Protecting patients’ privacy
Telehealth presents certain privacy risks that are important to address along with the benefits.
Since it is common to talk about sensitive and confidential topics during behavioral health appointments, consider these patient discussion tips:
- Why and when having privacy is important
- Suggestions for finding a private location in their home or car, or in the home of a trusted friend or relative
- How to communicate using email, text, or your telehealth platform’s chat feature — especially if there might be issues with personal safety
Ask before the appointment if your patient will have an interpreter or caregiver present and talk about what they feel comfortable discussing in front of the other person. Determine if they need to fill out a release of information.
Take extra precautions to protect patient privacy:
- State your name and credentials to start.
- Confirm the patient’s identity at the beginning of each appointment. Ask your patient to verify personal demographic information.
- Ensure you and your patient are in a private area where you can speak openly. You can both “scan the room” with their device’s camera at the beginning of a video visit.
- Use headphones to avoid confidential information being overheard by others.
- Avoid public Wi-Fi and use password-protected devices to log on to the telehealth visit.