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Assessment via telepractice: general guidelines

The use of assessment tools is a key area of study within the larger telepractice landscape. As professionals begin to adopt any new service delivery tool or model, it is imperative that they consider all the surrounding issues related to this change in service delivery method.

 

In general, the appropriateness of use of a specific assessment tool in the context of telepractice should be considered carefully. First, you are responsible for checking local laws and regulations for your clinical practice. Second, you should refer to guidelines from your professional association (e.g., BPS, RCSLT, RCOT) for further recommendations including ethical implications. Finally, you may use the information provided by Pearson on specific products to assist you in your clinical decision-making.

 

Along with a thorough review of the laws, guidelines, and professional association documents, you should consider the following:

 

the nature of the clinical relationship between the clinician and client--sometimes establishing a relationship face-to-face first is warranted

the purpose of the assessment--it may not be appropriate to administer a test remotely if you need to ensure the correct individual is taking the test, or if you need to observe the actual test administration in detail, or if there is a legal circumstance that dictates an in-person evaluation

the availability of a trained facilitator or independent support personnel

the availability of a remote testing environment that is free of distractions, and conducive to valid test taking

The following statement from the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) reminds clinicians that the use of any assessment or therapy using telepractice methods should be undertaken only after careful consideration of all relevant information:

 

product range
 PROD 1 TEST PROD 2
 WACI  FPL  BIS
WIS-V  FLOW  BACS

 

"Given the variability of rehabilitation clients, candidacy and appropriateness for telerehabilitation should be determined on a case-by-case basis with selections firmly based on clinical judgment, client's informed choice, and professional standards of care."

- ATA - A Blueprint for Telerehabilitation Guidelines, 2010, p.8

 

Pearson Clinical Assessment has compiled key references about the equivalence of paper and digital questionnaire responses, and is conducting ongoing studies to examine the use of selected interactive assessment content in digital and telepractice contexts. Please see selected references on each product page which provide support for the equivalence of test results with digital administration and/or specific guidance regarding the use of our tools within a telepractice. modality.

 

Implementation: a five-theme framework

Specific issues in the delivery of assessment via telepractice include, but are not limited to:

The age and characteristics of the examineeThe skill, experience, and training level(s) of the examiner

The assessment task format(s)Appropriate modifications of tasks delivered in a telepractice setting

The data supporting the valid and reliable modification of any use of norm-referenced scores validated on a paper administration in a telepractice environment

The legal requirements of any use of published test content in a telepractice context

A five-theme framework (Eichstadt, Castilleja, Jakubowitz, & Wallace, 2013) for addressing issues of assessment in telepractice may be helpful in identifying key areas of focus or concern for each assessment. The five themes are:

 

Audio/Visual Environment (e.g., sound quality, video quality, background distractions)

Examiner Factors (e.g., technological competence, familiarity with the test)

Examinee Factors (e.g., behavior, fatigue level, comfort with technology)

Test/Test Materials (e.g., type of task to be administered, format of stimulus, ease of use)

Other/Miscellaneous (e.g., purpose of the administration, nature of clinical relationship)

Please note that any change in the currently published formats of any test requires prior permission from Pearson before you begin to manipulate any copyrighted material. See the Legal Policies on our website for additional detail.

 

Professional guidelines and documents  

In 2010, the American Telemedicine Association published a sample set of guidelines for telepractice.

 

> View blueprint for Telerehabilitation Guidelines

 

Other professional organizations also have developed formal statements or documents relating to telepractice. For example:

 

> The British Psychological Society (BPS) 

 

> Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT)  

 

> Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) 

 

> UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) 

 

Across each professional practice domain, there are many different but related terms used to describe this service delivery model. Pearson Clinical Assessment uses the term telepractice as an umbrella term to reflect the most broad sense of the concept across the most settings, including schools, medical facilities, private practices, outpatient clinics, home-based care and others. The term telepractice also encompasses the broad array of activities currently used within this model, including interprofessional collaboration, consultation, direct service, supervision and more.

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