In light of the recent coronavirus there has been so much talk in the therapy world about using Telemental Health/Telemedicine as a back up plan should clients become ill or quarantined.
I started my Telemedicine journey a little over a year ago as I began my plan to relocate my practice across the state from the twin cities metro area of Minnesota aallll the way “up north” to Duluth. I wanted to give my clients more options for what might be right for them as I transitioned. Some clients used it as a way to bridge the gap between in person sessions and when their new therapist had openings for service. Other clients found that it was their ideal way to engage and receive therapy – so they stated on permanently as Telemedicine clients.
Now there are a TON of terms for what we know basically as the therapist being at one location and providing services to clients at a second location – Telemedicine, Telemental Health, E-therapy, virtual therapy, online therapy – wheew! I have chosen to call what I do Telemedicine, as it is the larger umbrella of services that Telemental Health falls under AND it is what my state statute uses to describe this service.
After diving into to Telemedicine, I have to let you know...I LOVE it! I often find that clients can be more relaxed in their home and it can be easier to get into the tough stuff more quickly as clients are surrounded by an environment that is known and comfortable to them. I also find that it is super helpful for homework and prompts. There is no more barriers such as leaving a project in their bedroom, or if there is something I am wanting them to do (like put a quote on their mirror or post-it on their door) they can do it in real time!
As I am hearing all this conversation about Telemental Health I honestly started to become a bit anxious. As a therapist who spent over three months gearing up, researching, training, helping to develop policies and procedures, and helping clients understand exactly what this service was – I was hoping that therapists understood it was SO MUCH MORE than finding a HIPAA complaint online platform, turning on the camera, and having a session. Especially since every now and then you hear a comment like “I can use Skype right?”
So here’s the tip of the iceberg of what you will need to get a Telemental Health practice up and running:
Whoa. Now, if you are like YES! I know exactly what you are talking about and I am all covered for these things – that is amazing! You are so ready!
If this list freaks you out – you probably have some work to do to get your practice ready. This is why I developed a FREE e-course about getting your Telemedicine practice up and running including a FREE informed consent template, Telemedicine Resource List (complete with a comparisons of platforms that are HIPAA compliant), and a handout I use to explain and orient clients to Telemedicine services. Does this some like something you need?
Take me to the course!
Also check out the Lessons From The Playroom podcast episode 32 to get you inspired for how to use play therapy in your work with Telemedicine!
Lastly, this free mini e-course is for informational purposes only and does not offer any continuing education credit. It is solely my opinion, which I have gathered through trainings and real world experience providing Telemedicine services. It is to help you understand if Telemedicine could be right for your practice and some of the things that are necessary to have in place before you start. Imagine curling up with a cup of coffee to chat with one of your friends to see if Telemental Health services are right for you - and that friend just so happens to have a TON of details, templates, and resources for how to get your Telemental Health practice up and running!
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I'm Ann Meehan, an LPCC,