What’s the Benefit of Being a Client With an Online Group Practice vs. a Bigger Hub?
by, Synergy eTherapy Staff
How confidential is it really?
When a client confides in a therapist, the expectation is that the therapist will listen attentively, help their client work through issues, and keep the shared information confidential.
Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), health care providers and their business associates must establish and adhere to practices that guarantee “the confidentiality and security of protected health information (PHI) when it is transferred, received, handled, or shared.”
While there are obvious problems with breaching confidentiality regarding any health information, mental health data is particularly sensitive. Major concerns have been raised regarding the integrity of big online therapy companies. Are clients’ data being protected? Are these companies profiting off mental illness?
A recent experiment was conducted by Jezebel to analyze how one such company silently transfers patients’ data to third parties such as Facebook, Snapchat, Google, and more for advertising purposes. Using the information patients provide during an intake process such as gender, age, sexual orientation, and some mental health history, different social media platforms exploit this information to better advertise to their audience.
After doing some research on one of these bigger companies, I started getting ads on Instagram to sign up myself.
What is this like for licensed therapists to not have a say in their treatment confidentiality of their shared clients? It’s one thing to create an avatar on those who like your FB Page or on those who Google the company for more information. It’s another thing to take client’s intake information people use during signing up and/or from a therapy session and use this for re-targeting. Where is the line?
Technology and social media unavoidably impact our lives in many ways. Business analytics services companies track our behavior to produce magnetizable data, target communication, and figure out how to get us to repeatedly open apps. However, there is no reason for Facebook or other platforms to know PHI such as when someone last had a suicidal thought.
“…there is no reason for Facebook or other platforms to know PHI such as when someone last had a suicidal thought.”
Shop Local. Benefits of an Online Therapy Group Practice.
Despite some drawbacks that come with sharing personal information with bigger online therapy companies, online mental health therapy has become a booming and meaningful, needed industry. You just have to find the right practice.
At Synergy eTherapy, we are small, trusted, and dedicated to providing the most constructive mental health counseling as possible. Our lives are hectic, so eTherapy is a convenient way for patients to talk on the phone or video chat with their therapist in whatever environment is most comfortable for them. We also offer late night and weekend appointments to accommodate busy schedules.
Synergy prioritizes the protection of your confidential information, so you can rest assured that your PHI is kept private and secure with 128 bit encryption.
We know all of our therapists/psychologists and work together closely.
We are a smaller company that takes pride in our integrity, openness with clients about our policies and systems, and protecting the rights of everyone we work with online.
We educate our therapists and clients alike on the pros and cons of online therapy in order to help our clients make the best choice for their healthcare needs.
We will NEVER sell your PHI information to third-parties for advertising or any other purposes.
Online mental health therapy is a powerful tool that can produce so much good in our society. If you or someone you know is considering eTherapy, let us show you its advantages in a safe, secure way.