Teletherapy has revolutionized mental health care in recent years. No more traveling to and from appointments—nowadays, therapy clients can log into a digital platform and connect to care from the comfort of home.
Although teletherapy makes it easier for clients to attain the services they need, it also presents serious challenges for therapists. One of the most common struggles therapists encounter when transitioning to or operating online therapy is IT management.
Information technology (IT) forms the backbone of teletherapy, enabling all the software and services that run both locally and in the cloud. It’s an essential (and often under-discussed) part of any therapist’s workflow, especially as it pertains to client security and HIPAA confidentiality.
In today’s article, we’re going to delve into how teletherapy and IT intersect, and how you as a therapist can utilize IT to secure your practice and help it thrive.
The Rise of Teletherapy
In light of recent events surrounding the global pandemic, the demand for teletherapy providers has skyrocketed. Lockdowns and distancing mandates sped up digital care adoption, making teletherapy vital for mental health systems.
It’s become so widely adopted that a recent study by McKinsey & Company reveals that 46% of consumers are now using some form of telehealth or teletherapy—a significant rise from 11% in 2019.
Even as things settle back to “normal,” all signs indicate that the shift is here to stay. Teletherapy providers remains an attractive option (and sometimes the only option) for both clients and therapists across the country and around the world.
This means that IT will continue to play an essential role in the field for the foreseeable future.
The Role of IT in Teletherapy
IT plays an instrumental role in teletherapy, primarily by facilitating data management and the secure storage of client records.
By deploying the right IT solutions—like a secure network and proper encryption measures—client confidentiality can be safeguarded. This is a critical consideration in the mental health sector.
In addition to data and record storage considerations, IT also enables secure communication between therapists and their clients. Video conferencing software, chat applications, and email scheduling tools are all IT products that make telehealth services possible. Without these tools, safe client-therapist interactions would be significantly more difficult, if not impossible.
Solving Teletherapy Challenges With IT
Despite the promise of telehealth and related services, therapists face many challenges when adding teletherapy as an option for clients. These include new considerations around marketing to clients, maintaining patient privacy, ensuring service reliability, and adhering to regulatory standards such as HIPAA.
Although a traditional digital marketer may be needed for the first challenge (Kindpages is an excellent resource for therapist marketing and websites), IT can address all the rest.
A strong IT system can manage and protect client data, whether locally or in the cloud. IT can also ensure safe and uninterrupted services, preventing unprofessional audio and/or video drops mid-session. Additionally, IT can help telehealth providers adhere to regulatory standards through the right compliance tools and software.
In conclusion, IT’s role in online therapy is indispensable. As this mode of therapy continues to grow, so too does the importance of secure and reliable IT systems.
Teletherapy providers must prioritize IT either by improving in-house skills or collaborating with professional service providers.
This ensures essential services are maintained, meeting the expectations of regulators and clients alike.
If you’re seeking a trusted company to handle your IT needs, please reach out to us here at ITSGuru. With our IT expertise, we can help you create a secure teletherapy system for a thriving future.