Online Therapy Done Right
July 10, 2018
By Harrison Tyner
So you are all set to have an online session with a client. Here are five items to check off your list to ensure your session is a successful one.
1. Make sure the video conferencing system you are using is secure and HIPAA-compliant.
The technology you use must be encrypted and have a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) in place with its data center. That means no Skype and no Face-Time. Trust me, it is worth paying a little extra to use a secure platform to know you are playing by the rules and keeping your client information as secure as possible.
2. Take an online (e-therapy) certification course or at the very least review the American Telemedicine Association’s best practices.
There are several online CE websites that will provide you with the training you need to be fully prepared to practice online. View [WeCounsel’s] FAQ section to see a list of options. The ATA also lays out guidelines from what to wear during a session to how to respond in the event of an emergency.
3. Familiarize yourself and your client with the telehealth platform you are using.
Navigate your client through the setup process and deal with any minor issues they may have before entering the videoconference. This could be anything from scheduling a session to configuring one’s audiovisual settings.
4. Test the technology beforehand to make sure everything is working properly to ensure the successful start of a telehealth session.
Often a plugin will need to be downloaded and installed if the videoconferencing technology is browser-based and you’re using it for the first time. It’s also helpful to know which operating systems and internet browsers are compatible with you and your client’s telehealth platform – information which can usually be found in the FAQ section of the website.
5. Once you are connected with your client over video conference, take a minute to ensure that all auditory and visual distractions have been mitigated.
It’s important that both you and your client are in a closed, private room before beginning a session. In addition to you traditional intake, before the session begins you may also want to gather some of your client’s basic emergency contact information such as their primary care doctors contact information as well as their phone number, and current address. To stay in the loop on the best practices in telemedicine subscribe to our blog and we will keep you updated with the more relevant and current content.