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TIME Article: “Hello! Your Psychiatrist Will Skype You Now”

TIME ArticleIn case you missed it, here’s yesterday’s TIME article about telemental health: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1974196,00.html

Here’s my comment, posted in that same TIME article:

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.

NIMH funded telemental health studies usually involve much more robust, privacy-secured videoconferencing systems; so no one can hack into your conversation, download your history, hijack your contact numbers, infect your computer with a nasty virus, or impersonate you in the future.

Before claiming that “texting or Skype” is ready for telemental health practice, I think it would be more appropriate for TIME to have gotten a statement directly from companies such as Skype about the security of their systems. No where in this article do I see that Skype has verified this claim by TIME.

Such FCC-regulated statements would let everyone know if Skype, Google talk, Oovoo and other free, public videoconferencing companies online have as yet met federal requirements such as HIPAA compliance before medical professionals are safe or legal for use with patients/clients.

TIME should immediately clarify this issue, and if needed, correct the implication they’ve made with this sensational headline.

No one would want innocent  or confused mental health patients — and uninformed professionals — to incorrectly jump on free, public videoconferencing systems while assuming they are as protected as when NIMH funds a $3 million dollar hospital program with a private, secure videoconferencing platform.

Those are my views. Please share yours below.

NOTE: Time magazine changed the title of this article the very next day. It now reads:

“Telemental Health: Videoconferencing As Psychiatry Aid”

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