Communicating Telehealth Privacy and Security Risks

The HHS Office for Civil Rights issued two resource documents to help explain telehealth privacy and security risks to patients. The documents aim to convey risks in plain language and help reduce risk via basic cyber hygiene practices.

APA Telepsychiatry Resources

Mental health technology and policy is changing rapidly, so APA developed new resources with up-to-date information to inform members’ telepsychiatry practice:

Read more on the telepsychiatry blog.

MHCC Telehealth Resource

The Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) is sharing a telehealth flyer with tips for behavioral health providers related to client readiness and engagement in telehealth.  Also included are links to resources that can help remove barriers to telehealth access and use, particularly for vulnerable groups. The MHCC Telehealth Virtual Resource Center may also be useful.

Updates during COVID-19 Emergency

Maryland Regulations

Applicable regulations are available via a COMAR search.  Type the terms “telemedicine” and “telehealth” separately into the search box to retrieve all currently applicable regulations.  The Maryland Health Care Commission webpage has further considerations and resources.

Evaluating Telehealth Opportunities

Opportunities to work in telepsychiatry are increasing, but the jobs and organizations vary significantly. How can you identify a good opportunity?  Steven Chan, M.D., offers some suggestions In the APA Telepsychiatry Blog to help psychiatrists navigate in this area. Read the full post.

Child & Adolescent Telepsychiatry Toolkit

APA, in partnership with the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, developed a toolkit to address the issues unique to practicing telepsychiatry with children and adolescents. The toolkit features a series of 19 videos from leading child and adolescent psychiatrists on history, setting up practice, reimbursement and legal issues.

CMS Booklet on Telehealth Services (revised).

Expand Your Practice with Telepsychiatry

The APA’s Telepsychiatry page a resource for psychiatrists who want to learn more about integrating telepsychiatry into their practice.  New content focuses on practice and clinical considerations, technology needs, legal issues and more. The “Technical Considerations” section can help with selecting software and addressing potential security concerns related to live videoconferencing. The Telepsychiatry Toolkit provides training for doctors new to telepsychiatry.

AMA Ethical Guidance on Telemedicine

In 2016, the AMA adopted new policy that outlines ethical ground rules for physicians using telemedicine and telehealth technologies to treat patients.  While physicians’ fundamental ethical responsibilities don’t change when providing telemedicine, new technology has given rise to the need for further guidance.  According to the new policy, any physician engaging in telemedicine must:

  • Disclose any financial or other interests in particular telemedicine applications or services
  • Protect patient privacy and confidentiality

The policy outlines guidelines for physicians who either respond to individual health queries electronically or provide clinical services through telemedicine. Broadly, some of these guidelines include:

  • Informing patients about the limitations of the relationship and services provided
  • Encouraging telemedicine patients who have a primary care physician to inform them about their online health consultation and ensure the information from the encounter can be accessed for future episodes of care
  • Recognizing the limitations of technology and taking appropriate steps to overcome them, such as by having another health care professional at the patient’s location conduct an exam or obtaining vital information through remote technologies
  • Ensuring patients have a basic understanding of how telemedicine technologies are used in their care, the limitations of the technologies and ways the information will be used after the patient encounter

For more details, see the full June 13 AMA Wire post.