Well, it’s been a while since I’ve shared anything about telehealth. But, I was recently able to sit down with the folks at Fusion Narrate to talk a bit about telehealth and some of the work I was involved in setting up clinical & operational guidelines to ensure HIPPA compliance and patient/client engagement for Georgia’s Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities was part of their telehealth rollout in 2020.
Here’s a little background and an excerpt:
In 2020, many organizations, clinics, and healthcare systems rolled out telehealth and virtual services. At the time, these initiatives rolled out without too much planning. They checked the boxes as “minimally viable”, but they lacked a complete framework or roadmap for the providers & clients/patients.
Here’s an excerpt, but you can check out the full article here:
This can typically be done by starting every session with a statement similar to “Please be aware that we are communicating on a secure platform and that I (we, if multiple providers) am in a secure & private environment. I cannot, however guarantee that your environment is secure. In order to maintain your privacy, please make sure that your environment is secure and that no one can overhear information we may discuss during this session.” In my experience, many clinicians don’t stop to think about making sure the patient’s environment is secure. Taking this step does 2 things: 1) establishes a safe/secure environment for service provision and 2) communicates to the patient that the clinician truly cares for and is sensitive to protecting the privacy of the patient. This helps increase compliance, engagement, and satisfaction with services.
Another area that needs to be in place is that of informed consent. Prior to covid-19, not many providers offered telehealth or virtual health services, so their treatment consent forms lack wording and education for the patient on telehealth and the procedures, information required, etc. So establishing a standardized patient consent form that includes information about what information is stored, how information is gathered, protected, etc., and who has access to that information is critical.
For example, some areas and jurisdictions do not allow the recording of telehealth sessions without explicit informed consent. Some areas have less strict regulations. Any session that is recorded becomes part of the patient’s medical record and must be treated as protected information. Establishing procedures & protocols that both inform patients of their rights and maintain security of the information is critically important.
You can read the whole article fore more insight and tips here.
Do you have any tips or strategies for ensuring HIPPA compliance with telehealth? Share any additional resources that you found helpful in the comments below!
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✅ Train your staff and clinicians to be able to confidently communicate the value your organization provides…
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In short, we help your whole organization become focused on the most important thing in healthcare: people – the people who work for your organization, and the people who your organization treats and serves.
Rafael E. Salazar II, MHS, OTR/L (Rafi) is the Principal Owner of Rehab U Practice Solutions and the host of The Better Outcomes Show. He has experience in a variety of rehab settings, working with patients recovering from a variety of injuries and surgeries. Rafi has worked in a variety of settings, from orthopedic and musculoskeletal rehabilitation, to academia, and even healthcare consulting. He spent the majority of his clinical experience working at Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center, where he was the lead clinician and clinical education coordinator for the outpatient specialty rehab program. In this role, he treated many veterans with chronic pain and helped to establish an interdisciplinary pain management program. He has worked on projects ranging from patient engagement initiatives to marketing communication campaigns to a multi million dollar project assisting the State of Georgia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities transition individuals out of state institutions to community residences, establishing statewide integrated clinical support services, and the department’s telehealth rollout. He also has experience as a core faculty member at Augusta University’s Occupational Therapy Program, as a Licensed Board Member on the GA State OT Board, and he serves on the Board of Directors for NBCOT. He is also a co-counding member of CRA Learning and owner of ProActive Rehabilitation & Wellness, an outpatient multidisciplinary rehabilitation & therapy practice in Augusta, GA. He works to help healthcare clinics and organizations deliver uniquely impactful patient experiences by improving service delivery through training & advisement and through courses & training programs.