The physical distancing measures intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have caused many health providers to transition to providing services remotely. CRPO has developed the following guidance to help you choose an appropriate communications platform to use in your electronic practice.
Here is a PDF summary of key product features and details to look for when assessing a communications platform for use in your electronic practice. These features/details work synergistically with your devices and your information practices to promote the privacy of your clients’ personal health information.
Bear in mind:
- This is not an exhaustive list. CRPO makes no guarantee regarding any product, even those that possess the features/details described below.
- Registrants are expected to take steps that are reasonable in the circumstances to protect client personal health information against theft, loss and unauthorized use or disclosure, whether services are provided face-to-face or in an electronic practice. There are a number of ways to accomplish this – your experience, competence with technology, and clinical judgment can help you identify appropriate tools and resources to get started with electronic practice.
- Protecting client personal health information isn’t just about a platform, it’s about a beginning-to-end process that includes consideration of the following, among other things:
- your IT tools and devices and the steps you take to safeguard the information on those
- the apps, software and platforms and how you use them
- the steps you, and others in your setting, take when handling a client’s personal health information
See the Electronic Security Practices Self-Assessment, which will help you evaluate the resources you use in your electronic practice.
- Every communications platform will have its benefits and limitations. It’s best if you have some experience with a platform before you use it in your work with clients. Consider testing a platform with colleagues, friends or family before using it with clients.
- Before you engage a client in therapy using a communications platform:
- you must assess whether it is appropriate to engage the client in this manner. See the Electronic Practice Guideline for more information
- you must obtain their informed consent. The information you relay to the client must address the risks and limitations of the platform you intend to use while providing services to the client. See Standard 3.4: Electronic Practice and the Guideline for more information.