When identifying a telepractice platform, consider the following:
- What way would you like to communicate with the client - by telephone, smartphone, or web-based (online/computer)?
- Do you need to see the client or is a conversation (only) appropriate?
- Does the system or platform sufficiently secure client information?
- What are the risks and benefits of using the platform? Do the benefits outweigh the risks?
- Will you be able to safely complete your services or will you need to modify your practice depending on which system/method of telepractice you choose?
- For web-based/online systems:
- Is the system encrypted or compliant with PHIPPA? If not, consider ways to secure client information (e.g. use initials or non-identifying information only).
- How is information transmitted, processed, and stored?
- How complex/user friendly is the platform? Will clients be able to manage independently? Do you, and the client, know how to use the system competently?
- Are there any risks associated with its use? If so, your client needs to be made aware of them and provide consent to proceed. Clients can choose to accept risk but they need to have all the information to help them make their decision to consent or not.
- Does the platform offer orientation materials/webinars and technical support should you need it?
- Can you speak to a representative to help you assess the option?
- For telephone/smart phones:
- What access does your client have?
- How secure are your conversations? Are they listening in a hands-free mode?
- Are volumes adjustable?
Platforms to consider
Although the following platforms indicate they are compliant to HIPPA and/or PHIPPA legislation it is up to the individual occupational therapist to verify it meets requirements and/or your client understands the risks to using the platform and provides consent to its use. This is not an exhaustive list and systems change regularly so you are responsible for selecting and maintaining your system appropriately. OSOT does not recommend nor endorse any of these platforms and suggest that you research any platform prior to its use.
- Zoom Healthcare: indicates it is PHIPPA, PIPEDA, and HIPPA compliant. Is $200 per month with the option for added savings with an annual plan. Zoom offers other solutions, including a free version, however, it does not meet privacy requirements. Ministry of Health Advisory and Tips for Safe Use of Zoom Platform
- Ontario Telehealth Network (OTN): For-profit healthcare provider/organization is $875/year + $175 set-up fee. Not-for-profit (more than 50% of your base funding comes from MOHLTC, LHIN, or OHIP) this is complimentary. NOTE: OTN offers registered occupational therapists discounted rates (approx. 17% savings) and waives the set-up fee.
- Nous Talk: Indicates compliance. You need to contact the company directly for rates.
- On Call Health: Indicates compliance. You need to contact the company directly for rates.
- Doxy.Me: Indicates compliance. Free with option to purchase upgrades.
- Jane: A Canadian company that provides web-based practice options that integrates scheduling, documentation, invoicing, etc. Secure and HIPPA compliant. Packages from $74/month.
- Webex: Offers free and paid plans. Free plan is not encrypted.
- Jitsi Meet: Encrypted and free. Unsure where information is stored and if it meets Canadian standards.
- GoTo Meeting: Free 14 day trial then plans start at $16.25/month. Encrypted and “HIPPA Ready”.
- Google Meet: Must have/create a Google account to use. Starts at $7.80/month with free 14 day trial option.
- Microsoft Teams: Free or paid plans. Encrypted.
- Adracare: Indicates compliance with PHIPPA, PIPEDA and HIPPA. Includes additional features such as charting, scheduling and reminders. Different plans starting at $14/month.
- Some other health professions such as physicians, have created lists of platforms.