At times we can get stuck focussing on the negative aspects of our relationship, seeing all the things that aren’t working and identifying
all the things that our partner doesn’t do, instead of seeing what is working and the things we appreciate in our partner.
As a result of COVID-19 and physical distancing measures, many people are now using telehealth or video conferencing to see their
psychologist. As a team we have been fortunate in this transition in that our psychologists are familiar with online therapy and from a
technical perspective it was a smooth transition. However, we have noticed that online psychology has been different in the past month for
clients transitioning online for the first time versus what online therapy was like for our clients online prior to COVID-19.
On March 12, the World Health Organisation formally declared coronavirus a pandemic. Australian authorities are focussed on limiting the
community spread to (1) enable the healthcare system to appropriately respond and (2) avoid widespread illness for as long as possible,
until a vaccine is available. The development, testing, and production of a vaccine is likely to take some time, although clinical trials
are set to commence shortly. There are also concerns that the spread of COVID-19 may coincide with the seasonal influenza outbreak, creating
even greater risk for vulnerable populations e.g., older adults and people with existing medical conditions. This week the Australian
government announced $100 million in funding for telehealth services as part of the $2.4 billion package to combat coronavirus.
Telehealth refers to when a health professional (e.g., psychologist, doctor) consults with a patient via video call. Sometimes referred to
as online therapy, digital health, or video call, telehealth enables clients to access support from any location.
Having had experience providing telehealth online psychology, we have had a number of questions from doctors trying to navigate the software
security requirements in establishing telehealth services.. Many have asked why we refer to HIPAA compliance when we live in Australia. I
hope this information helps answer some of these questions.
In the coming weeks or perhaps even days, it is likely that Australians will face a situation where they will be quarantined or in
isolation. This poses practical and emotional challenges that are unfamiliar and may be unsettling.
At a time when you are inundated with demand and trying to understand the procedures for managing COVID-19, it is likely the prospect of
telehealth is another thing on a very long to do list. Having managed services in the not-for-profit and government sectors for many years I
understand the importance of finding the balance between responding quickly and adopting a planned and considered approach.
Have you been considering doing seeing an online/telehealth psychologist or nutrition therapy online? Online or telehealth therapy can be a
great way to access regular treatment at a time and place that works for you. Before you jump in and book an appointment here are some
important things you should consider when looking for an online therapist.