Tele-mental Health Is Here!
Allo? Bonjour! 你好!
Known as online therapy, telemental health, or “eTherapy”, remote-access counseling and coaching sessions have never been easier. You may have already heard of it referred to as telemedicine, and in the case of psychological services, tele-mental health.
For all computer users, Doxy.me and Vsee.com is the way we roll. It is HIPAA compliant, easy to use, and is free of charge to you. All you need is fast-internet and a smart device (phone, laptop, or tablet).
HIPPA compliant video platforms and cell phone connections are other ways to handle the challenges of time, travel, traffic congestion, and out-of -state searches for qualified helping professionals. There are a number of HIPAA complaint programs to chose from. The main concern is that you live in a state that allows therapists to conduct therapy by VoIP, AND if you are wishing to use your insurance, that your insurance company approves this an acceptable method of therapy (which many do not). If you are not using insurance, the state guidelines still apply for licensure. Therapists who do not abide by these laws can be sued by their state for fraudulent practices.
As a Registered Nurse, I already have experience in Telephonic Triage, and I have been thoroughly trained in HIPPA compliancy through a hospital organization. Still, I (Imei) confer with other professionals to bring you the latest in compliance and safety regarding the use of tele-mental health. If you wish to know more about it, you should watch a video produced by Dr. Marlene Maheu from the TelementalHealth.com.
While more and more states in the U.S. accept third party reimbursement for telemedicine, you may not be able to use yours depending on where you live. We would need to discuss your options carefully.
Remember, while telemedicine with video conferencing isn’t new (it’s been around since the early 1990’s!), the platforms used by most consumers aren’t necessarily telemedicine complaint or friendly. Skype is not HIPPA complaint because they essentially collect the data of who is using Skype, which is the equivalent of someone with a recording device standing outside my office door, recording who comes in or out. While the content of the session may be confidential, Skype can sell the information of the users. This is not acceptable for our standards of care. For a current article on the problems with Skype, here’s one from CNN on how easy it is for hackers to re-route your Skype calls.
SDC refuses to use Facebook’s chat mode for therapy sessions, regardless of method of payment. Facebook’s chat, while essentially a Skype for Facebook, makes it too easy to compromise legal confidentiality, as well as requiring clients to be in Friend status with their therapist under a real name. See my policy for Social Media at SDC.
If you want to try telemental health sessions with Imei, you need to click on the Forms page and request my informed consent page about the use of Electronic Transmission as a part of the therapy. This form contains everything you need to know about how we conduct online therapy sessions, protect your confidentiality, and inform you about the nature of online therapy issues as well as the sharing of any information through a digital or electronic portal, including email and cell phones.