(Brief) Answers to Common Questions About Videoconferencing Practice

The following is a collection of common questions (with answers) related to videoconferencing. Questions are grouped into three categories: general topics, delivery of services topics, and administrative topics.

General Topics

How Do I Stay Up to Date of Changes?

Given the ever-changing nature of telepsychology models, training, research, ethics, and legality, staying up to date is of the utmost importance. To gain the widest range of knowledge, providers are recommended to pursue information from multiple sources. First, providers should seek formal trainings. Whether these occur locally, nationally, or internationally, formal CE programs can be very helpful in providing different levels of expert-led training. Such trainings can be full programs, or professional discussions (e.g., The Trust roundtable discussions) of current events and challenges in telehealth-related practices. For self-learning approaches, providers can continually read about videoconferencing (or general telepsychology) happenings through recent journal articles and books, as well as telehealth-focused news outlets (e.g., ATA, National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers [NCTRC], Telebehavioral Health Institute), many of which have listservs that can provide digests of information (e.g., Telebehavioral Health Institute, NCTRC). For more specific resources, please see Appendices C, D, E, F, and G.

What If I’m Concerned About a Patient Recording or Taking Screenshots of the Sessions?

While a real concern, the provider can be proactive in defining rules of the videoconferencing sessions, including the limiting of recording or taking screenshots. This can be built into the informed consent process, and emphasized throughout the sessions, if reiteration is needed. To provide further protection, many videoconferencing platforms allow the provider to lock the recording and screenshot features, disabling their use for the patient. While detailing the “rules” and deactivating these features will likely remedy the issue for many patients, unfortunately, the provider simply cannot completely prevent the possibility of a patient recording or taking a screenshot. For example, while locked through the videoconferencing platform, a patient can use a third-party screen-capture program that can record their entire desktop view, including the videoconferencing window. Further, patients can take a print screen (i.e., screenshot) of their desktop, again including the videoconferencing window. Although a concern, it should be noted that this is not necessarily vastly different from F2F care in that a provider cannot always be assured that a patient is not recording the sessions through a smartphone or audio recorder in their pocket, bag, or purse.