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As the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc upon our health systems, digital technology helped redefine access to mental health care across geographic and social barriers. Therapists are increasingly adopting teletherapy technologies to rein in the rising number of mental health cases such as depression and anxiety. While distribution of mental health care delivery between online and offline modes can help enhance the robustness of healthcare systems, shifting your private practice to a virtual environment also comes with its own set of risks. Compliance to the safety, security and privacy guidelines, as mandated by the HIPAA Act, is critical to protect your practice against lawsuits and unnecessary stress, especially since these are testing times. Therefore, it is important to remember that Skype isn’t a HIPAA-compliant technology tool to conduct an online therapy session. Instead, opt for tools that are built to ensure HIPAA compliance. Here are the 7 best HIPAA-compliant technologies for teletherapy to help you with your mental health therapy sessions with the client:
Zoom is a great tool for telehealth and teletherapy! It enables video calls, group video conferences, webinar hosting and recording of sessions. Though Zoom is a free tool, you can opt for a HIPAA and HITECH compliant plan as a healthcare professional or as an organization. This plan helps you offer high-quality care and allows you to collaborate with peers by sharing the screen with them during the session.
Zoom also comes with other exciting features such as launching a poll and reading questions from participants, all of which enhance the group therapy experience in the digital environment.
Doxy.me is another no-fuss tool that is ideal for telehealth services. It does not require you to download the tool, but it is HITECH, GDPR, PHIPA/PIPEDA and HIPAA compliant. So, it’s a win-win for both you and your client.
This tool can help you handle high volumes of patients. It works on a check-in and queue system where patients can check in on the platform once they have arrived before the appointment, and then wait in the queue for their appointment with you. It streamlines the process of appointments and transitioning between clients.
Doxy.me also offers live chat features allowing you to interact with patients before or after the appointment.
Thera-Link is a tool that is specifically customized for mental health professionals. Besides video-conferencing, Thera-Link also consists of tools essential for your practice such as online payments and automated reminders, and directory tools for patients to find the answers to their ‘mental health therapist near me’ queries. You can also customize the virtual waiting room to prevent patients from joining in until the payment is made.
Thera-Link is also efficient in handling large volumes of patients, making it ideal for group or family therapy.
Other features on Thera-Link include note-taking, secure sharing of files, in-session chats and self-scheduling for clients.
SimplePractice is an advanced video-conferencing tool with multiple patient management solutions such as secure file sharing, customizable intake forms and online appointment booking. In addition to being HIPAA-compliant, this tool also provides a built-in insurance processing feature. It allows information exchange between teletherapists and patients before an appointment. SimplePractice ensures that intake documents and other tools are both mobile-friendly and easily accessible on laptops and desktops. Other features include calendar syncing, one-click video calling, screen sharing, autopay options and a widget for appointment booking.
Webex is easily accessible from any device, ensures HIPAA compliance, and allows seamless connection with your clients. It provides features such as screen sharing,webinar hosting and group session hosting. Webex is great for organizations and group practices since it can be used to share documents with peers, host team meetings and trainings while ensuring information security.
Though GoToMeeting was developed as a telecommunication software that is meant for everyone, it still meets the conditions mandated by the HIPAA Act, making it highly suitable for teletherapists. It comes with recording capabilities, screen-sharing, video and conference calling features. GoToMeeting can be accessed from your mobile device or computer, and can be used to host training sessions, webinars, and online conferences with patients and peers.
This is a mobile app that provides telethealth services. It comes with a wide range of features that support interaction between patients and teletherapists, import contact information from a supported EHR to the app, allow patients to request video calls, and view consultation rates before the appointment. Medici is a HIPAA compliant app where mental health professionals can prescribe medicines online, collect fees and utilize real-time translation for over 40 languages.
In addition to the teletherapy tools listed above, you could also sign up as a therapist on platforms like BetterHelp which use secure, HIPAA compliant technology, capable of handling high patient traffic and file sharing. BetterHelp also takes care of the marketing and technology processes at the back-end, so you can just focus on providing the best teletherapy counseling to your patients.