Technology and Informed Consent: 

As part of the process of establishing informed consent, counselors do the following:
 

  • Address issues related to the difficulty of maintaining the confidentiality of electronically transmitted communications. 
  • Inform clients of all colleagues, supervisors, and employees, such as Informational Technology (IT) administrators, who might have authorized or unauthorized access to electronic transmissions. 
  • Urge clients to be aware of all authorized or unauthorized users including family members and fellow employees who have access to any technology clients may use in the counseling process.
  • Inform clients of pertinent legal rights and limitations governing the practice of a profession over state lines or international boundaries.  Use encrypted Web sites and e-mail communications to help ensure confidentiality when possible. 
  • When the use of encryption is not possible, counselors notify clients of this fact and limit electronic transmissions to general communications that are not client specific.
  • Inform clients if and for how long archival storage of transaction records are maintained. 
  • Discuss the possibility of technology failure and alternate methods of service delivery. 
  • Inform clients of emergency procedures, such as call 911 or a local crisis hotline, when the counselor is not available. 
  • Discuss time zone differences, local customs, and cultural or language differences that might impact service delivery. 
  • Inform clients when technology-assisted distance counseling services are not covered by insurance. 

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