HIPAA Compliant Mental Health Telehealth

As a mental health professional working in today’s social climate, you’re probably seeing explosive growth in the demand for your services. People are finally beginning to accept that it’s perfectly ok and even necessary to seek the mental health help they deserve and as a provider, that’s great news for you. 

But how will you keep up with this demand? Offering mental health telehealth using an easy and secure platform like HIPAA Video will be a key driver of your success in this landscape. Mental health telehealth means that you can accommodate far more clients, helping you boost your practice’s profit and offering you the scheduling flexibility you’ve always been looking for. Plus, with the uncertainty around the Covid 19 pandemic, mental health telehealth offers both you and your clients the safety of social distancing so there is no disruption to your practice or to your clients’ lives. 

How Mental Health Telehealth can improve your practice

Mental health telehealth, using a simple, cloud-based and compliant platform like HIPAA Video, can improve your
practice by increasing your practice’s business performance, simplifying its overall management and
improving patient relationships in ways that weren’t possible before.

Improve results for clients with frequent check-ins

Mental health telehealth shapes the therapy experience for clients in ways that help them see better results. Mental health telehealth allows you to set up more frequent, brief touchpoints with clients (outside of normal appointment slots) throughout their therapy journey so you can monitor progress more closely. The HIPAA Video platform also offers tools like robust chat functionalities and built-in recording abilities, making it easier for you to keep accurate records of sessions and progress, allowing you to react quickly to client needs. Being able to conduct frequent check-ins can also be particularly helpful with high-risk clients who might be exhibiting suicidal tendencies.

Gain the freedom to practice remotely

Therapists usually must be licensed in the state where the client is receiving the therapy and under the jurisdiction of that state’s mental health licensing board. This means that in-person appointments require both the therapist and client to be physically present in the same state. Mental health telehealth gives you the freedom and flexibility to practice remotely by allowing you to have a license to operate in one state and reside and practice mental health telehealth from a different state/jurisdiction, as long as the client remains in the state in which you are licensed.

Increase access to mental health services

Many mental health clients face barriers to accessing the care they need. Long commuting distances for those in rural areas and lack of transportation options can be among the factors that prevent clients from getting to a mental health provider. Mental health telehealth removes these barriers by bringing the therapy experience directly to clients. HIPAA Video, with its simple-to-adopt mental health telehealth platform provides clients who have issues accessing care with a viable remote solution.

Easily include family members in appointments

Spouses, partners, relatives and friends are often important members of a client’s support network. Mental health telehealth allows therapists and clients the freedom to easily invite support network members to sessions as needed without having to worry about transportation, location or other logistical issues.

Decrease overhead costs

For many therapists, office rental costs have made up a large chunk of their overhead expenses, particularly in larger cities. Mental health telehealth gives you the option to give up your office, maybe even for good. Reducing this huge monthly expenditure can greatly boost profitability while also giving you the comfort of working from your own home or preferred space. HIPAA Video also gives therapists easy options to add assistants to office workflows, decreasing the need for in-person, front desk support, further driving down overhead costs. 

Reduce no-shows

You’ve been there. You have a client in your calendar for Thursday but his calendar has the appointment for Wednesday. Now the client has no alternative time and you have to scramble to fill up the empty slot. HIPAA Video helps you avoid these headaches by providing integrated calendar tools that help with accurate scheduling and automatic appointment reminders, both of which reduce no-shows by up to 30%. 

Improve practice efficiency

Mental health telehealth shouldn’t complicate the day-to-day operations of your practice. The right mental health telehealth platform will provide easy-to-use features that seamlessly integrate into your existing workflows and software tools. HIPAA Video integrates (via API) with EEMR/EHR (Electronic Medical Records) and popular practice management software so you can add HIPAA compliant mental health telehealth easily to your existing office management platform(s).

Ensure your practice grows

According to recent research, the rate that younger people are seeking mental health help has spiked significantly and Millennials and Gen Z are quickly becoming known as the “therapy generations. Digital tools are a lifeline for these newer generations of clients so you need to make sure that your practice aligns to their lifestyle needs. Integrating an easy and secure mental health telehealth platform like HIPAA Video is a no-brainer for making sure that your practice thrives as you attract younger clients into the future.

Open up more of your schedule to appointments

With packed schedules, clients are finding it tough to squeeze in their much-needed therapy appointments and you might have found it just as challenging to accommodate their demanding or unusual schedules. Mental health telehealth gives you the flexibility to hold sessions during times that may normally be considered “off-hours”, opening up more time in your schedule for appointments. This helps you see more clients in a day, increasing your practices’ revenue, not to mention your overall impact within your community.

Adhere to state-mandated Covid-19 social distancing guidelines

Many states now have social distancing rules in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic which make it impossible to see clients in a physical office. Mental health telehealth is a reliable alternative that allows you to continue seeing clients while adhering to these state mandates. HIPAA Video’s platform is cloud-based and easy to use meaning you can get up and running quickly with your clients in a way that’s compliant with state-mandated guidelines. 

What are the benefits of mental health telehealth for clients?

Clients do a lot of tough work in therapy and it can often be unpleasant and stressful. The last thing you want to do is add complexity to their lives by deciding to use a complicated mental health telehealth platform. HIPAA Video provides benefits to clients by removing any additional burdens for clients that might get in the way of progress through a platform that everyone, no matter how tech savvy, will find easy to use. 

Offer scheduling and location flexibility

Mental health telehealth can be a dream come true for busy clients. They no longer find themselves stuck in commutes to their appointments which frees up valuable time. Plus the time they win back can go towards actual appointments. They can also be in the comfort of their own home or any other environment they choose so long as they have their preferred device handy.

Provide patients with safety during the Covid-19 pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced patients to balance their increasing mental health needs with the need to stay safe and socially distant. HIPAA Video’s cloud-based teletherapy platform provides a simple interface that requires no training or downloads and works with any device and operating system, so patients can easily transition to teletherapy without any headaches.

Avoid breaks in therapy

Just because you go out of town doesn’t mean your clients have to skip their sessions. Since mental health telehealth offers you the flexibility to work remotely, your clients also benefit by avoiding breaks in their therapy journey.  

Stay clear of schedule mishaps

Scheduling mishaps can cause major disruptions to your client’s well-being as well to their progress. HIPAA Video provides integrated calendar tools and alerts that help clients avoid schedule mishaps or conflicts, ensuring that clients continue to reap the benefits of therapy.

What are the challenges of mental health telehealth?

Results of randomized controlled trials indicate high client acceptance and positive outcomes with this method of delivering psychotherapy. Nonetheless, psychotherapists wishing to deliver psychotherapy by telemedicine face a number of challenges. 

Difficulty conveying empathy through screens

Teletherapy offers a host of benefits for both providers and patients. Though most therapists agree on the value of using Teletherapy, a key challenge they grapple with is being able to effectively convey empathy through a computer screen. After all, many of the subtle facial cues of communication that convey empathy can get lost through a static screen. 

This concern is inspiring therapists to rethink their “bedside manner” as they turn toward teletherapy. While speaking through a screen can’t ever replicate a face-to-face discussion, there are certain basic tips to consider as you begin to conduct teletherapy sessions.

  • Practice in front of the web camera: Speaking to a camera doesn’t
    come naturally to everyone. You might find it helpful to have a few practice sessions to get used to being on camera before fully diving into
    teletherapy.
  • Pay even more attention to eye contact: It’s easy to get distracted
    when you’re sitting in front of your computer so it’s even more important
    that you pay attention to maintaining eye contact when speaking and
    listening through the computer camera.
  • Maintain the right environment: You’ve put effort into making your physical office a safe, comfortable and relaxing space for your patients. Take the same approach with your teletherapy location. Maintain a background that is professional, uncluttered and calm and keep yourself well-lit and visible during sessions.

Lack of patient privacy at home

Teletherapy provides patients with the benefit of participating in therapy sessions from the comfort of their own home. But not everyone has a comfortable or private home environment. Many patients struggle to find a quiet, private space in their home so therapy conversations are often within earshot of parents, roommates, partners, children and others. 

In these situations, patients may end up logging into sessions from locations with poor internet signals such as their cars, garages, outdoor decks and patios which can result in choppy or dropped sessions. For these patients, therapists can open up extended teletherapy hours, providing patients with the option to schedule their sessions during less than ideal times that allow for more privacy with access to a strong internet signal.

Reimbursement / coverage parity with in-person therapy

Currently, there is no federal statute that requires payers to reimburse mental health telehealth sessions at the same rate as in-person or even to cover these services at all. So it’s up to each  state to issue parity laws in order to guarantee that providers will receive the same payment for mental health telehealth sessions as for in-person sessions. Prior to COVID-19, only five states had implemented telehealth parity laws. While an additional 21 states expanded telehealth services through COVID-19 emergency orders, only 13 required parity. Therapists may need to wait until the Covid-19 pandemic has passed to see how this parity will be addressed on a more long-term basis. 

Common mental health telehealth FAQs

How does mental health telehealth work with insurance?

Reimbursement across Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance varies. Please check with your state’s office of mental health website for more detailed information and resources. Additionally, the Center for Connected Health Policy semi-annual State Telehealth Laws and Reimbursement Policies report offers the most current summary guide of Medicaid provider manuals, applicable state laws, and telehealth-related regulations for all fifty states and the District of Columbia.

My clients are all currently residing all over the United States due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Will mental health telehealth allow me to continue providing services to them?

Generally speaking, your client must participate in the therapy session from the state/jurisdiction where you have a license. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, many state licensing boards have loosened certain practicing restrictions which may provide you with more flexibility in terms of where your clients can be located when receiving therapy. We recommend that you check with your state’s licensing board to understand the specific changes. 

HIPAA Video capabilities for mental health telehealth

For The Health Of Your Practice

For the Health of your Patients