University Business May 2018 - 29

viewing "will help us get a pulse for what's
happening with students," says Mitchell
of AUCCCD, who is also senior director
for counseling, health and wellness at the
University of Buffalo.
Universities can advertise the service
through announcements to faculty and
staff; through student affairs, residential
life and the school newspaper; on posters
around campus; on the center's web pages;
and at freshman orientation.
Managing clinician
and institutional concerns
Counseling center directors say some clinicians are skeptical or uncomfortable
with the notion of counseling via videoconferencing. Some issues, like social anxiety, are better addressed in a group setting,
says Kathryn Kominars, associate director
for Counseling and Psychological Services
at Florida International University.
Sitting face-to-face with a therapist and
discussing the discomfort of an eating disorder or depression may produce better
outcomes, says Greg Ellis, director of counseling and psychological services at Cornell
University in New York, which uses telephone calls with clients as the first step toward providing counseling, a practice the
university has followed for 16 years.
Privacy is another concern. Online therapy is more susceptible to breaches than are
therapy notes from an in-person session,
says Ellis, who is a member of the American College Health Association's Mental
Health Section. Maintaining privacy can
involve simple rules about where the student is during a session-such as that a session must be canceled if the student doesn't
connect from a location with privacy.
Clinicians must also be careful to
practice only in the state where they are
licensed. So, for example, counselors can't
provide teletherapy via Skype or Facetime
MORE ONLINE

Telemedicine providers on
misconceptions about teletherapy
UBmag.me/teletherapy

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University health systems
invest in telehealth services
A handful of university medical centers around the country offer telemedicine
services to the broader community. Typically, these services are designed to
provide options for people who live in remote areas and tend to have less access
to health specialists.
East Carolina University Telemedicine Center: Started in 1992 and one of
the longest-running telemedicine operations in the nation. The university's
psychiatrists developed operational telepsychiatry guidelines now used
nationally. The center's telepsychiatry program works to connect 80 or more
hospital emergency departments across the state to provide assessments and
consultations to patients using telemedicine.
University of Mississippi Medical Center: Partners with nursing homes,
colleges and mental health clinics to deliver care from psychiatrists,
psychologists and other mental health professionals. In addition, wellness
programs for businesses, K12 schools and colleges use tablet computers and
online video appointments to help people better manage their health.
Telehealth at University of Utah Health: Connects the university's experts to
providers and patients in the Mountain West region and beyond. Telebehavioral
health services include crisis evaluations and traditional psychiatric evaluation/
medication management through interactive videoconferencing tools.
Employees can access virtual visits at no charge, while others pay a flat fee.

to a student studying abroad.
Institutional leaders may be concerned
about liability risk in an instance where
the therapist doesn't detect that the student may hurt themselves or others. Yet
remote counseling doesn't increase that
risk, says Kominars. "In every situation, if
we don't get the information, we can be at
risk for not knowing."
Counseling staff concerned about the
efficacy of virtual counseling can be assured of this: Multiple peer-reviewed studies have shown teletherapy is, in fact, just
as effective as in-person therapy in treating
conditions for which it's recommended.
In one study of patients with moderate depression, 53 percent of those who
had online therapy and 50 percent of

those who had face-to-face therapy could
no longer be diagnosed as depressed after
completing treatment. Three months later,
57 percent of the online therapy group had
no detectable depression, compared to 42
percent of those in the conventional therapy group. Satisfaction with treatment and
therapists was about equally high among
the two groups.
"Across the board, in numerous studies including several meta-analyses, telepractice is on par with in-person practice
in terms of efficacy," says Maheu. "The
outcomes are the same, in some cases
better."
Theresa Sullivan Barger is a Connecticutbased writer.
May 2018 | 29


http://www.UBmag.me/teletherapy http://www.universitybusiness.com

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