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Getting started with Telehealth

Getting started with Telehealth

Telehealth services can add countless benefits to your practice and immeasurable help for your clients. Experts predict that the Telehealth industry will reach $9.35 billion by 2021—a giant increase from just $2.78 billion in 2016.[1] And in a recent survey, 20% of respondents said they would change doctors just to be able to access Telehealth services.[2]

If you're new to Telehealth and would like to learn more, this guide can help you prepare for your first Telehealth appointment. We'll walk through: 

Note: See Telehealth FAQs to find answers to commonly asked questions from clinicians, and Telehealth FAQs for clients for a guide to send directly to clients about Telehealth. You can also download this PDF to have a resource on-hand before your first appointment: Telehealth Checklist.


Benefits of using Telehealth

Here are some of the research-based benefits to providing Telehealth services:

  • Increases access. Approximately 123 million Americans live in an area with limited access to healthcare.[3] Telehealth can play an important role in these communities by increasing accessibility.
  • Reduces costs for clients. Nearly all research suggests that Telehealth saves money when compared with traditional approaches to providing care. For clients, this often means lower copays, transportation costs, less time missed from work, and less money spent on child care expenses.
  • Reduces cost for providers. In general, adding Telehealth to your practice can increase the efficiency of your office and reduce your overhead costs. Plus, it allows you to see more clients in less time.
  • Better work/life balance. In a 2015 survey of clinicians, 79% said offering video appointments promotes a more flexible work-life schedule.[4]
  • Same-level client care. No client outcome difference was found between Telehealth appointments and face-to-face office visits.[5]
  • Better client experience. Telehealth eliminates the wasted time traveling and sitting in the waiting room.

Preparing your practice for Telehealth

The following steps will help your practice prepare to begin offering Telehealth appointments.

  • Know the rules
  • Make a plan
    • Telehealth activities should be designed to complement your standard practices, not complicate or interrupt them. Accordingly, determine how Telehealth will fit within your practice. For example:
      • What percentage of your time will you dedicate to Telehealth?
      • How will this fit into your current schedule?
  • Learn how to bill for Telehealth 
  • Prepare your office
    • Identify a suitable room that is quiet, private, and free of distractions.
    • To keep background noise to a minimum, close any doors and shut any windows. Consider hanging a “Do not disturb” sign on the door to avoid interruptions.
    • Before each appointment, check what’s in the client’s field of vision and remove all clutter and unnecessary objects. When designing your Telehealth room, pay special attention to furniture placement, lighting, acoustics, and wall color.
      • Wall color
        • If the wall color is too light, the camera lets in less light, resulting in darkened faces. If the wall color is too dark, the camera lets in more light, making faces look washed out or too light.
        • Try to choose a flat paint color in gray or light blue to avoid any reflection off the wall.
      • Lighting
        • Make sure your light source is in front of your face, not behind you.
        • Avoid harsh lighting sources, as well as backlighting from windows or overhead lights.
      • Eye contact
        • External cameras should be mounted so that both participants are looking directly at each other during a video appointment. If the camera is placed too high above the monitor, you will appear to be looking down at the monitor rather than directly at the client.
        • It can be distracting for clients when the clinician is not consistently maintaining eye contact because they are looking at another screen or taking notes. It’s a good practice to be mindful of this and explain to clients when looking away may be necessary.[6]
  • Check your technology
    • Your device
      • Make sure you have an up-to-date PC, Mac, or tablet with a high-quality integrated camera, microphone, and speakers. Make sure your operating system and browser are on the latest version
      • Newer devices (purchased in the last two years) will be better equipped to provide Telehealth appointments.
    • Internet speed

Tip: If you're having trouble with a Telehealth appointment, share a screenshot of your test results from https://www.speedtest.net/ when writing in to our team so that we can better assist you.

Note: If your practice will be having multiple clinicians on Telehealth appointments simultaneously, we recommend working with your internet service provider to increase your internet package. For multiple clinicians, a bandwidth of at least 35 mbps, but preferably more, is recommended. 

  • Test the process
    • Before your first appointment, we recommend holding a practice Telehealth appointment. Ask a friend if you can send them a link to join an appointment and test the video platform. You’ll be much more confident and prepared for your first Telehealth appointment if you know what to expect. See the Starting a Telehealth appointment section of this guide to learn how to begin. 
  • Spread the word
    • Promote Telehealth as an option for clients on your website, in your practice newsletter, via email, and on your social media page.
    • If clients call to book or reschedule appointments, offer Telehealth as an alternative.
    • Ask current clients if they would be interested in trying Telehealth for their next appointment.
    • Put up signs in your waiting room to encourage people to ask about using Telehealth.
    • Make sure to enable online appointment requests through SimplePractice set up and create Availability blocks for Telehealth appointments so clients can see a virtual office option in your Client Portal

Turning Telehealth on in your SimplePractice account

To turn Telehealth on in your account:

  • Navigate to Settings > My Practice > Locations
  • Under the Telehealth section, click Turn on

turnon.simplepractice.telehealth.png

Note: Telehealth is included at no additional cost on the Essential and Plus plans, and it’s available as an add-on feature on the Starter plan for an additional $15/month. If you're on the Starter plan, you can manage your subscription in Settings > Subscription Information.

Please keep in mind that when you signed up for your trial account with SimplePractice, you also agreed to our Terms of Service and Business Associate Agreement. All features in our platform are covered in this agreement, including Telehealth. See Telehealth FAQs for more information. 

Turning Telehealth on in your account will create a new Video Office location in Settings > My Practice > Locations. This is important for setting up your Availability for online appointment requests.

videoofficelocation.simplepractice.telehealth.png

Note: To offer Telehealth appointments through your Client Portal and Appointment-request Widget for online appointment requests, you'll have to create Availability blocks with Video Office as the location. See Managing your Availability to learn how to set this up. 


Creating your own custom Consent for Telehealth Consultation intake form

  • Navigate to Settings > Client Portal > Shared Documents and Files
  • Click + Consent Document to add a new consent document for Telehealth

consentdocument.simplepractice.shareddocumentsandfiles.png

Note: See Setting up the Client Portal to learn more about creating and customizing consent documents for your practice. 

Below you can find a sample Consent for Telehealth Consultation document that you can copy and paste for your practice intake. Make sure to read through it and customize it for your own practice and local laws. You can also find a Spanish Consentimiento Informado de Telehealth document below that. 


[INSERT NAME, ADDRESS, AND CONTACT INFORMATION FOR YOUR PRACTICE HERE]

CONSENT FOR TELEHEALTH CONSULTATION

  1. I understand that my health care provider wishes me to engage in a telehealth consultation.
  2. My health care provider explained to me how the videoconferencing technology that will be used to affect such a consultation will not be the same as a direct client/health care provider visit due to the fact that I will not be in the same room as my provider.
  3. I understand that a telehealth consultation has potential benefits, including easier access to care and the convenience of meeting from a location of my choosing.
  4. I understand there are potential risks to this technology, including interruptions, unauthorized access, and technical difficulties. I understand that my health care provider or I can discontinue the telehealth consult/visit if it is felt that the videoconferencing connections are not adequate for the situation.
  5. I have had a direct conversation with my provider, during which I had the opportunity to ask questions in regard to this procedure. My questions have been answered and the risks, benefits, and any practical alternatives have been discussed with me in a language in which I understand.

CONSENT TO USE THE TELEHEALTH BY SIMPLEPRACTICE SERVICE

Telehealth by SimplePractice is the technology service we will use to conduct telehealth videoconferencing appointments. It is simple to use and there are no passwords required to log in. By signing this document, I acknowledge:

  1. Telehealth by SimplePractice is NOT an Emergency Service and in the event of an emergency, I will use a phone to call 911.
  2. Though my provider and I may be in direct, virtual contact through the Telehealth Service, neither SimplePractice nor the Telehealth Service provides any medical or healthcare services or advice including, but not limited to, emergency or urgent medical services.
  3. The Telehealth by SimplePractice Service facilitates videoconferencing and is not responsible for the delivery of any healthcare, medical advice or care.
  4. I do not assume that my provider has access to any or all of the technical information in the Telehealth by SimplePractice Service – or that such information is current, accurate or up-to-date. I will not rely on my health care provider to have any of this information in the Telehealth by SimplePractice Service.
  5. To maintain confidentiality, I will not share my telehealth appointment link with anyone unauthorized to attend the appointment.

By signing this form, I certify:

  • That I have read or had this form read and/or had this form explained to me.
  • That I fully understand its contents including the risks and benefits of the procedure(s).
  • That I have been given ample opportunity to ask questions and that any questions have been answered to my satisfaction.

BY SIGNING BELOW I AM AGREEING THAT I HAVE READ, UNDERSTOOD, AND AGREE TO THE ITEMS CONTAINED IN THIS DOCUMENT.


Por la presente doy mi consentimiento para participar en telemedicina como parte de mi psicoterapia. Entiendo que “telemedicina” incluye la práctica de la prestación de atención médica, diagnóstico, consulta, tratamiento, transferencia de datos médicos, y educación usando medios de audio, video, o de datos interactivos. 

Entiendo que tengo los siguientes derechos con respeto a telemedicina:

(1) Tengo el derecho a retener o retirar consentimiento en cualquier momento sin afectar mi derecho a atención o tratamiento en el futuro ni arriesgar la pérdida o el retiro de los beneficios de cualquier programa a los que de otro modo tendría derecho.  

(2) Las leyes que protegen la confidencialidad de mi información médica también aplican a telemedicina. Como tal, entiendo que la información revelada por mi durante el curso de mi terapia es generalmente confidencial. Sin embargo, existen excepciones obligatorias y permisivas a la confidencialidad, incluyendo, pero no limitado a denunciar el abuso de menores, adultos mayores, adultos dependientes; expresó amenazas de violencia hacia una víctima comprobable; y adonde hago que mi estado mental o emocional se convierta en asunto de interés en un proceso legal. 

También entiendo que la difusión de cualquier imagen o información de la interacción de telemedicina a investigadores u otras entidades no ocurrirán sin mi consentimiento por escrito.  

(3) Entiendo que hay riesgos y consecuencias de telemedicina, incluyendo, pero no limitado a, la posibilidad de que, a pesar de los esfuerzos razonables de parte de mi terapeuta, que: la transmisión de mi información médica puede ser interrumpida o distorsionado por fallas técnicas; la transmisión de mi información médica puede ser interrumpida por personas no autorizadas; y/o personas no autorizados pueden tener acceso a el almacenamiento electrónico de mis datos médicos. 

Además, entiendo que servicios y la atención basado en la telemedicina pueden ser no tan completos como los servicios recibidos cara-a-cara. También entiendo que si mi terapeuta piensa que yo puedo ser mejor servido recibiendo servicios directos (cara-a-cara) y si no puedo ver a mi terapeuta en persona, seré referido a un profesional que puede brindar esos servicios en mi área. Finalmente, entiendo que existe la posibilidad de riesgos y beneficios asociado con cualquier forma de terapia, y que a pesar de los esfuerzos razonables de mi terapeuta puede ser que mi condición no mejore—incluso puede empeorar.

(4) Comprendo que existe la posibilidad de beneficios con el programa de telemedicina, pero no existe garantía alguna respecto a resultados. 

(5) Entiendo que tengo el derecho a acceder mi información médica y copias de mi registro médico acuerdo a las leyes de el estado donde recibo mis servicios.

He leído y entiendo este documento de consentimiento al ingreso de servicio de telemedicina con mi terapeuta y todas mis preguntas has sido contestadas satisfactoriamente.


Enabling your camera and microphone access for Telehealth

Telehealth is built to run in your browser so your clients can access video appointments by simply clicking a link. There’s no need for them to download another application on their computer. However, this does mean that your browser needs to have permission to use your camera and microphone. If you or your client are not able to hear or see each other, your browser might not be allowed to use your camera or microphone.

Chrome

      • On a Mac
        • Go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy.
        • Choose the Camera and Microphone from the available options on the left and make sure that there is a checkmark next to Google Chrome giving it access to your camera and microphone.
      • On a PC
        • Go to Start > Settings > Privacy.
        • Choose Camera and Microphone from the available options and select their permissions for Allow apps to access your (camera/microphone).
        • Under Choose which apps can access your (camera/microphone), turn on for Google Chrome.
      • Within Chrome
        • Open Chrome.
        • At the top right, click the three vertical dots > Settings.
        • Scroll to Privacy and Security and click Site settings.
        • Click Camera and Microphone.
        • Make sure https://video.simplepractice.com is listed under Allow. If it's under Block, click the trashcan to the right.

Safari

      • Open Safari.
      • Go to Safari > Preferences > Websites.
      • For both the Camera and the Microphone:

Firefox

      • On a Mac
        • Go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy.
        • Choose the Camera and Microphone from the available options on the left and make sure that there is a checkmark next to Firefox giving it access to your camera and microphone.
      • On a PC
        • Go to Start > Settings > Privacy.
        • Choose Camera and Microphone from the available options and select their permissions for Allow apps to access your (camera/microphone).
        • Under Choose which apps can access your (camera/microphone), turn on for Firefox.
      • Within Firefox
        • Click on the padlock in the URL bar at the top of the browser and click Permissions.
        • Next to Use the Camera and Use the Microphone choose Allow.

Edge

      • On a Mac
        • Go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy.
        • Choose the Camera and Microphone from the available options on the left and make sure that there is a checkmark next to Microsoft Edge giving it access to your camera and microphone.
      • On a PC
        • Edge automatically has access to your camera and microphone because it's the default browser for Windows devices.
      • Within Edge
        • Click on the padlock in the URL bar at the top of the browser and make sure Camera and Microphone are set to Allow.

Once you've enabled your browser to access your camera and microphone, please close your browser and then restart it.


Starting a Telehealth appointment

To join a Telehealth call on a computer, there's nothing you or your client will have to install or download. You and your clients can begin your Telehealth appointments simply by clicking a link. 

For the clinician: 

  • Create a new appointment and select Telehealth: Video Office as the Location

telehealthoffice.simplepractice.newappointment.png

  • When you're ready for the appointment, click the appointment on the calendar
  • Click Start video appointment to launch Telehealth in a new tab of your browser

startvideoappointment.simplepractice.telehealthappointment.png

  • Enter your name to join the Telehealth appointment 

entername.simplepractice.starttelehealthappointment.png

  • Click Join Video Appointment 

Whenever an attendee joins or leaves a Telehealth appointment, a chime sound will play to notify you. So even if you have a different browser window open, there won't be any surprises when someone joins, or if someone gets disconnected. There's no way to turn this feature off.

Note: If you’d like to change a non-Telehealth appointment to Telehealth, change the location to Video Office and click Done in the appointment flyout. Clicking Done will save this change, so that the appointment is updated properly and the client receives the video appointment link via email.

Tip: If you're using Telehealth on Chrome or Firefox, you can drag the image of yourself or your client to a different area of your screen. To do this, right click the image of yourself or your client on the Telehealth call and click Picture in Picture. The image will pop out in a separate window, which you can click and drag to reposition.

pictureinpicture.simplepractice.telehealth.jpg

For the client: 

As long as reminders are enabled in a client’s profile, they’ll receive an email and/or text reminder containing the Telehealth appointment link 10 minutes before the start time. Please note that the exact time the client receives the reminder may vary based on their cell phone carrier.

Note: See How to set up appointment and time of scheduling reminders to learn more. 

When the client clicks the Telehealth appointment link, it will open in a new tab in their web browser or in the Telehealth by SimplePractice mobile app, depending on the device they’re using. They’ll need to enter their name before joining the video call.

The link to join the call is unique, so it can't be bookmarked and reused for each Telehealth appointment. The link expires 30 minutes after the end of the appointment. This means that clients can't rejoin a call using the same link after that time has elapsed. If your appointment goes past the 30-minute mark, you can continue to hold the call as long as neither party gets disconnected or leaves. Please see the note below for more information about handling these situations. 

Note: If your appointment goes longer than 30 minutes after the appointment end time and your client gets disconnected from the call, you can extend the duration of the Telehealth appointment on your calendar so the client can rejoin the call using the same link. 

Tip: To learn how to hold a Telehealth appointment with 2 clients at once, see Multi-client support on Telehealth


Manually sharing a Telehealth appointment link

If you want to manually share or resend the Telehealth appointment link to the client, you can: 

  • Click the appointment 
  • Click Share Link

sharelink.simplepractice.telehealthappointment.png

  • Click Send reminder 

sendreminder.simplepractice.telehealthappointment.png

  • If the client has a contact with an email address and consent to email listed in their file, you'll have the option to send a reminder to their contact as well
    • If you don't want to send a reminder to the client's contact(s), you can uncheck the box and then continue on to the next step 

sendcontactemails.simplepractice.telehealth.jpg

  • If the client is having issues receiving the email with the link, you can also click Copy link to copy the link and manually send it to them by pasting it into a separate email or Secure Message 

copylink.simplepractice.telehealthappointment.png

Note: If the client's file does not indicate consent to email, you'll see the following notification, and you'll be able to click the Add email consent link to update their settings. 

noemailconsent.simplepractice.telehealth.jpg

Manually sharing the link on mobile

You also have the option to copy or share Telehealth links through the Android mobile app. This functionality will be released in the iOS mobile app soon. 

  • Navigate to the Calendar tab and select the appointment
  • Tap the green link button 
  • Select Copy link if you want to copy the Telehealth link and share it with the client manually 
  • Select Send reminder if you want to automatically send the client an email reminder with the Telehealth link 
    • If your client doesn't have email consent, you will need to go to the SimplePractice web app to indicate consent to email 

Note: See Getting started with the SimplePractice mobile app to learn more about using the SimplePractice mobile app. 


Multi-client support on Telehealth

Up to two clients can join the same Telehealth video call. Each client can join the video call through the link provided in either the email or text appointment reminder.

When Telehealth is launched on the web version or mobile app, each participant will need to enter their name. After entering their name, they'll be able to click Join Video Call and begin the appointment. 

On the web version, you'll see the participant on the center of the screen, and yourself in the upper right corner:

telehealth.simplepractice.telehealth.jpg

On the mobile app, you'll see the participant on the center of the screen, and yourself on the bottom right corner:

telehealthmobile.simplepractice.telehealth.jpg

To schedule a Telehealth appointment for two clients, you can create a couples appointment on the calendar. If both clients have email reminders enabled, they will each receive a link to join the call through their appointment reminder sent about 10 minutes prior to the start of the Telehealth appointment. 

If your clients do not have email reminders enabled, you can also choose to manually send the video appointment link to each member of the couple by copying it from the appointment on the calendar. To do this, navigate to the calendar, then:

  • Click the appointment 
  • Click Share Link 
  • Click Copy link 

copylink.simplepractice.couplestelehealthappointment.png

  • Paste the link into a separate email or Secure Message to manually send it to them

Note: See Enhanced Client Management for Couples to learn more about creating Couple Profiles and scheduling couple appointments. 


Using Telehealth on a mobile device

You and your clients have the option to download the Telehealth by SimplePractice mobile app to join the video call from a smartphone or tablet. You can download it from the app store:

Note: Though you can hold Telehealth calls using mobile data, we recommend WiFi instead since it provides a more stable connection. The quality of Telehealth calls on mobile data can fluctuate highly depending on your geographical location. We estimate that the data used on a Telehealth session will be between 2-20 MB/minute, though this can vary depending on your reception and internet speeds.

To join a Telehealth call, follow these steps:

  • Open your SimplePractice mobile app 
  • Click Schedule and then select your appointment 
  • Click Start video appointment
  • The Telehealth by SimplePractice app will launch automatically 
    • The first time you launch the Telehealth app, you'll see a Welcome screen that will give you some helpful tips on how to best optimize your Telehealth experience
    • Swipe or tap Next to go through the helpful tips
    • If you'd like to skip these tips and go straight to your Telehealth appointment, click Skip

skip.simplepractice.telehealthappointment.png 

  • Enter your unique video appointment link and click Continue

videolink.simplepractice.telehealthappointment.png

  • You'll be taken to a preview mode where you can preview your camera, turn your camera on or off, mute or unmute yourself, and view your connection status
    • Note: If you try to join the appointment without entering your name, you'll get an error message
  • Enter your name, and click Join Appointment Now

joinappointmentnow.simplepractice.telehealthappointment.png

  • You can enter your appointment via landscape mode if you'd prefer by flipping your device

vertical.simplepractice.telehealthappointment.png

  • Once you've entered your call, you can access your call settings by clicking the three dots on the top-right of your call screen

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  • In these settings, you can view the number of participants in your call, flip your camera, hide self view, and view your speaker settings

Screen sharing on Telehealth

Note: You can only screen share while using Telehealth on a computer or iPad. We recommend making sure that your browser is up-to-date and that you've given your browser permission to share your screen through Telehealth

If you're joining a Telehealth call from your iPad or web browser, you'll be able to share your screen. Follow these steps to begin:

  • Join the video call.
  • Click Share and select Your screen.
    • If you’re using Safari, you’ll begin sharing your entire screen immediately.
    • If you’re using Chrome or Firefox, you’ll be prompted to select the view you’d like to share (entire screen, application window, or browser tab on Chrome and entire screen or application window on Firefox).
      • Note: If you play audio while sharing a tab on Chrome, your client will be able to hear it. We recommend both you and your client wear headphones for the best audio experience.
    • If you’re on an iPad, tap Start Broadcast to begin sharing your entire screen.
  • Click Stop sharing when you're done. 

Tip: You also have the option to switch between Speaker and Grid Views and pin the active speaker while screen sharing. To see the buttons and icons for these features, hover your cursor over the Telehealth browser window. For more information on these additional Telehealth features, see Optimizing your Telehealth experience with additional features

Google Chrome

If you're using Google Chrome on a Mac and you're experiencing issues with screen sharing, it may be because screen recording isn't enabled for your browser. You can navigate to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Screen Recording and make sure that Google Chrome is selected. 
screenrecording.simplepractice.telehealth.jpg

Note: To screen share with audio, make sure you're using the most up-to-date version of Chrome. After clicking Share > Your screen, choose a Chrome tab to share, select Share tab audio, and click Share.screensharingaudio.simplepractice.telehealth.png

Mozilla Firefox

Similar to Google Chrome, if you're experiencing issues with screen sharing while using Mozilla Firefox on a Mac, make sure that screen recording is enabled for your browser. To enable screen sharing for Mozilla Firefox, navigate to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Screen Recording and confirm that Mozilla Firefox is selected.

Safari

If you're running into issues sharing your screen on Safari, you'll want to make sure that your Safari settings aren't set to automatically deny screen sharing. To check this, go to Safari > Preferences > Websites > Screen Sharing and make sure that video.simplepractice.com is set to Ask.

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Here’s what it’ll look like when you share your screen for a client on a web browser: 

screenshare.simplepractice.telehealth.jpg

Here’s what it’ll look like when you share your screen for a client on the mobile app: 

screensharemobile.simplepractice.telehealth.jpg

Note: Screen sharing is only available if you're accessing Telehealth from a computer or iPad. This feature is not available for smartphones. The image above shows you what it would look like if someone on a computer or iPad shared their screen while you were accessing Telehealth from your mobile device.


Using a whiteboard on Telehealth

Note: At this time, the whiteboard feature is only available when accessing Telehealth from a web browser. See How to set up your browser for SimplePractice to make sure you’re using the most up-to-date version of your browser. If a participant is joining the video call from their mobile device, they’ll be able to view a shared board, but not interact with it. 

With our integrated whiteboard feature, you can draw, type, and interact with clients during your Telehealth sessions. After joining the video call, follow these steps to share a whiteboard:

  • Click Share
  • Select Whiteboard

sharewhiteboard.simplepractice.telehealth.png

  • Select the tool you’d like to use
    • Click the pen icon and choose from one of six colors to start drawing
    • Click the text icon and select the font size and text color to add text
    • Click the selector arrow to select an element and rotate, resize, or drag it anywhere on the board
    • Click the picture icon to insert a file (JPEG, PNG, or PDF)

whiteboardtoolbar.simplepractice.telehealth.png

Note: If you’d like to share a worksheet or a diagram during a Telehealth session and have your client annotate it, click the picture icon, then select the image (JPEG/PNG) or PDF file you'd like to upload. You can then move, enlarge, and rotate this as needed. If a PDF has multiple pages, you'll be prompted to Select a page to insert.

  • Click Locked in the upper left corner to unlock the board and give your client edit access
    • The whiteboard will be Locked when you begin sharing by default
    • Only the person who started the board will be able to lock or unlock it
    • If a board is Unlocked, participants will be able to draw, type, and interact on the shared whiteboard 
  • To erase the entire board, click Clear 
    • To delete an element on the board, select the element using the selector arrow and click the trash icon
  • To save the contents of the board as an image, click Save 
  • Click Stop sharing to exit out of the whiteboard

If you’d like to be able to view a board after your call, make sure to click Save before exiting out of the board. All participants will see the option to Save in the upper left corner of the board, regardless of whether it’s Locked or Unlocked. Even if your client is sharing the board, you’ll still be able to click Save on your end. After saving the board as a JPEG file to your device, you can upload it to your client’s file. To learn more about storing client documents, see Sending intake forms and documents to clients.

Important: You won’t be able to recover the contents of a whiteboard if it’s been cleared or if you’ve stopped sharing.

Tip: You’ll have the option to hide or show self view and participants, as well as access chat while using Whiteboard. The controls for these features will appear when you move your cursor within the Telehealth window. For more information, see Optimizing your Telehealth experience with additional features.


Optimizing your Telehealth experience with additional features

Below are additional features in our Telehealth platform that can optimize your experience.

Tip: You won't see the controls for accessing the features below if your mouse is inactive. To see the buttons and icons for these features, hover your cursor over the Telehealth browser window.  

Switching between Speaker and Grid view

  • You can switch between Speaker view, which gives you a full focus view of the active speaker, and Grid view, which lets you view all participants side-by-side
  • To switch views: 
    • Click Grid/Speaker view in the upper right

speakerview.simplepractice.telehealth.jpg

Identifying the active speaker

  • The active speaker is easily identifiable by a yellow highlighted window when you're in the Grid view, or when a participant is pinned in the Speaker view

Pinning a participant

  • You can pin a participant, regardless of who's speaking
  • To pin a participant:  
    • Hover over their video stream 
    • Click the Pin video icon in the upper left 
  • To unpin a participant
    • Click the blue Unpin video icon in the upper left 

pin.simplepractice.telehealth.jpgHiding your self view

  • You can hide your self view so you can focus on your clients, while other participant(s) can still see you
  • To hide your self view:
    • Click Hide self view in the upper right 
  • To show your self view:
    • Click Show self view in the upper right 

hideself.simplepractice.telehealth.jpg

Hide participants in the side panel

  • You can hide participants in the side panel to focus on the active speaker
  • To hide/show participants: 
    • Click the Hide/Show participants button in the upper right 

hideparticipants.simplepractice.telehealthj.jpgTime elapsed

  • You can see how much time has elapsed in your Telehealth session by enabling the timer from the welcome screen before the start of an session, or directly from the Telehealth call window during the session
  • To enable this feature:
    • Click the gear icon in the upper right corner of your Telehealth screen
    • Click General
    • Toggle the switch to On

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  • Once this is enabled, the timer will appear in the upper left corner of your Telehealth window
  • If you clear your browser's cache or are holding a Telehealth session from a new device or browser, you'll need to enable the Telehealth timer again

Audio settings

  • You can choose a separate microphone and speaker for Telehealth sessions from your settings
  • To choose a different microphone and speaker, follow these steps:
    • Click the gear icon in the upper right corner of your Telehealth screen
    • Click Audio

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  • Use the drop down menu to select the correct equipment
  • Note: The speaker option is only available on Google Chrome. It's not currently available on Safari

Chat 

  • If you need to send a message to your client during a Telehealth session, you can use our Chat feature
  • To use chat, click the Chat icon

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  • The chat window will appear where you can send messages to your client during the call

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  • Note: Chat messages will be deleted as soon as the call is ended

Backgrounds

  • If you'd like to remove any possible environmental distractions, you can blur, crop, or enable a virtual background in your Telehealth video
  • To do this, click the gear icon in the upper right corner of your Telehealth window

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  • Choose Background

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  • Select None, Crop, Blur, or choose from the virtual background options

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  • Click the X to return to the Telehealth session

Multitasking mode on iPad

  • When using an iPad to conduct a Telehealth session, you can utilize multitasking mode to view another window and your client at the same time

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  • When in landscape mode, you can click and drag the divider to adjust the Telehealth app screen accordingly

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Note: For additional details on how to use multitasking mode on iPad, see: Use multitasking on your iPad.


Getting your clients ready for Telehealth

Here are some common questions clients may ask, along with recommended responses:

 Client questions  Recommended responses
 What is Telehealth? “Telehealth allows us to meet through audio and video over the internet.”
 How does Telehealth work? "You’ll be sent a link for the video appointment. Click on it when our appointment is scheduled to start or open it through the Telehealth by SimplePractice app (which you can download for free in the app store). You can use the camera and audio on your computer or mobile device.”
 Why should I try Telehealth? "We are very excited about this new option because it means no waiting and travel time, and you won’t have to take time off work or other priorities. Plus, it’s 100% HIPAA compliant and secure.”
 How much will it cost? "Your cost for a video appointment will vary depending on the coverage you have with your insurance provider. Most insurances charge a copayment just like traditional appointments, and it most likely will be the same amount. We can determine your exact coverage and what your copay will be before we schedule an appointment.”

Tip: You can send your clients this guide to prepare them and answer commonly asked questions: Telehealth FAQs for clients.


Additional tips for success

  • We recommend joining the video appointment 5-10 minutes before the scheduled time so you can make sure that everything is set up correctly. 
  • Restart your computer every day for it to run as efficiently as possible.
  • Close any unnecessary programs and applications on your computer before joining a Telehealth call. These take away from resources needed for your computer to run efficiently.
  • Keep your software and operating system up to date. Install recommended updates only from sources you trust. 
  • You may need to adjust the volume or mute/unmute your speakers to prepare for the call. We also recommend keeping a pair of headphones nearby in case you need to use them for improved audio/voice. 
  • Clients might want to cancel or have questions about the appointment before the start time. Make sure you are actively checking your email and phone.
  • When your video camera is turned on, there is more strain on your internet connection which can impact the audio quality during in a Telehealth call. If your audio becomes choppy, your connection or your client's may not be strong enough to support a live video stream. Turning off your camera, or asking your client to turn off theirs, may help to improve the audio quality of the call. 
  • Download the Telehealth Checklist to keep on-hand for your first Telehealth appointments. 

Sources

  1. Healthcare IT Market by Product End User (March 2017). Global Forecast to 2021.
  2. American Well (2017). Telehealth Index: 2017 Consumer Survey. Available online at http://go.americanwell.com/2017ConsumerSurvey.html.
  3. Bureau of Health Workforce, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Designated Health Professional Shortage Areas Statistics: Designated HPSA Quarterly Summary, as of December 31, 2017.
  4. American Well (2015). Telehealth Index: 2015 Physician Survey. American Well Blog. Available online at http://info.americanwell.com/telehealth-index-2015-consumer-survey.
  5. Hilty, Ferrer, Parish, Johnston, Callahan & Yellowlees. (2013). The effectiveness of telemental health: A 2013 review. Telemedicine Journal and e-Health, 19, 444–454.
  6. Washington State Telehealth Implementation Guidebook. Available online at
    https://www.dshs.wa.gov/sites/default/files/BHSIA/FMHS/DSHSTelehealthGuidebook.pdf.

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