Telepractice is the application of telecommunications technology to the delivery of professional services at a distance by linking clinician to client or clinician to clinician for assessment, intervention, and/or consultation. Telepractice includes a growing variety of applications and services using two-way video, email, smart phones, wireless tools, and other forms of telecommunications technology.
Step1: understand your guidelines and requirements
This may not be the most fun part of the process, but you are responsible for understanding guidelines and requirements from your national professional association (e.g., BPS, RCOT, RCSLT, or educational organization) as well as state laws and regulations for your practice, and for assessment specifically (links can typically be found through the NHS.org website).
Consult your national professional organization’s website regarding telepractice. You will be able to find guidelines and considerations for providing ethical and effective telepractice services.
Step 2: choose a platform
Take a close look at different teleconferencing services/packages that provide a picture-in-picture display and online tools that enable you to share your screen, use annotation tools, etc.) Confirm that the teleconferencing platform package that your work site is considering for purchase has features that enable you to meet GDPR, Children Act 1989, the Education Act 1996 and theEducation Act 2005. (e.g., encrypted transmission, secure login/access). Typically, Facebook and Skype are not secure sites for delivering telepractice services and would violate GDPR requirements for secure transmission, however, current events have led many public, private, and governmental organizations to temporarily relax their security guidelines to allow practitioners to continue to serve their clients.
The practitioner is still responsible for:
- Performing a risk analysis as part of security management processes
- Maintaining secured hard copies of documents on file (“secured” = “locked”) so that the information is only accessible/visible to authorized individuals
- Ensuring that hardware/software has security features so that files transmitted electronically are using secure systems (encrypted); only authorized individuals are present in sessions (secure login); and confidentiality is maintained regarding the client’s information and records.
In general, numerous platform options exist. It’s often possible to have a trial version of a platform before you choose one that best fits your needs.
Step 3: before conducting your first assessment
Again, best practice includes checking your professional organization’s website for training information, continuing education, professional resources, and/or participation in special interest groups within the organization.
Before conducting your first assessments, you will need to:
- Practice administering each assessment you use in a telepractice environment before you test your first examinee.
- Identify appropriate candidates for a remote test administration.
- Prepare the facilitator who will be with the examinee at the remote site (if applicable).
- Troubleshoot basic connection or technical issues.
- Practice, practice, practice!
Using Facilitators in a Telepractice Setting
Five Factors: Considerations for a positive assessment administration
Establish a quiet setting free from distractions.
Use a headset with a boom mic.
Discontinue testing if tech issues persist.
Assessment Procedures & Materials
Give the examinee breaks to play a game or have a discussion.
Ensure only authorized individuals are present in the session.
Try to minimize distractions such as phones, other children, loud noises, etc.
Consider any special testing needs.
Consider the purpose of evaluation/clinical context.
Identify type of assessment (screening, diagnostic, progress monitoring).
Step 4: conducting your first assessment
There are a few ways you can continue to provide support for your clients/students through telepractice.
Disinfecting test materials - tips for keeping materials clean
1. Q-global — Remote On-Screen Administration (ROSA)
If you are currently using Q-global to score tests you administer using paper protocols, then you first need to determine whether you (or your organization) has purchased Scoring Subscriptions or Score Reports/ Report Usages to accomplish this scoring.
Only Score Reports/ Report Usages allow you to generate score reports for tests that are administered using Remote On-Screen Administration (ROSA). Scoring Subscriptions provide you with scoring ability only for tests which you administer in paper format and manually enter item responses into Q-global. Depending on the type of assessment, you have two options:
Send the assessment in advance of a telepractice session and have the client fill it out on their own.
Send the assessment during your telepractice session so you can monitor the client while they are filling it out.
Remote administration preparation - tips for examinees
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How to assign an assessment using remote onscreen administration
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2. Q-global – Digital Administration Materials in the Resource Library
The Q-global Resource Library holds a multitude of digital stimulus books, manuals, and additional administration materials for your use in telepractice contexts. To use the stimulus books and other administration materials remotely, refer to the guidance in the “Using Your Digital Assets on Q-global” file in the Resource Library General folder for those products that have digital assets.
Watch one of our on-demand tutorials to see how Q-global can help you stay connected when you can’t meet face-to-face.
If you already have a Q-interactive subscription, you can provide remote administration by following these instructions:
1. Log into QI Central and create or select a client.
2. Sign assessment(s) to the client and send to the iPad.
3. Log into QI Assess on the iPads.
4. Log into a telepractice platform (e.g., Zoom, Hangouts, etc.)
5. Mirror the client/examinee iPad on to your computer.
6. Screenshare the mirrored client/examinee iPad on your computer through your telepractice platform to show the stimulus item(s).
7. Advance through the test items, following prompts on the practitioner iPad.
8. Record the examinee response (verbal, by use of the mouse, or visual touch documented by facilitator) to each item on the client iPad.
Please note that this scenario requires significant technical skill, additional software, and extensive practice.
Step 5: after the assessment
Once you’ve completed an assessment:
- Ensure that examinee information isn’t visible on a computer screen or in unlocked files.
- Review the testing session: Did you obtain a good representation of the examinee?
- Document any additional notes.