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Technology Q & A For Therapists

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1 Technology Q & A For Therapists
Beverly Swann, MA, MFT Technical Consultation and Support For Therapists Contra Costa Solano Note: a copy of this presentation can be downloaded from:

2 Technology Q & A For Therapists
Agenda Note: If you don’t understand a term I use, please ask me! Websites Buying new technology products Security and confidentiality concerns Questions and Answers

3 Important questions to ask yourself:
Websites: How do I get a website that works for me, is easy to modify and maintain, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? Important questions to ask yourself: A website is a tool. What do I need this tool to do for me? How much time and/or money am I willing to spend per year? Do I want to be able to modify the site myself? Do I want to be able to move to a different host/provider if I’m unhappy with my first choice? Do I plan to use advanced features such as selling products or conducting surveys from my site?

4 Other Considerations:
Websites Other Considerations: Disk Space - refers to how much space you can take up on the host server. Important if you plan to include documents, audio, or video on your site. Bandwidth - refers to how much time the host allows you to take up on their server. Limited bandwidth can mean that, once a certain number of people look at your site during the month, no one else is allowed to visit it for that month. Domain name - this is the name of your website. Example: Some hosts will not allow you to move your domain name to another host, meaning extra costs around changing your site name. addresses - most hosts provide at least one address. You may want more. For example, if you are using your site to let people sign up for a group you are holding, you might want their s to go to a separate address.

5 Websites: Options Comparison

6 Websites: Cost Options
Prices vary widely - do some research by searching on “website hosting” and “website templates” Paying for a year is often less expensive, but also locks you into a host who may not be reliable or responsive. Check out for reviews of site hosts. If paying someone to build your site, consider/ ask about maintenance fees and how long the turn-around is for changes.

7 Cost/Benefit Analysis
Technology Products: With all of the new products constantly hitting the market, what makes sense for my practice? Cost/Benefit Analysis Time Savings Efficiency Reliability Upgrades Frustration Level Quality of Life

8 Technology Checklist Will this increase customer service or convenience for my clients? Will this be a significant time savings for me? What is the learning curve for using this product? How difficult is it to set up? Do they have tech support if there are problems? Will my clients’ confidentiality be compromised? Will my privacy be compromised? How does this improve the quality of my work/private life? Get input from other users before buying.

9 Technology - A Word On Online Social Networking
Fun, convenient way to network with other professionals Easy way to stay in touch with family and friends Not very secure - websites and databases are hacked all the time Never post your home phone or address Never post anything that you would be ashamed for a client to see Use caution when chatting, tweeting, or otherwise communicating online - people can pretend to be someone they are not.

10 Security And Confidentiality
Concerns When Using Technology To Transmit Client Information HIPAA Standards Ethical Standards Clinical Concerns

11 Security/Confidentiality And Technology
Use common sense. Always ask yourself “How secure is this?” For all computers, have up-to-date virus protection and passwords for logging in. If using a network connection, have up-to-date firewalls in place. If you keep client notes or other records on a computer, password protect each document. Lock up laptops when not in use. When stepping away from a computer, always put it in “lock” mode or shut it down, so that passers-by cannot sneak a peek.

12 Security/Confidentiality And Technology
Do not leave laptops, cell phones, smartphones, or any other technology device that contains client information in the cab of your car. Good: lock them in your trunk, even for quick trips into the store. Better: don’t leave them unguarded ever. Cars can be broken into and/or stolen very quickly. For voic message boxes, give no one else your password. When sending faxes, ensure that there is someone on the other end to receive the fax so that it does not sit around in a public place or is not sent to an incorrect fax number. Anything sent over the internet cannot be guaranteed to be secure. Use encryption, password protection, and follow all directions for online billing sites. Whenever you use any wireless device, remember it is possible for others to be “listening in.”

13 Security: Backups Backup your computer files at least monthly. Good rule to live by: how much information are you willing to lose/recreate? Online backup systems may seem convenient, but consider the confidentiality/security very carefully. Backup your cell phone/smartphone frequently. They sometimes get lost, stolen, or damaged, and it can make your life miserable to replace the lost information. If using a thumb/flash drive for backup, keep it in a secure location. Be very careful not to leave it in a public computer!

14 Security: Online Calendars and Appointment Reminder Systems
Synching with an online calendar may be convenient, but client names are at risk, even if you use initials. Example: client has a stalker ex-boyfriend who also is an amateur computer hacker. Explore programs that send only time information through the internet. Online appointment reminder systems can be very effective at reducing no-shows, but also may put clients at risk. Always get a signed release from clients before divulging their information to a web-based company or application.

15 Questions And Answers ? ? ?

16 Technology Q & A For Therapists
Beverly Swann, MA, MFT Technical Consultation and Support For Therapists Contra Costa Solano Note: a copy of this presentation can be downloaded from:

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