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Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, technology, health care, and philosophy

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ethical Framework for the Use of Technology in Mental Health

Online Therapy Institute

Here is an excerpt from their resource page:

A competent practitioner working online will always adhere at least the following minimum standards and practices in order to be considered to be working in an ethical manner.

Practitioners have a sufficient understanding of technology.

Technology basics are required for practitioners who choose to deliver therapeutic services via technology. Practitioners will possess a basic understanding of technology as the technology relates to delivery of services

  • Encryption: Practitioners understand how to access encrypted services to store records and deliver communication. Records storage can be hosted on a secure server with a third-party, stored on the practitioner’s hard drive utilizing encrypted folders or stored on an external drive that is safely stored.
  • Backup Systems: Records and data that are stored on the practitioner’s hard drive are backed up either to an external drive or remotely via the Internet.
  • Password Protection: Practitioners take further steps to ensure confidentiality of therapeutic communication and other materials by password protecting the computer, drives and stored files or communication websites.
  • Firewalls: Practitioners utilize firewall protection externally or through web-based programs.
  • Virus Protection: Practitioners protect work computers from viruses that can be received from or transmitted to others, including clients.
  • Hardware: Practitioners understand the basic running platform of the work computer and know whether or not a client’s hardware/platform is compatible with any communication programs the practitioner uses.
  • Software: Practitioners know how to download and operate software and assist clients with the same when necessary to the delivery of services.
  • Third-party services: Practitioners utilize third-party services that offer an address and phone number so that contact is possible via means other than email. This offers a modicum of trust in the third-party utilized for such services as backup, storage, virus protection and communication.