Is Telehealth Effective?
Yes, research studies show that for most outpatient mental health treatment, telehealth via video conferencing is equally as effective as services provided in a traditional office. Telehealth is not intended for providing help in emergency or crisis situations. Please see our Crisis Numbers page for information about what to do in a crisis.
So you are saying, a therapist can video chat with my 3-year-old and it will magically change my kid’s behavior? My kid can’t sit still to FaceTime with Grandma, let alone a stranger. You’ve gotta be kidding.
It makes sense that you are skeptical. I will greet your child, but I will not be delivering the service directly to your child. The specialized treatment I offer is unique and highly effective because I teach the caregiver(s) the expert therapy and behavior management skills themselves, so that they can apply them with their own kid during the appointments, as well as, throughout the week. The caregiver(s) application of the therapy skills daily makes treatment work faster than a child spending 1 hour/week with me (research shows this is true whether treatment is offered in person or telehealth). Me giving the caregiver(s) the therapeutic skills means that the gains made in therapy are more likely to stick after treatment, because the therapy skills continue to be part of the child’s life long after they stop treatment. Along the way, I am the caregiver(s)' teacher, cheerleader, and supportive coach. After teaching the skills directly to the caregivers, I coach them live via webcam and an earpiece during real interactions with their child, until the skills are like second nature to both the caregiver and the child.
So the specialized kind of treatment you offer - PCIT - does research show it actually is effective via telehealth?
Yes - even when provided in a real regular office PCIT requires the therapist coach the parent in the therapy skills from another room via video or a 1 way mirror and an earpiece. There has already been a randomized controlled trial comparing the outcomes of PCIT provided in a physical office versus internet delivered PCIT. Most outcomes were comparable for both treatment groups. Those children who showed the most improvement after treatment in both groups were said to have an “excellent response”. The number of children with an “excellent response” to treatment was significantly higher in the telehealth PCIT group compared to the in office group. Parents in both groups reported very high treatment satisfaction. The parents of the children in the telehealth PCIT group reported significantly fewer barriers to getting treatment.
What equipment do I need for telehealth?
To participate in Telehealth appointments from your home, you need one of the following devices:
- Laptop computer with built-in webcam and speakers
- Tablet device with built-in webcam and speakers
- Smartphone (Note: To use a smartphone, you must first download Telehealth by SimplePractice - available for iOS or Android in the app store)
- You will also need an internet connection that is at least 10mbps. For optimal results, a reliable, high speed internet connection with a bandwidth of at least 10 mbps will minimize connection issues and provide the best quality.
- For any caregivers seeking behavioral/emotional help for a child, by your second appointment you will need a wireless earpiece (like a bluetooth earpiece available on Amazon for around $30, AirPods, or a bluetooth headset) that can connect either to the device that you will be using for the webcam, or separately to your cell phone. If two caregivers will be participating (recommended if the child has two caregivers for consistency and faster treatment results), having two earpieces is helpful. If there is a set of two earpieces, sometimes parents will each wear 1 of the 2 so they can both hear what I am saying, but the child cannot.
You are invited to schedule a 30 minute free technology “test” run for us to try out your equipment without worrying about it eating into your appointment time. There might be some annoying trouble shooting to do, but families often find troubleshooting the technology as needed less time consuming that driving to and from appointments on a weekly basis.
For more information about logging in to your first telehealth appointment, please explore this link:
Is video conferencing private and secure? Why can’t we just use Facetime/Skype?
My Telehealth Office - I pay monthly to use a HIPAA secure video conferencing platform that never records our interactions nor stores them in anyway. Our audio and video is encrypted while traveling back and forth between us, so others cannot access it. I use this secure platform instead of Facetime and Skype, because it is very important to me to protect your privacy.
My Phone Line - I pay monthly for a HIPAA secure phone system so that my phone line is encrypted from my office to my phone service provider. Any voicemail messages left me are stored in a HIPAA secure, protected server with restricted access. Please note, I cannot guarantee the security of the phone connection on your end from your phone’s provider to you or you to your phone provider. If you have concerns about the security of the call on your end, please save sensitive private information for communicating during video appointments in my telehealth office - where data shared is encrypted both ways.
I Want to Learn More About The Security of Our Communication and My Information in the Portal
Simple Practice is the company that I pay for use of their HIPAA secure telehealth platform, secure records storage, and secure messaging / document sharing. Their servers are protected with bank level security (better than a lot of regular offices / paper filing systems). Please follow the link below to read more about security at Simple Practice, as well as, how you can protect your login information on your end.