July 1st, 2017

Teen’s viral Facebook post could be useful to therapists

By Janine Weisman

“I brushed my hair today” begins a Facebook post that appears at first glance to be the sharing of ordinary and otherwise unremarkable information. Except that the young author reveals it’s the first time in four weeks she attended to her own personal care and hygiene. The author is Katelyn Marie Lesho and her May 9 post about her struggle with depression has done something rather unordinary. Lesho’s 275-word post had generated nearly 300,000 shares, 233,000 like, love and sad emojis and 22,000 comments a month after she wrote it. The Georgia teenager described her hair as “matted and twisted [More]

June 1st, 2016

Telehealth CBT assists breast cancer survivors with memory problems

By Janine Weisman

Specialized cognitive behavioral therapy delivered via telehealth reduced memory problems and anxiety for breast cancer survivors living in Maine in a new study published online May 2. The small-scale study published in Cancer, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, is the first randomized controlled trial to use telecommunications technology to evaluate the treatment of chemotherapy-related cognitive dysfunction with an active control condition. And it shows promise in supporting large cancer center survivorship programs as the number of people living with a cancer diagnosis in the U.S. continues to increase. While the study had only 47 participants, about 75 [More]

June 1st, 2016

Telehealth coverage expands in Massachusetts

By Janine Weisman

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts was expected to notify its provider network on May 15 of its plans to expand telehealth coverage starting this summer. On Jan. 1, the largest private health plan in Massachusetts started covering diagnostic evaluations and psychotherapy for 30 minutes or less conducted by videoconferencing. But as of July 1, BCBSMA will expand from two Current Procedural Terminology codes to seven for covering diagnostic evaluations and 30, 45, and 60 minute sessions of psychotherapy with patients and/or family members and such psychotherapy sessions when performed with an evaluation and management service. The telehealth coverage announcement [More]

May 1st, 2013

Telemedicine program launched on Block Island

By Greg Hitchcock

A telemedicine program to help serve people with mental illness was launched on a remote island 13 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. Stephen Hollaway, pastor of Harbor Church on Block Island and chairman of the island’s Mental Health Task Force, says he felt the need to help individuals with mental health conditions when he was called in 2010 by the Block Island Police Department regarding a suicide. According to Hollaway, the suicide victim’s family said it was difficult to get the help needed to prevent the tragedy from occurring. “No one from the mainland would send anyone here [More]

December 1st, 2010

Telemedicine protocol helpful to depressed elderly people

By Ami Albernaz

A telemedicine-based protocol for treating depression among homebound elders has shown promise in a preliminary study, pointing the way for more rigorous research. The study, conducted by Rhode Island Hospital in collaboration with the University of Vermont’s Telemedicine Program, applied telemedicine – now used by the homecare industry to help manage chronic illnesses, such as heart disease – to a condition known to afflict many of the elderly, though relatively few receive treatment. The 48 participants were already receiving home care for other medical conditions and either had depressive symptoms or were taking antidepressants. Pre-programmed monitoring devices alerted participants at [More]

April 1st, 2013

Telepsychology guidelines anticipated

By Janine Weisman

When patients initiate text messaging with Leslie A. Feil, Ph.D., she won’t text back on clinical issues but responds with a phone call instead. The Rhode Island Psychological Association (RIPA) past president also won’t Skype patients, considering it insecure communication. She added consent for text and email messaging to her patient information-HIPAA form. “I sometimes use text messaging to initiate changes in appointments with younger patients, who as a group appear to not listen to their voicemail messages,” Feil writes in an email, explaining how she incorporates telepsychology into her practice. It’s a subject of great interest to Feil, chair [More]

March 1st, 2014

Telepsychology guidelines worth examination

By Edward Stern J.D.

The American Psychological Association has begun planning for the future. In July of 2013, the APA approved Guidelines for the Practice of Telepsychology. Rather than repeat the text and history for these guidelines here, those interested may proceed to the Web site www.apa.org/practice/guidelines/telepsychology.aspx The site reports that the Telepsychology Task Force that put together the guidelines were focused on two issues: the psychologist’s own knowledge of and competence in the provision of telepsychology; and the need to ensure that the client/patient has a full understanding of the potential increased risks to loss of security and confidentiality when using technologies. In [More]

May 12th, 2019

Telepsychology: Is it the future of treatment?

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Technology has become an integral part of our daily world. We ask Alexa about the weather, tell Siri to place a phone call and use voice recognition software to write emails. How far a step is it, then, to reach out to a therapist via technology? Telepsychology, or telehealth, the practice of providing psychological services over telecommunication equipment, is not exactly a new facet of the profession. Since video conferencing equipment was first developed in the 1990s, there has been a slow, but steady, expansion of therapists who offer the option. Insurance coverage has been a bit slow to follow, [More]

October 1st, 2013

Test data access examined

By Edward Stern J.D.

Are clients/patients entitled to test data as part of their records if they request a copy of their records or request their records be forwarded to others? In 2002, the American Psychological Association changed its Ethics Code to include “test data” as part of a client/patient’s records. Standard 9.04 defines test data as “raw and scaled scores, client/patient responses to test questions or stimuli, and psychologists’ notes and recordings concerning client/patient statements and behavior during an examination.” Notice that “test data” does not include “test material.” Test material is the actual test administered to the client/patient. Test data, however, is [More]

February 1st, 2013

The Affordable Care Act: What it means for psychologists

By Phyllis Hanlon

The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has given the green light for partial application now with full implementation of the law slated for 2015. While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides more Americans with insurance coverage, including equal access to medical and mental health services, the role psychologists will play in the delivery of services remains unclear. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the ACA eliminates coverage exclusion due to pre-existing conditions; removes annual or lifetime caps on coverage; forbids rescinding coverage; and creates a basic benefit package [More]