Informed Consent & Telemental Health

Posted April 16, 2013

As with mental health services delivered face-to-face, clinicians working through videoconferencing must obtain Informed Consent.  The consent must be obtained at the start of services and in real-time.  Local, regional and national laws for consent must be followed and clinicians must fully understand requirements.  If written consent is required, then electronic signatures may be used, assuming there are no restrictions in the relevant jurisdiction.

The consent form used for videoconferencing must include all the information that would be included if the session were face-to-face, such as the nature of the service, record keeping, potential risks, confidentiality, mandatory reporting, and billing.  In addition, the consent must contain information about videoconferencing.  The American Telemedicine Association recommends that this include limits of confidentiality with electronic communication, emergency plan, record keeping, potential for technical failure, coordination of care with other professionals, protocols for contact between sessions, and conditions for which a referral may be made for in-person treatment.  The consent must also be presented in a language easily understood by the patient.

SecureVideo cannot provide legal advice and strongly encourages providers to consult with their professional association, legal counsel, and the American Telemedicine Association for more information.

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