Therapy in the time of Coronavirus / COVID-19
Interesting times we live in right now / at the time of this posting with Coronavirus / COVID-19 and public-health measures by the local, state, and federal governments. Telehealth / Telepsychology / Telemedicine / Telemental Health is getting attention as healthcare providers like me balance social-distancing / public-health guidelines with essential / needed treatment for our patients. We can define this technology-assisted treatment as video visits in which the provider and the patient are not in the same physical space like the traditional office. The provider is typically in the work office or the home office while the patient is somewhere outside of the office, for example, at home. Insurance companies may not cover these video visits though policies seem to be changing at least temporarily with the Coronavirus / Covid-19.
My experience with video visits: In my previous job as the one and only Pain Psychologist with Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, I worked with patients from all over the islands – Oahu, Big Island (Hawaii), and Maui. Since I lived and worked on Oahu, video visits and telephone appointments were helpful for neighbor-island patients and even on-island patients. My patients liked the geographic flexibility; no commute time to a physical appointment; scheduling flexibility given childcare, school, or work needs. There were possible factors for us to consider: interaction / communication differences compared to in-person visits; technical difficulties and troubleshooting; need for quiet and private space on the patient's end; necessity of a data plan or Internet service and a compatible device.
Back to here and now: In my private practice at PNW Happy Healthy, PLLC, I offer video visits to patients in Washington state and Hawaii as well as in-person office visits in Tacoma, Washington. I use the video visit platform from SimplePractice, my electronic health record system. My backup is Spruce Health, which I use for telephone, messaging, and faxing, and my backup backup is Google hangouts meet through G Suite. Note: I have a signed Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with all three companies re: Protected Health Information.
Let me know if you’re interested in connecting! In person and/or through video visit!