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New mental health video conferencing guidelines announced

May 30, 2013
Healthcare IT By LW Consulting Inc.

New guidelines have been released regarding the ways in which online technologies can be used in administering care in the mental health sector. It comes courtesy of the American Telemedicine Association, although its efforts are the result of individuals across a spectrum of associations and organizations with this objective in mind. The guidelines explore ways in which healthcare strategic planning can include solutions that involve instant communication as part of the broader guidelines previously established by the group. 

The 21-page document details practices intended to ensure security of information and confidentiality, while enhancing consultation experiences. Areas examined in depth include means of verification for both the medical provider and the patient, as well as the various settings in which a video conference can take place, including the documentation of the different participants of a conference. Conditions in which a patient can be seen via conference when medical staff is not present are also discussed, addressing one of the most prominent potential uses of this kind of technology.

Though the guidelines caution that providers should determine how appropriate this approach is to each patient, it also asserts the overall usefulness of using live systems.

"To date, no studies have identified any patient subgroup that does not benefit from, or is harmed by, mental healthcare provided through remote videoconferencing," the authors say. 

Taking on a knowledgeable hospital consultant can help different facilities make the best judgments in seeking high quality healthcare strategic planning practices. It's possible that the more organized policies like this appear, the more a usable response to them can be created.