Telepractice is changing the way speech-language pathologists, audiologists and patients define therapy. Many communication professionals are excited by the possibilities it offers. Patients without access to in-clinic care now may benefit from the expertise of highly trained specialists hundreds of miles away, via computer or telephone.
But along with these great new opportunities comes a long list of questions. As we deal with major issues involving standards of care, billing and legal restrictions, speech-language pathologists and audiologists are trying to figure out how to use telepractice to reach more people, without introducing new risks.
Our team at the Callier Center is looking hard at these emerging issues and trying to find ways to embrace the potential that technology offers. We also want to hear from other professionals, as well as patients and families that could be affected by telepractice. So tell us what you think. Among the big questions we plan to discuss on our blog in coming weeks are:
How do we clearly spell out the role of the clinician and the expectations of the patient?
What therapies can be offered via telepractice and which cannot?
How do we document services to enable billing?
How do we handle varying laws and licensing restrictions among states and nations?
How can standards of care be monitored?
Will privacy concerns interfere with treatment opportunities?