Union gives strength. ~Aesop (620 BC-560 BC)
The National Initiative for Telehealth Framework of Guidelines was an important milestone in the development of the telehealth field in Canada. The NIFTE Framework of Guidelines consists of a structured set of statements designed to assist individuals and organizations with the development of telehealth policies, procedures, guidelines, and/or standards.
The document examines five main content areas related to telehealth:
• Clinical Standards and Outcomes
• Human Resources
• Organizational Readiness
• Organizational Leadership
• Technology and Equipment
A common myth about telepractice is that it is difficult to establish rapport or have quality interactions with the client. In my experience, only students who are best suited for on-line therapy participate in the remote program. With those students, I am equally successful with engaging them and developing a positive working partnership with them as I would be if we were in the same room.
The NIFTE Guidelines provided the following feedback about the quality of communication via telehealth: “Feedback from the survey, key informant interviews, and limited information from the telehealth literature indicated that the quality of communication in a telehealth setting can often be enhanced, compared to the traditional face-to-face encounter, if the health professional is appropriately oriented to the technical environment and the clinical application is conducive to the telehealth setting.” (p 31)
The document also includes suggestions for future consideration, such as the following about mutual recognition nation-wide: “A pan-Canadian mechanism or approach based on mutual recognition or special license that was accepted and administered by the individual professional regulatory/licensing bodies in each jurisdiction would go a long way toward ensuring quality of care, consistency of service and integration of telehealth into the mainstream health care delivery system.” (p 44)
This is a link to the full report: http://www.ehealthstrategies.com/files/telemed_canada_guide.pdf
Marnee Brick, MSc
Speech-Language Pathologist and Director of Speech Therapy
TinyEYE Therapy Services (Speech Therapy Telepractice)