, Luminello. Luminello sold to SimplePractice, which is owned by EngageSmart, which is owned by Vista Equity Partners Management.

From the press release:

“Both SimplePractice and Luminello were founded by clinicians looking to simplify the business of running an independent solo or small group mental health practice,” said Ken Braslow, MD, Founder, Luminello.

“Today, we remain equally committed to removing the administrative burdens that practitioners face and look forward to combining the strength of our collective experience to serve even more practitioners and their patients.”

Apparently, Luminello’s “commitment” was worth $19.6 million.

In short order, SimplePractice announced they were shutting down Luminello.

In fact, Luminello is being shut down so fast that SimplePractice doesn’t yet have the features needed to run an actual medical practice. They’re pressuring docs to transition despite the reality that SimplePractice is currently mostly used by nonphysician therapists and is half-baked as an EHR: They don’t have labs! They don’t have snippets or dot-phrases! They don’t even have e-prescribe! (You get the idea.)

Communication about the transition has been generally confusing and poor, but here’s the fun daily DocuSign reminder that assumes you’ll take it on faith that SimplePractice is going to work for your practice and are coming along for the ride:

In typical tone-deaf private equity fashion, they’re happy to spend money upfront for a roll-up to buy (instead of earn) some growth but then completely botched the execution because they don’t actually know what they’re doing. Instead, they’d rather anger thousands of doctors by bullying them into switching to a product that literally can’t do many of the things their current offering does while pressuring them in the sleaziest ways possible.

Luminello is flawed, but it works worked. In the meantime, its customers are being told they only have until April to sign on to SimplePractice before their EHR stops working.

Meanwhile, the data export function the docs need to save their records (and, coincidentally, to transition to a different EHR) seems to be magically broken. Their patient information is being held hostage.

Just for fun, the entire lab-ordering tab has disappeared.

Starting a few days ago, for some users, the Luminello calendar began intermittently showing empty appointment slots:

And, just today, the site began alternating between intermittently lagging into unusability and just flat-out crashing:

Now, why spend millions to basically buy customers and then immediately turn around and make all of their lives harder instead of just waiting a few more months until you have feature parity? Why not make switching an easy no-brainer upgrade?

Because, in my opinion, they don’t think it matters.

They don’t seem to care about their customers or about the patients (“clients” in SimplePractice parlance) their customers serve, and–most importantly–they’re relying on doctor’s learned helplessness: they assume a critical mass of physicians using Luminello–many in solo practice–are resigned to the enshittification of healthcare or too busy to actively pick something else.

I hope they’re wrong.


Emad Awad 03.17.24 Reply

Are SimplePractice legally allowed to do this? Is there any governmental agency approving this type of action, i.e. forcing thousands of doctors to, pretty much, manually backing up patient information, spending tens, maybe hundreds, of hours, or otherwise they’d lose patient records? Which governmental agency has oversight to review such a practice?

Priti Patel 04.24.24 Reply

I asked my laywer he said burden is all on the privider. They can delete our files etc.. but we legally havr to hold them for 7 years.

Ryan 03.21.24 Reply

What EMR is she thinking of moving to?
IMO the fact that credit card processing rates jumps from 2.9% to 3.15% with simple practice is an absolute dealbreaker.

Ben 03.22.24 Reply

Charm. We’ll do a post about our EHR comparison etc in the next month.

A Worley 04.24.24

How can I be notified of the article?

Felicia Libo 05.07.24

I’d love to see this as a current SP user frustrated and now better informed after reading your piece. Thank you!

Rob 04.05.24 Reply

Luminello wasn’t great, but it wasn’t so bad that it was worth moving. Until Simple Practice. It did feel rushed and Luminello had never earned my confidence enough to trust their endorsement. It was a platform built by developers for developers, not for practitioners. My favorite example of this is a patient booking a next day appointment at the 24 hour cutoff. If it was Tuesday at 1:17 pm when they tried to book, they would be offered Thursday at 1:17 pm, regardless of the fact that appointments are only offered on the half hour. So they’ve now blocked out both the 1:00 pm spot and the 1:30 pm spot. “The developers say it’s functioning as it should.”
We moved to PracticeQ and so far are pretty happy with it. There were a few niche things that Luminello was better at (portal permissions, calendar), but PracticeQ is miles ahead on most other areas.

Ben 04.06.24 Reply

We looked into multiple options (particulalry PracticeQ, OptiMantra, Osmind). We ended up choosing Charm. I was able to get readers a $25 sign-up bonus with that link.

Jeannie 04.15.24 Reply

I was given about 8 day’s notice of the data migration from Luminello to Simple Practice. I complained. On the Sunday morning of the migration, I finally received a response from Luminello who offered to let me postpone. I promptly replied back with my preferred date. The data was migrated as scheduled anyway. The next morning my clients were having trouble accessing the portal. My scheduler was having trouble unarchiving clients. I’m trying to run my business, not serve as an customer service for Simple Practice. 36 hrs after being told I could postpone, I still haven’t received any response from Luminello. I’m so angry with how hasty and poorly communicated this whole process has been. I’m switching EHRs again even though it creates more work for me. Simple Practice just doesn’t deserve my business.

Ben 04.16.24 Reply

Brutal. It’s sad that they have the capacity to make a decent product but not the will to treat the customers they purchased with any respect or kindness.

Ayesha 04.24.24 Reply

This is the most poorly handled roll out I’ve ever seen. I’m signing up for SP because I just don’t have the bandwidth to go searching around but I’ll take a look at the other options folks have mentioned.
Disappointing to be sure.
I hope Dr. Ken Braslow is getting a good deal out of this.
Because nobody else is, least of all my patients.
On top of this with the alleged data hacking from insurance processors, and the slow pedaled snail mailed paper checks they’re sending out makes me just want to return to the old-fashioned paper notes and fee for service. Not worth the stress at all.

Kristin Snowden 04.25.24 Reply

I’m another unhappy Luminello user here who does not want to transfer everything to simple practice. I have a very basic, lone-provider practice that only requires the EHR firewall protection. I don’t require e-rx, insurance billing, HIPAA videos or even CC processing (I use Elavon). And I know they’re going to increase the monthly price significantly. I had custom intake forms on luminello that SP reports they won’t transfer over and instead I have to learn how to transform all their form templates on my own, without any one on one help from them (just videos) and lots of lost time on my end. I also went to a video Q/A session today for SP to share my concerns, I was on the live event for 35 min and never had my questions or concerns addressed. I would love to hear some alternative, small, basic EHR software alternatives you’ve come up with. I was happy with luminellos price, their one on one attention, their simplicity and their ability to help me create custom forms for client intakes and notes. Have you come across anything else like this?

Ben 04.26.24 Reply

There is nothing quite as simple as Luminello. We moved to Charm. Once set up, it is actually a superior platform, and there are several things that are streamlined in Charm that will long-term result in more efficiency/less hassle. But those things (better calendar, telehealth, rx, billing) may not be relevant for you. Transitioning was definitely not trivial, and while the product is very solid, the documentation isn’t amazing and the customer service isn’t as fast as Luminello’s.

We looked into multiple options (particularly PracticeQ, OptiMantra, Osmind) and briefly considered some other options that were too big for our needs. None of these worked in replacing Luminello in a way that my wife liked for her practice.

The Charm calendar/appointment reminders are quite good if that’s a feature you’re using. Ultimately SimplePractice may be the simplest choice for you despite everything. But if you’re mostly doing notes, perhaps just use a HIPAA compliant notes tool and not a full EHR? There’s nothing that I know of out there that won’t waste your time when starting compared with continuing with Luminello.

Rodrigo Nardi 04.30.24 Reply

No class lawsuits going on? If so, I am in. Simple practice absolutely sucks

Jane 05.06.24 Reply

I am so sorry to hear about this. Have you considered Healthie EHR?

Christina Demopulos 05.06.24 Reply

Any issues with Simple practice not being HIPPA compliant re giving insurance companies access to your notes to determine visit coverage?
This happened in the previous therapy platform yes? Anyone know about this?

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