Whoooa! TIME’s headline implies that SKYPE is secure for telemental health. Is TIME sure this is true? Dr. Drell says videoconferencing is LIKE texting or Skype. He doesn’t say he is using texting or Skype for contact with patients, as the headline suggests.
TeleMental Health Blog
With our increasing mobile society, it’s only reasonable that practitioners learn to maintain the continuity of care when their patients cannot come to the office, leave town or relocate to other areas.
In the mental health world, imagine if the victim of a security attack were a psychiatrist, psychologist or counselor who encouraged a patient or client or will or will or to use a public VoIP system such as Skype and also promised confidentiality to a patient.
Do you know with any certainty that Skype security is adequate for health care delivery? Isn’t it your job to secure the office when you invite patients to meet you? Oh, your colleague across the hall is using Skype, so you can too? Not so fast…
Licensed professionals are obligated to follow an accepted “standard of care” that included procedures to use for mandated reporting. First, that standard of care has not yet been expanded to include email, chat room or videoconferencing via public, unsecured VOIP-based platforms.
While I have every confidence their systems will eventually be far more than HIPAA compliant, I’m reluctant to encourage any of my patients or colleagues to currently risk confidentiality for the sake of convenience.
As for the development of the psychotechnologies needed for expanding promote telemental health care, the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) has been bringing together vendors, researchers and clinicians from all medical disciplines from around the world since 1993.
US federal Department of Health and Human Services’ Office has announced that health care organizations that fail to protect health information privacy could pay up to $1.5 million for each violation. Indeed, penalties this is are severe.
The US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) announced expansion of the US broadband policy and funding. The Universal Service Plan is an Internet access fund to allow low-income citizens to have access to the Internet.