As of December 2018, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has adopted an official ruling that text messages will be considered an informational service (such as emails) versus a telecommunication service (such as telephone calls). Click here for the ruling. This distinction is highly relevant, as communications classified as “telecommunication services” must be transmitted by cellular carriers and are not permitted to be blocked or altered whereas informational services can be.
As text messaging has grown in popularity over the last decade, texts have carried an ambiguous status; this ambiguity has allowed cellular carriers to make independent decisions regarding transmission, with many carriers defaulting to handle texts as informational services. For the December ruling, the FCC took into consideration that cellular providers have already been filtering text messages (in an effort to minimize spam) and that allowing all texts to go through could burden consumers.
The Office of Mental Health is currently paying for all initial certification fees for eligible candidates to earn their New York Certified Peer Specialist (NYCPS) certification.
Peer specialists help others in recovery with a mental health condition or major life disruption. In order to earn the NYCPS one must complete a free training, agree to the NYPSCB Code of Ethical Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures, complete at least 2000 hours of peer specialist experience under supervision, submit three references and apply for the certification. Peer Specialists are individuals who are themselves in recovery from a mental health condition or major life disruption and have shown to provide support to others in their recovery process.
One Million Telehealth Visits in 2018! The VA continues to expand its utilization of telehealth. 2018’s numbers are 19% higher than last years.
This number is bound to greatly increase. The new Authority of Health Care Providers to Practice Telehealth rule, published in the Federal Register on October 2nd, 2017, allows for the VA to provide telehealth services directly to veterans’ homes across the country. In addition, the VA launched its new mobile VA Video Connect application, making video sessions easier for veterans. I suspect these recent developments have only begun to show a footprint. Only 105,300 of the million + video visits were conducted using the new mobile application.
I have briefly addressed the topic of Digital Therapeutics in a previous blog entry that focused on ADHD and Esteem Therapeutics.
New to this term? "Digital Therapeutics" is an emerging form of technology in healthcare that combines software programs, devices, and various interventions to generate an umbrella of caregiving that covers all the parties involved in treatment. Technological aspects are used in conjunction with other forms of "traditional" treatment such as therapy or medication. Patients and caregivers collaborate and are kept in sync with updated information that is readily available to all in order to optimize patient outcomes.
Digital therapeutics addresses a wide range of conditions and provides a myriad of high-quality options for personalized patient care. Digital therapeutics forms an independent category of a broader healthcare program and is distinct from diagnostic and telehealth products. Implementing a program will involve a network of therapy options in which each component of care reinforces and supports the other.
In Opinion 19-02, the Office of Inspector General declares its support o allowing drug manufacturers to temporary loan smartphones to low-income patients who are prescribed antipsychotic digital medications. A sensor is embedded in the medication, and once taken, transmits a signal to a patch worn by the patient. The patch records ingestion of medication, rest and activity levels, and uploads the data to a smartphone app via Bluetooth. The patient has the ability to add more detailed information (moods, sleep quality) to the app, and then the app syncs with secure, cloud-based data banks.
Alison Bowles, LMHC shares from her experience as an online counselor treating couples and those struggling with anxiety and depression.
In this interview, Dr. Becky Clark shares how she uses video conferencing to overcome barriers to access for those with hearing loss.
The Office of Inspector General is recommending that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS) more closely review telehealth claims for adherence to requirements and offer education to providers to increase awareness of those requirements.
Learn from our interview of Elizabeth (Liz) Grady, LPC, LPCS, DCC from eSupport, PLLC https://www.esupportcounseling.com/ Liz and her colleagues noticed a need for online counseling and clinical supervision in North Carolina and have worked to fill that need. Liz shares how she prepared for, implemented, and succeeded at providing these important services.
Learn about the origins of e-prescribing and its parallels with implementing telehealth into health systems by listening to our interview with Lori Metz, LCSW, CCM.
In order for a social worker to retain their license in NY they must complete 36 hours of continuing education every three years by a CE provider who has been approved by the NY Social Work Board. Only 12 of these hours can consist of self-study activities. Live webinar courses are considered live hours.
The military and VA use telehealth more than any organization I know of. They also have conducted research which shows that it reduces no-show rates and hospital readmissions and provides access to many clients who normally would not have received care.
Both, working with the military and providing telebehavioral health services require specific awareness and skills. Our interview with Mercia Cummings provides you a view of what it is truly like to provide the services.