Access to quality healthcare for those diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is challenging. OCD is the fourth most diagnosed condition in psychiatry with a prevalence of 1 in 42 adults. There are not enough clinicians offering evidenced based treatment to meet the need. Several empirical studies demonstrate the efficacy of internet based counseling for OCD. 1,2 I offer telehealth for the residents of the State of Florida. Telehealth and video conferencing are viable alternatives for those who do not have access to an OCD and anxiety disorder specialist.
The benefits of telehealth typically include:
- Convenience to healthcare access from one’s home or office;
- Savings in time and money from no need to travel;
- Less time away from school for children and adults;
- Control over the types of services desired;
- Availability of specialists when none can be accessed locally.
In the State of Florida, “ ‘Telehealth’ means the use of synchronous or asynchronous telecommunications technology by a healthcare provider to provide health care services, including, but not limited to, assessment, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, and monitoring of a patient; transfer of medical data; patient and professional health-related education; public health services; and health administration. This term does not include audio-only telephone calls, e-mail messages, or facsimile transmissions (Florida Code 456.47)”.
Synchronous telecommunications refer to live video conferencing. This can be accomplished between therapist and client or in a group setting. Telehealth can be provided when face-to-face meetings may not be possible or practical. Frank Morelli, LMHC is recognized as an expert telemental health clinician earning the Telemental Health Training Certificate in 2020.
Protected Health Information (PHI) involves the exchange of medical data. Federal and state law require robust safeguards for PHI. Therefore, a HIPAA compliant teleconferencing platform is essential. This provides the best method for portal-to-portal encryption of data and meets the federal standards for technology use to deliver health related services. Social media platforms like Skype and Facetime are not HIPAA compliant.
My office is also completely electronic. There are no paper charts to misplace. I use Valant: a premier practice management and behavioral Electronic Health Records (EHR) solution for handling PHI. By means of a secure patient portal, clients can exchange information with me by e-mail, obtain records, view appointments, make appointments, upload and download clinical forms, and more. ICANotes is HIPPA compliant.
For telehealth to be a satisfying experience, the user should consider the following:
- A computer or mobile device with the latest hardware and operating system;
- An internal or external webcam and microphone or teleconferencing headset;
- Adequate Internet bandwidth with password protected Wi-Fi or ethernet direct connect capability;
- Antivirus software, and firewall activation for real-time protection against hacks and intrusion.
Trouble accessing an OCD and anxiety disorder specialist in Florida? Concerns about how your records may be handled? Telehealth could be the right solution for you. Please consider contacting me. Call today for a confidential consultation. I am happy to answer your questions.
1Andersson, E., Enander, J., Andrén, P., Hedman, E., Ljótsson, B., Hursti, T., Bergström, J., Kaldo, V., Lindefors, N., Andersson, G., & Rück, C. (2012). Internet-based cognitive behaviour therapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Psychological medicine, 42(10), 2193–2203. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291712000244
2Lenhard, F., Andersson, E., Mataix-Cols, D., Rück, C., Vigerland, S., Högström, J., Hillborg, M., Brander, G., Ljungström, M., Ljótsson, B., Serlachius, E. (2017). Therapist-guided, internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy for adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 56(1), 10-19. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2016.09.515