Health Psych Maine, LLC

Where Mind & Body Meet:   Specializing in Health Psychology & Anxiety

2 Big Sky Lane, Waterville, ME  04901  |  Phone:  (207) 872-5800  |  Fax:  (207) 872-5888  |   www.hpmaine.com

 

Health Psych Maine (HPM) Electronic Communication Policy

In order to maintain clarity regarding our use of electronic modes of communication during your treatment, HPM psychologists have prepared the following policy. Various forms of electronic communication are common in our society and often may be useful or preferable, even in professional relationships.  Many of these modes of communication, however, put your privacy at risk and can be inconsistent with the law and with the standards of our profession. Consequently, this policy has been prepared to assure the security and confidentiality of your treatment and its consistency with ethics and the law. 

Unless you and your psychologist come to a mutual agreement, email communication and text messaging will only be used for administrative purposes, limited to information such as setting and changing appointments, billing matters, or other related issues.  Generally, such matters can be addressed directly with our front desk staff.  If you have any questions about this policy, please feel free to discuss with your psychologist.

Email & Text Communications

You and your psychologist can discuss and mutually decide whether to use email or texting regarding other kinds of information such as homework assignments, basic homework logs, or resources that may be of use.

Other than the above, please do not email your psychologist about other clinical matters because email is not a secure way to contact your therapist and may not be checked regularly.  If you need to discuss a clinical matter, please wait so it can be discussed during your next therapy session or contact your psychologist via telephone.

Social Media

HPM psychologists do not communicate with, or contact, any of their clients through social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.  If your psychologist discovers that they have accidentally established an online relationship with you, they will cancel that relationship.  These types of casual social contacts can create significant security risks for you.

HPM psychologists participate on various social networks, but not in their professional capacity. If you have an online presence, there is a possibility that you may encounter your psychologist by accident. If that occurs, please discuss it with your psychologist during your time together.  HPM psychologists believe that any communications with clients online have a high potential to compromise the professional relationship and request that you not contact them in this way. HPM psychologists will not respond and will terminate any online contact no matter how accidental.

Websites

Health Psych Maine (HPM) has a website that you are free to access.  It is used for professional reasons to provide information to others about our practice. You are welcome to access and review the information that we have on the website and, if you have questions about it, we can discuss these during your therapy sessions.

Web Searches

In this digital age, you might choose to gather information about your psychologist through a web search. There is an incredible amount of information available about individuals on the internet, much of which may actually be known to that person and some of which may be inaccurate or unknown. If you encounter any information about your psychologist through web searches, or in any other fashion for that matter, please discuss this with your therapist during your time together so that you both can deal with it and its potential impact on your treatment.

Use of Video-Telepsychology

Another form of communication is the use of various platforms for video-telepsychology (Vsee and Doxy.me). The same laws that protect the privacy and confidentiality of medical information in our sessions also apply to telepsychology. These platforms allow two parties to place a call without the information passing through a third party, meaning the information is more secure. The platforms use encryption that meets the U.S. Government’s standards in terms of privacy; i.e., adheres to HIPAA (see https://vsee.com/hipaa and https://help.doxy.me/en/articles/95911-is-doxy-me-secure ) and meets the encryption standard called FIPS 140-2, which increases privacy for consumers.

One potential HIPPA related weakness with telepsychology platforms is that HIPAA requires software to keep logs of protected health information that can be accessed if it is suspected that someone may have misused the information.  Because these platforms do not manage this data on their servers (aside from basic user identifiers), VSee and doxy.me are limited in their ability to provide this.  An additional concern is that, although the audiovisual calls do not pass through the VSee or doxy.me computers themselves, they do coordinate the calls so that they would know which accounts connected for a call and at what time.

I understand that the rules and regulations which apply to the practice of Psychology in the state of Maine also apply to telepsychology, including information in the HIPPA-Outpatient Therapy Agreement I signed during my initial evaluation. I have the right to withhold or withdraw my consent to the use of telepsychology during the course of my care at any time. I understand that, in this event, my clinician will work with me to find an alternative form of care.

I have read and understand the information provided and am aware of aforementioned risks. I hereby give my informed consent for the use of telepsychology in my care.

Electronic Communication Policy Revised 04/15/2020

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