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Thank you to Spark Speech Pathology for this information.

From Spark Speech Pathology’s email to client list, March 17, 2020.

Used with permission from and thanks to the principals of Spark Speech Pathology.

**Please remember that this information is not to be considered as advice, and is not endorsed by myself, any organisation or peak body. Please use this information as a guide only, and seek out the appropriate professional for legal and business advice. Also, the following information is owned by and copyrighted to Spark Speech Pathology and may not be copied and used word for word - Natalie.

“….we have the ability to offer sessions via telehealth/telepractice. This refers to using videoconferencing to administer client sessions in real-time. Devices such as a computer, iPad or even a mobile phone are used by therapists and clients for the delivery of interactive [clinical] services remotely, by linking therapists to clients for intervention and consultation. We are currently using a range of secure video platforms that may not require clients to purchase any additional equipment if you already have an internet-linked computer or mobile device. We will also guide you step-by-step all the way with the necessary set up once you have given your informed consent by arranging a telehealth session.

“There is plenty of research showing the benefits of telehealth but we appreciate that this platform may not be ideal for all our clients for different reasons. However, in the interest of maintaining continuity of therapy, we are urging all therapists and clients be open-minded and to think creatively as to how this new arrangement can be of maximum benefit to each participant. We have received extremely positive feedback about both individual as well as small group sessions that have occurred via telehealth and we are excited and committed to continue pushing ourselves to maximise all learning opportunities for everyone involved by upskilling staff and parents/carers.

“What are the potential benefits of telepractice?

Telepractice might:

  • Decrease exposure to infectious disease

  • Improve access to [clinical] services

  • Reduce your need for travel

What are the potential risks of telepractice?

Telepractice might:

  • Be negatively impacted by technical problems, such as delays due to technology failures

  • Not offer the same visual and sound quality for observations and modelling

  • Require someone onsite with the client to support the [clinician]

  • Increase exposure to privacy and digital security risks (see below)

Will my privacy be protected?

This practice is subject to the Privacy Act 1988 and must comply with obligations related to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information, including through telepractice. The [clinician] must maintain confidentiality and privacy standards during sessions, and in creating, keeping and transmitting records.

At times, audio and video recordings of sessions may be taken to support the [clinician’s] work, as might occur in a face to face consultation. You will be informed before a recording takes place and can refuse to be recorded for any reason. The [clinician] will inform you of the reason for the recording and how it will be stored.

While the [clinician] is obligated to meet standards to protect your privacy and security, telecommunication, including videoconference, may increase exposure to hacking and other online risks; as with all online activities, there is no guarantee of complete privacy and security protection. You may decrease the risk by using a secure internet connection, meeting with the [clinician] from a private location, and only communicating using secure channels.

What does informed consent mean?

There are a few important principles related to informed consent:

  • You must be given relevant information. Ask the [clinician] if you have questions about telepractice and the service offered.

  • You have the right to understand the information. Ask the [clinician] if you do not understand.

  • You have the right to choose. If you do not agree to telepractice, you may refuse to participate. You may agree to or refuse specific activities and procedures.

  • You have the right to stop using telepractice anytime. You can change your mind about telepractice or a specific activity or procedure, even in the middle of a session.

  • You can agree or refuse in writing or verbally. You may give consent (by allowing the session to be arranged) or change your mind by telling the [clinician]. Consent and refusal that you give verbally will be documented by the [clinician].

  • You can ask about alternatives to telepractice. If you refuse or change your ind about telepractice services, your [clinician] will discuss any other options with you. The [clinician] may or may not be able to offer alternative services.”

Copyright © 2020 Spark Speech Pathology,  All rights reserved.

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