Are you considering using an online consulting platform for registration? If so, are you concerned about the ethics of online therapy and the safety measures taken to protect you and your therapist?

These issues are effective and worthy of careful consideration.

Let us explore these issues to solve them.

At the beginning of the discussion, it is worth noting that state and federal laws apply to online and face-to-face treatment. In short, these laws are packaged as the “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act” or “HIPAA.” Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that if you contract with a licensed psychotherapist, federal law requires that your personal details and medical history be kept confidential.

How secure is the online platform? How does the online consultation platform protect its user data? Are there any security flaws? If so, what should I do?

All in all, online platforms must comply with the laws in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

But, as Rogers and Hammerstein said in their famous lines in The Sound of Music, “Let’s start from the beginning. This is a good starting point.”

What is online or remote treatment?

Online therapy is defined as psychotherapy, which involves the interaction between the patient and the therapist through a digital platform rather than face-to-face treatment in the office.

Online treatment takes place in one of two formats:

  • Real-time treatment via video or voice call or text messaging app
  • Delayed treatment via e-mail or text message that did not respond directly

COVID-19: The benefits of online treatment

Even though online therapy has limitations, it is getting more and more attention, especially in the COVID-19 world far from society.

One of the biggest challenges facing the world we live in is the need to maintain social distance to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The federal and state governments cannot allow copying or the R number exceeds 1.

What is the R rate?

In short, reproductive number is a method of determining the ability to transmit disease. In other words, this is the average number of other people infected by a person who can be infected. Statistics show that the R rate of measles is 15. Therefore, one person has the ability to spread measles to 15 people.

Even if the average R ratio of the coronavirus is only 3, it has affected 33 million people worldwide and caused approximately 998 500 deaths. The biggest difference between measles and the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is the effective measles vaccine, and scientists are still working to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus.

Finally, the world population has no natural immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus because it is a new (novel) virus. Some countries like the United Kingdom and Sweden initially chose to control the virus through herd immunization. By the way, the United Kingdom soon adopted mandatory lockdown and social distancing regulations to curb the spread of the virus.

Statistics show that the number of people suffering from mental illnesses (such as depression and anxiety) has increased. This is mainly due to the need to maintain social distance for a long time and the physical and economic pressure caused by the pandemic.

People are social beings. Therefore, staying away from the needs of others may cause serious mental health problems or exacerbate existing mental illnesses. Ironically, this is one of the negative effects of online therapy. It is not face to face. Therefore, there is no physical contact.

However, the demand for psychotherapy during the pandemic far exceeds the negative effects of online psychotherapy. One of the real benefits includes the ability to talk to a counselor at home during social distancing or social isolation.

Although many countries have reduced lockdown restrictions so that people can move around again, online therapy still has its advantages. The biggest benefit is efficiency and time saving, because you don’t have to go to the therapist’s room. Second, no matter where you are and where your therapist is, because you are in virtual contact, you can find the therapist that best suits your personality and challenges.

Online security

The article titled “The Impact of COVID-19 on Cybersecurity” describes “how the COVID-19 pandemic has forced organizations and individuals to adopt new practices, such as social evacuations and remote work.”

In these challenging times, although the world is concerned about the physical and economic threats caused by the coronavirus, cybercriminals are also taking advantage of this crisis. There has been an increase in phishing attacks, malware and ransomware attackers using COVID-19 as a decoy for counterfeit brands and customers and employees.

Therefore, you must be proactive when registering for online therapy. Make sure that the online platform you choose meets HIPAA requirements and carefully implement the latest encryption and network security best practices.

The online communication application Zoom is a good example of the need to implement the latest online security. When the COVID-19 lock-in began, the holding company was in the right place at the right time, and the product quickly became the digital conferencing application of choice for many people.

The company also advertises that they have implemented end-to-end digital encryption so that hackers cannot break into the application during work meetings. It is fast because it targets a group of hackers called the Zoom bomber. Second, privacy issues have been emphasized, “security researchers have found some very serious vulnerabilities.”

This situation is a nightmare for Zoom. The latest recorded incident is the hijacking of the Bible class in the church and the sharing of child pornography in online courses.

Final thoughts

The main disadvantage of the network security industry is that it must continue to evolve as hackers break through the latest firewalls and encryption methods. This situation has evolved into a cycle for network security engineers and researchers to develop new strategies. Once released and put into production, hackers will try to pass these measures. The cycle continues.

Therefore, it is important to ensure that the online treatment platform you register has not only implemented the latest cyber security and encryption best practices, but will still keep up with industry best practices and methods.

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