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What Should I Expect in a Tele-Mental Health Session?

Dr. Stapleton is a Board Certified TeleMental Health provider (BC-TMH) through the Center for Credentialing and Education.

What to expect:

You may choose to receive services via tele-mental health.  This is offered through a HIPAA Secure Platform.  Not everyone is appropriate for tele-mental health services.  If you are not comfortable with technology or do not have a safe and comfortable space, you may want to consider seeing me in the office.  Also, not all insurance plans cover tele-mental health services.  Please check with your insurance provider to see if this is an option.

Prior to your tele-mental health session, make sure to:

  • Check for internet speed.
  • For additional security, use a VPN and change your router password to your own password and not the factory or service provider password given at installation.
  • Make sure you are in a private room.  Children and pets should be cared for to prevent interruption during the session.  If you are calling from your office, you may want to consider an after-hours call when you are alone, or make sure you are in a spot where you will not be interrupted.  If you walls are thin, you may want to consider an in-person appointment.
  • Set up your computer before the session.  Make sure you are not back-lit.  Your head should be centered on your screen.

Some potential concerns:

  • Pixelation and video or voice lag.
  • technical setup issues
  • computer not working correctly
  • no internet or poor internet speeds

These concerns can happen both at the client location and at my location.  If these concerns happen, we will attempt to correct the issue, but if we are unable to correct the issue within five minutes we will continue the session via telephone.

While on the video, I will be utilizing a headpiece with a microphone in order to reduce background noise and to help with your privacy.   I would recommend the same for clients.  My office location has a white noise machine to help protect your privacy.  I use software with multiple layers of encryption to help protect your privacy.  I do not have control of privacy on your end.  I would recommend not sharing your client portal password with anyone and I would suggest changing it every couple of months.  Also - you are in charge of your location and making sure it is safe and private.  If I feel that you are in danger of sharing protected health information based on my observations, I will request that we end the session and meet in person.

While I do everything possible to reduce the risk of data breach, unfortunately, these things still happen.   Whenever data is transmitted over the internet, there is a risk.  To help minimize this risk, don't share your passwords with anyone.  If multiple people use your computer, have your own login.  Sign out of your email.  Update your security when asked.  On my end, my computer is only used for telehealth, electronic records, and billing.  I've contracted with simple practice which has bank level multiple layers of encryption to help protect your data.  All client information is stored through them in a HIPAA secure cloud-based service and never on my computer.  To help maintain client confidentiality, Shanthi has a no recording policy and we ask for all clients to respect this by not recording their sessions.

About the session:

At the start of your session:

  • I will as for a driver's license or another photo ID to verify your identity at the initial session.
  • I will ask for your location at the start of each session.  This is necessary in case of an emergency so I can make appropriate contacts.  Also - I am licensed in the state of Iowa.  If you are out-of-state, I may not be able to provide services as I will need to follow the state laws in your physical location.
  • I will ask for a release of information for an emergency contact/physical support person.  This is a support person over the age of 18 that I can contact in case of an emergency and who can physically be with you if needed.  I will only disclose information to this person during an emergency crisis situation.

Please feel free to Contact

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Shanthi Wellness, LLC

332 S. Linn St., Suite 37

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