Remote Services Risks, Benefits, Safeguards, and Privacy.
The Potential benefits. There are some unique benefits and also some risks to remote services. Home training offers greatly increased convenience and access to treatment, reduced travel, and may reduce the overall cost of a course of treatment. Telephone and online services offer ease of access.
The Potential risks. Potential risks of remote services include less clinician control, possible misunderstandings, confidentiality, turn-around time, and the risks of home training neurofeedback.
There is inherently less clinician control over remote services. The situation is similar to other self-administered treatment such as prescribed medication or home medical procedures. The client or responsible family members assume responsibility to carry out treatment as recommended. Direct clinician observation of treatment and treatment results are limited or absent.
Possible misunderstandings. The client should be aware that misunderstandings are possible with text-based communication such as email and even with video-conferencing. Email messages may not be received. Instructions for treatment or treatment results may be misunderstood.
Confidentiality. There are limitations to confidentiality when services are provided remotely. Email could be intercepted or misdirected. I may return calls using a cell phone that is less secure than a “land-line.” My staff or the answering service will hear telephone messages. Your family or others may view information stored on your computer.
Turnaround time. Remote services involve delays because you are not in the office for services. We probably will not review online communication immediately. You can generally reach me at any time by calling the office number, but there may be a delay due to my being with clients, or after hours.
Operant conditioning of EEG (neurofeedback) is classified as an experimental intervention, for which there is increasing published evidence of efficacy and safety. Home training is a new way of delivering Neurofeedback. Some half-dozen companies are offering FDA compliant home-training systems, which may be in continual development. You can expect the systems and their use to evolve with advancing experience.
Safeguards. We take specific reasonable precautions against the potential risks. I am generally available in emergencies. The home-training software is password protected. You can take steps also. Avoid using full names in email subject lines or text that also contain personal information. Use caution with financial information online. Extra safeguards should be considered when others share the computer. A password can be required for access to your computer or encryption can be used.
Privacy of protected health information (PHI). Click here to view our PHI privacy notice. Clients using remote psychological services for clinical reasons have the same rights to privacy of protected health information (PHI), as do other clinical clients. Personally identifiable health information is protected by federal statue. For the sake of simplicity, generally we will accord all clients the same protections.