Telehealth: Ethical and Legal Practice for Mental Health Professionals, 8 Credits
This very readable and thought-provoking course is the result of extensive research into expert opinion, government documentation, current studies, and current practices by practicing therapists on the cutting edge of telehealth. The rapid expansion and innovation of telehealth in the mental health field reflects the pervasiveness of computer and telecommunications technology in our lives. More
This very readable and thought-provoking course is the result of extensive research into expert opinion, government documentation, current studies, and current practices by practicing therapists on the cutting edge of telehealth.
The rapid expansion and innovation of telehealth in the mental health field reflects the pervasiveness of computer and telecommunications technology in our lives. This is creating important opportunities for improved services and access. At the same time, telehealth practices and technologies pose substantial legal and ethical challenges.
This course provides a solid understanding of current telehealth media. It also familiarizes the participant with media their clients may be using. The course covers all ethical and legal areas being affected by telehealth, including safety, privacy, working across state lines, government access to records, encryption, contraindications, benefits and motives for telehealth practices, and much more. The participant will have practical, defensible guidelines for ethical and legal telehealth practice. The participant will be linked to an extensive, categorized, annotated list of resources that is maintained by the author.
The course includes a sample form: Private Practice Policies for Tele-Mental Health in a generic fill-in-the-blank format plus suggestions for customizing it to your practice.
By the end of the course, participants will be able to:
Define key terms, including telehealth, tele-mental health, and e-therapy.
Identify and describe the media used in telehealth.
Identify current legal issues in telehealth.
Seek consultation or other information services in order to be legally compliant when engaging in telehealth activities.
Interpret the ethical challenges in telehealth according to accepted ethical guidelines for telehealth activities, including new or novel circumstances that arise from factors such as technological innovation.
Identify the motives for using telehealth practices.
Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the technologies most used in telehealth practices.
Abide by ethical guidelines when engaging in telehealth activities, including:
- Maintain safety.
- Maintain privacy despite the challenges posed by electronic communication.
- Avoid using electronic media when sufficient privacy cannot be adequately ensured.
- Determine the level of privacy needed for the various telehealth activities.
- Work with clients that can benefit from telehealth practices.
- Identify risks or drawbacks in the use of specific telehealth practices.
- Working within legal scope of practice, and scope of competency while adopting telehealth practices.
- Work with clients in geographical or government boundaries that are permitted and appropriate.
- Gain informed consent for telehealth practices.
- Have emergency policies that account for telehealth practices.
- Maintain legal compliance with state and federal laws, including HIPAA.
- Acquire and manage all forms, agreements, and other clinical and administrative records appropriately.
- Maintain security of electronic data systems and the data itself.
- Monitor and manage the online reputation of the professional and the organization.
- Assist clients, within reason, in maintaining safety and well-being online.
- Operate within the requirements of existing malpractice coverage.
- Ensure that telehealth services are delivered with adequate cultural and linguistic competence for the populations designated to receive it.