1st Edition

The Mental Health Professional and the New Technologies A Handbook for Practice Today

    576 Pages
    by Routledge

    568 Pages
    by Routledge

    In the last two decades, new communication technologies have dramatically changed the world in which mental health professionals and their patients live. Developments such as e-mail, online chat groups, Web pages, search engines, and electronic databases are directly or indirectly affecting most people's routines and expectations. Other developments are poised to do so in the near future. Already, for example, patients are acquiring both good and bad advice and information on the Web; many expect to be able to reach their therapists by e-mail. And already there is pressure from third party payers for providers to submit claims electronically.

    These technological breakthroughs have the potential to make mental health care more widely available and accessible, affordable, acceptable to patients, and adaptable to special needs. But many mental health professionals, as well as those who train them, are skeptical about integrating the new capabilities into their services and question the ethical and legal appropriateness of doing so. Those unfamiliar with the technologies tend to be particularly doubtful. How much e-mail contact with patients should I encourage or permit, and for what purposes? Why should I set up a Web site and how do I do so and what should I put on it? Should I refer patients to chat groups or Web-based discussion forums? Could video-conferencing be a helpful tool in some cases and what is involved? How do I avoid trouble if I dare to experiment with innovations? And last but not least, will the results of my experimentation be cost-effective?

    The book includes:

    • an extensive overview of legal and regulatory issues, such as those raised by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA);
    • concrete technical, ethical, and managerial suggestions summarized in a seven-step Online Consultation Risk Management model; and
    • how to" resource lists and sample documents of use to beginners and experienced professionals alike.

    For better or worse, no mental health professional today can avoid confronting the issues presented by the new technologies. The Mental Health Professional and the New Technologies: A Handbook for Practice Today will enormously simplify the job of thinking through the issues and making clinically, ethically, and legally prudent decisions.

    Contents: Preface. Introduction. Telecommunication Technicalities. E-Mail, Chat Rooms, and Other Text-Based Environments. Professional Web Site Considerations. Telephonic and Videoconferencing Technologies. Computer-Aided Assessment. Computer-Aided Psychotherapy. Electronic Practice Management and the Computer-Based Patient Record. Legal and Regulatory Issues. Standards and Guidelines. Online Clinical Practice Management (OCPM): Training and Support. Online Clinical Practice Management (OCPM): Referrals, Client Education, and Consent. Online Clinical Practice Management (OCPM): Delivering Clinical Care. The Near Future. The Distant Future. Epilogue: Immediate Steps--A Checklist. Appendices: Comparative Studies of Psychotechnologies. Sample Listserv Guidelines. Addendum to Patient Consent Agreement. Draft International Convention on Telemedicine and Telehealth.


    Marlene M. Maheu, Myron L. Pulier, Frank H. Wilhelm, Joseph P. McMenamin, Nancy E. Brown-Connolly

    "This is an excellent new book on this emerging technology. All clinicians will eventually need to learn the material presented in this very interesting book."
    Doody's Electronic Journal

    "Whether you are planning to design a web site, reply to email from a patient, start an online practice, establish a mailing list for professionals with interests similar to your own, or wonder where the online world is headed, you will find [in the book] the information you need."
    Ivan Goldberg, M.D.
    Coordinator and Founder, PsyCom.Net; Webmaster, Depression Central

    "A first of its kind comprehensive handbook on the new technologies indispensable to mental health practitioners faced with today's escalating demands on time and the need to remain professionally competent. This collaborative project exhaustively looks at the array of new technologies and educates the professional as to their values and pitfalls. Readable for the beginner in technology. Delightfully sophisticated for the advanced user. And always full of mindful ethical practices."
    Norine G. Johnson, Ph.D.
    Former President, American Psychological Association

    "From a national public policy perspective it is increasingly evident that the explosion of knowledge occurring within the communications and technology fields will truly revolutionize our nation's health care delivery and training systems in ways that only a few years ago were simply unforeseeable. Change is always unsettling. The magnitude of change facing today's practitioners and educators is simply unprecedented. And, without question, it will have a direct impact upon the daily lives of all mental health providers, regardless of their professional discipline, treatment orientation, and service delivery site."
    Patrick H. DeLeon, Ph.D.
    Former President, American Psychological Association