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Telemental Health: Logistical Considerations

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This section includes information about how to get started with telemental health in your area of practice, resources and items for staff, clinicians, patients, and their families, documentation guidelines and considerations during virtual health visits, and well-being for telemental health users.

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Getting Started: Planning

  1. Assess the various facets of telehealth care needs of your patients and those of your practice
  2. Develop a detailed, strategic plan

Choose a Secure/HIPAA Compliant Platform

    1. Questions to ask before determining a platform:
      • Is the platform/tele application easily accessed and utilized by providers/staff AND patients/caregivers?
      • What type of technology does your patient have access to?
      • Do they own a smart phone or another device that can help them to connect with you, and do they know how to use them?
    2. Next, obtain a Business Associate Agreement (BAA)
      • Required by all entities to have a signed contract with any business associate who may come into contact with PHI
    3. Train providers and support staff on how to use platform
      • Consider identifying a super user within your practice to aid patients with access/trouble shooting platform
    4. Consider offering a practice “session” for clients (logging in, adjusting volume, screen, transferring call/hand off to scheduler (if applicable), signing off)




Building a Telemental Health Program

Overall Tips for Building Your Program

  • Clearly define telehealth interventions and the context in which they are implemented
  • Explore in more detail what types of visits and conditions are and are not appropriate for telehealth
  • Select appropriate outcomes—those that are clinically important and linked to the intervention, instead of those that are most easily measured

Other Aspects of the Process to Consider in Advance:


Safety/Crisis Information

Resources to include with intake packet:
Telehealth and Patient Safety

Safety Tips:

  • Establish escalation protocols
  • Encourage pre-charting of upcoming patient visits
  • Quality assurance plan: hold patient huddles, discuss with others on the team
  • Tutorials of telehealth basics

Crisis Resources:

Technology Considerations

  • Establish how to reconnect if you are disconnected
  • Always document the patient’s physical location
  • Have a back up plan (for example, if video doesn’t work, to use audio)

Self-Care tips for Telehealth Providers

Help for providers: Well-being in the virtual health environment

Learn more about telehealh fatigue including ways to prevent and reduce strain. For example:

  • Take Breaks
  • Talk to someone
  • Switch up your schedule

Tips for camera use

  • Hide or minimize your face
  • Be aware of your time
  • Get comfortable