ONLINE AND SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE, CLIENT REVIEWS AND DIGITAL ETHICS DISCLOSURES.
It is important that you understand that the HIPAA secure digital server use by the practice of LaRose and elsewhere is NOT THE SAME THING AS DIGITAL SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS.
Social media platforms that are not-secure and non HIPAA secure: Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snap Chat, Google Hangouts, Facetime, Tublr , Blogs, and online client reviews – as well as an ever increasing list of social media platforms exist.
In November of 2017 the National Association of Social Workers advanced and developed its social media and digital online policy statements in its national code of ethics. The most recent governing protocols for the practice of LaRose can be found at the NASW site: www.socialworkers.org (see code of ethics). It is explained generally here as well.
Clients using other digital platforms (again not the secure client portal here) that is social media, relating to the practice in any way, may run the risk of identifying themselves as a patient/client. Users should use caution in other non-secure platforms.
Professional Social Media Uses vs. Personal Social Media Uses. These must be distinguished in mental and medical health services, unlike say a plumber might do with their social media. LaRose maintains a large social presence on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram (and a myriad of other platforms). Users may access LaRose via other social medial platforms ONLY IN THE PROFESSIONAL ONES USED BY LAROSE – however – in so doing you COULD run the risk of identifying yourself (or being identified by others) as a client to the practice. USERS WHO ARE CLIENTS AND WHO ELECT TO FOLLOW AND/OR ENAGE IN PROFESSIONAL SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS ARE HEREBY INFORMED OF SUCH A RISK.
The personal platforms, under Kurt LaRose (absent the professional nomenclature above) is not permitted between clients and LaRose thus any link requests where such is known to be with a client and LaRose in a personal platform – will be refused by LaRose at the personal level. Professional contacts @talkifuwant are okay, however disclosures of self as a client is NOT recommended.
Personal platforms that you may access where LaRose may also have a presence, if you were to notify me directly requesting “friend, follower…” connections, will either be declined, ignored and/or a brief link to the online social media policy statement – this one – will be sent as the reply (or non-reply). Personal platforms, to the degree possible have certain limitations in how people can communicate.
Professionally practice related content in social media and other web presence is available using the search terms TalkifUwant, Talk2day, Kurt LaRose MSW LCSW. Personal access, where the Talkifuwant and Talk2day and the credentials (MSW, LCSW, LICSW) are not used, would be in the absence of such professional language – with my first and last name only.
Client reviews of the services by LaRose are encouraged as long as there are no rules or laws prohibiting such in the areas of google reviews, healthgrades, yelp, and likes of various kinds). Be aware if you engage in the review process as you may be identifiable (check with the vendor of the professional review products if you leave reviews, in how to maintain your privacy). Due to the nature of the mental healthcare business I recommend that in reviews you use initials or alias’ where the vendor permits it; some will require verification (yelp, healthgrades, and others for example) and will allow you to post your review anonymously.
“I’ve been writing and speaking about digital practice models and electronic services before even the jargon about the business model existed. As early as 2010 I wrote my first comments and then in 2012 highlighted the lagging timelines for professional associations and regulatory bodies to articulate the standards. Similarly, I’ve been using social media professionally before the NASW and others had their first policy statement on its uses. Now, social media and social media policies are a real thing! I love online work and so do consumers! My various online work dates back to 2006 with fillable forms and online databases. That was before ‘secure servers’ were a thing in the private practice mental health world! The evolution of online programs, services, and platforms – in schools, mental health, and other settings create some unique challenges – some laws can seem to conflict one another! Either way, the consumer base demanding online services makes the encrypted business platform ideal and it makes a social policy statement – a non-negotiable.”
Online reviews increasingly provide the tools by which providers using online social services models are being employed and recruited by clients. Please keep the practice in mind when/if you make referrals, as you consider using these services, and whether that is with online reviews or direct person to person suggestions, please do what is most comfortable to you.
Reviews and referrals should be done anonymously as much as that is possible, without identifying yourself by name. LaRose cannot acknowledge or deny seeing a person without written consent, thus if a referral is made LaRose (online or otherwise) LaRose will not identify the referring party as a patient/client.
Online Review Responses. Unlike general product and non-privacy-regulated services, medical professionals could not respond to a specific review publicly as this might identify the reviewer even to the online vendor. Identification of clients cannot occur in any way that could identify a client.
Marketing of reviews is something that the practice might do, however this would not occur by LaRose in an identifying way. If LaRose were to post or copy a review from an online post, he may be able to, by the content of the review to easily identify the reviewer. As long as it is only LaRose who can do so, please be aware that reviews may be linked to the professional media platforms that LaRose utilizes. If LaRose were ever to ask to use a specific review where you would be or could be identified, as is required by the current HIPAA consent standards and the standards of care in general, a marketing release or request would be utilized; it is the usual practice of LaRose to NOT utilize reviews or to ask clients for permission to use their reviews. In any regard, if this were the case, you would be asked to sign a form or consent in a secure server format – and you would have the absolute right to refuse.
The secure server (where you log in) is NOT social media. No other party, besides LaRose and office personnel that may be needed to affect your care/services (if they are involved at all), can access your file in the secure HIPAA compliant platform. Emailing, journaling, video and chat sessions, all records, forms and billing information – and the entire clinical record – all records – are encrypted, end to end (from therapist to client and from client to therapist) ONLY. Users of the secure digital platform cannot cross communicate or access another client’s information as the server is a client by client secure file within the online secure server of the practice.
Texting Therapy and Business Phones and Email Addresses: these are not considered a HIPAA secure form of therapy. The complexities of texting in particular are related to HIPAA Business Associate Agreement requirements and the number of parties who could access copies of text to text phone numbers (and text message content) within very large SMS based providers and networks. Clients who text LaRose about specific mental health situations will be asked to log into the secure server to communicate in the encrypted platform. General texting comments, questions, and concerns are generally considered an okay form of communication, as are appointment reminders for sessions and the like. Company phones and company email address accounts are NOT recommended for use with the practice and you are notified here NOT to use such numbers and email addresses due to the uncertainties of confidentiality.
All of these terms are discussed and included in the registration process with the practice, where you will be required to sign off and agree to them, prior to engaging the services of LaRose.
The former NASW policy statement regarding online communications and records with developing standards in online social services communications is no longer available (the page has been removed, http://www.naswdc.org/ldf/legal_issue/2007/200704.asp, due to updated policy terms). The online digital and social media changes to the NASW Code of Ethics detail specific competencies and standards related to social media uses by providers in the field. This practice believes it is, with this online social media policy statement here, along with continuing education, as well as years of practicing in digital models predating such standards and CEU options, in compliance with – meeting and/or exceeding them. The current code of ethics with such media standard policy statements and guidelines is available on the socialworkers.org site, specifically at: http://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/Code-of-Ethics-English
Articles and information about digital server technology is incorporated to nearly all of the Talkifuwant.com website, linking to the secure server and such articles. Users may peruse the public domain (www.talkifuwant.com) and the secure server area.