5 Misconceptions about Telehealth

by Riley Draper

1. Telehealth is not legal When new technology emerges so does new legislation, so it’s understandable why a lot of people have the misconception that telehealth is not legal. Fortunately, telehealth is completely legal as long as the proper safeguards are in place, many of which are regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Furthermore, not only is telehealth legal, it’s reimbursable in nearly every state through Medicare while more than twenty states have placed a mandate for private insurance companies to reimburse for telehealth services.

2. Telehealth is costly

Online counseling is only going to cost you if you aren’t using it correctly. On WeCounsel, all a provider needs to do to break even on their subscription fee is conduct between 1–2 sessions on the platform each month. Since WeCounsel operates over a completely browser-based system you won’t have to worry about buying external hardware or setting up bulky equipment. All you need is a computer with a camera and a secure internet connection.

3. Telehealth isn’t dependable Videoconferencing has reached a level of dependency that has not existed before. Last Fall, we conducted mock sessions between a former college counselor and a student using WeCounsel’s software and we were amazed by the results. We held a demonstration of these mock sessions in front of the Chattanooga Psychotherapy Association and as we watched the audience something was clicking inside their heads. While we had talked about telehealth before they were just now seeing it for the first time. In the video, the communication is flawless, void of any lag or pixelation.

4. If I’m using telehealth software I can treat anybody, anywhere

Because state licensure and regulations are different in every state providers are not allowed to treat anybody anywhere. Providers can however treat individuals residing in their state, but a different city. This way a provider in Atlanta could provide services to a client in rural Georgia without violating any rules or regulations. Be sure to check with your nearest Telehealth Resource Center (TRC)

5. If my information is on a website, it’s not secure

With internet security and HIPAA compliancy safeguards in place one could make the argument that your personal information or any PHI is often times more secure on an encrypted, HIPAA compliant platform than sitting in a filing cabinet in an office. WeCounsel employs 256 bit SSL encryption while our videoconferencing software employs 128 bit SSL encryption this way your protected health information is completely secure and protected to HIPAA standards.

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Originally published at www.wecounsel.com on February 25, 2014.