This document outlines my policies related to use of technology-assisted service such as internet or telephone based therapy. Technology-assisted service includes mental health care delivery, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, transfer of client data using interactive audio, video, and/or data communications.
Please read it to understand how I use technology-assisted service in my practice and the potential benefits and possible risks involved. If you have any questions about anything within this document, please let me know and we can discuss your concerns during a session.
Services, Security, and Confidentiality
Services: While most of the work I do is in-person in my office, I do offer technology-assisted services that include phone sessions and audio and video sessions via Zoom. Zoom services may be accessed through their website or apps that are available on the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.
Security Measures: I make every effort to ensure that any technology-assisted therapy that I offer is secure. To this end, the technology that I employ utilizes encryption at least at the 128-bit level. I do not collect any identifying digital data from the sessions such as recordings, transcripts, or passive data. In spite of these efforts, there are always attendant risks to privacy since the audio and video data from our sessions may be transmitted over the internet.
Back-up Plans: If for some reason our session is interrupted, I will make every effort to reconnect and resume the session. If for some reason this is not possible, we can always fall back to phone is we are using Zoom, or make arrangements via text if we are using the phone.
Confidentiality: The laws that protect the confidentiality of your medical information also apply to technology-assisted service. As such, you understand that the information disclosed by you during the course of therapy is generally confidential. However, there are both mandatory and permissive exceptions to confidentiality including, but not limited to: reporting child, elder, and dependent adult abuse, or expressed threats of violence towards an ascertainable victim. (See also Client Agreement and HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices for more details of confidentiality.)
Medical Records: You have the right to access your medical information and copies of medical records in accordance with Texas and Federal law.
Risks and Benefits
Potential Risks: There are potential risks and consequences from technology-assisted service. These may include, but are not limited to, the possibility, despite reasonable efforts that I may make, that: the transmission of confidential information could be disrupted or distorted by technical failures; the transmission of confidential information could be interrupted by unauthorized persons; the electronic storage of confidential information could be accessed by unauthorized persons and/or misunderstandings may more easily occur.
Results: Technology-assisted services and care may not yield the same results nor be as complete as face-to-face service. I will determine on an on-going basis whether the condition being treated is appropriate for technology-assisted services. If I determine that you would be better served by another form of psychotherapeutic service such as face-to-face service I will discuss this with you and we will explore options for your treatment. There are potential risks and benefits associated with any form of psychotherapy and your condition may not improve and in some cases may even worsen.
Potential Benefits: You may benefit from technology-assisted service, but results cannot be guaranteed or assured. The benefits of technology-assisted service may include, but are not limited to: finding a greater ability to express thoughts and emotions; improved sense of well-being, improved self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-awareness; avoiding transportation and travel difficulties; and minimized time constraints.
If you need or desire further information related to these policies, or if you have any questions about these policies, please feel free to contact me. If you do not feel comfortable discussing it with me, you can always contact the Texas Department of State Health Services Board Professional Licensing and Certification Unit at (800) 942-5540 and they will review the services I have provided.
Changes to the Terms of These Policies
As new technology develops and the Internet changes, I reserve the right to update these policies as I deem necessary. The new policies will be available upon request and on my web site.
This notice was last updated on September 30, 2019.