Ethics and Risk Management: Confidentiality in the Digital World

We live in a time of murky and very informal boundaries. Privacy is a fundamental right, and while the general public may be throwing away that right, it is the responsibility of all therapists to keep client information private. Today, psychotherapists of all professional disciplines must make thoughtful decisions about whether and to what extent they will incorporate electronic technology into their professional lives. To practice ethically, therapists who use digital and other technology must develop privacy and confidentiality protocols. This program focuses on issues related to risk management, online counseling, and HIPAA.

This CE course is designated as intermediate.

Target audience: Target audience: Psychologists, mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, addiction counselors, social workers, case managers, nurses

You can access the audio to these interviews via your computer's MP3 player and/or read the text of the interviews.


Learning Objectives

Upon completing this program, you should be able to:

  • Identify ways to reduce the risk of breaching patient confidentiality
  • Create informed consent documents that detail your communication and privacy protocols
  • Discuss important HIPAA requirements for protecting patient privacy
  • Print Version / Test Preview
  • Part 1: Risk Management - Interview with Allan Barsky, JD, MSW, PhD
  • Part 2: Online Counseling - Interview with Rachel Birnbaum, PhD
  • Part 3: HIPAA - Interview with Laura Groshong, LICSW
  • Part 4: Bibliography
  • Part 5: Audio Version of Interviews
  • CE Test
  • Evaluation

Subject Matter Experts:

Allen Barsky, JD, MSW, PhD, is a professor of social work at Florida Atlantic University at Boca Raton. He has a background in law, social work, and conflict resolution. Dr. Barsky is past-chair of the National Ethics Committee of the National Association of Social Workers and the author of nine books, including Clinicians in Court, Conflict Resolution for the Helping Professions, and Ethics and Values in Social Work. Dr. Barsky also serves on the review board of the Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics.

Dr. Rachel Birnbaum is an associate professor cross-appointed in Childhood and Social Institutions (Interdisciplinary Studies) and Social Work at King’s University College at Western University, London, Ontario. Dr. Birnbaum has over 25 years of clinical practice experience working with children and families of separation and/or divorce. In the social work program she teaches law and ethics and has written and presented on these issues.

Dr. Birnbaum has also presented and published both nationally and internationally on access to justice issues, ethical decision-making in social work practice and working with high conflict families post separation and/or divorce. She is involved in several major research projects on high conflict families, children’s participation in family disputes, and children with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD) and parenting issues. She has published four books with her co-authors: (1) Child Custody Assessments: A Resource Guide for Legal and Mental Health Professionals; (2) Challenging Issues in Child Custody Disputes: A Guide for Legal and Mental Health Professionals; (3) Law for Social Workers (4th Edition) by Thomson Reuters; and (4) Practicing Social Work Research: Case Studies for Learning (2011) by the University of Toronto Press and is currently working on a Canadian textbook for social workers and applying ethical decision-making to various case vignettes that includes research and use of self.

Dr. Birnbaum was the 2014 recipient of the Stanley Cohen Distinguished Research Award presented by an international interdisciplinary organization, AFCC, for research in family justice. She was also the president of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers for four years, the president of the Canadian Council of Social Work Regulators for two years, and is now the president of AFCC-Ontario.

Laura Groshong, LICSW, is a licensed independent clinical social worker in private practice. She has been a registered lobbyist in Washington State since 2004 and represents six mental health groups on legislative matters related to access to ethical quality mental health treatment. She has worked with a variety of state agencies including the Department of Health, the Department of Licensing, the Health Care Quality Assurance Board, the Insurance Commissioner's Office, the Governor's Office, the state legislature, and other governmental groups, and she has worked in coalitions with other mental health lobbyists and organizations. She has been successful in contributing to the passage of seven bills in the state of Washington. In addition she has contributed to the passage and/or revision of social work licensure laws and rules in over 30 states. Finally, she has served as the Director of Government Relations for the Clinical Work Association nationally since July 2006, consulting on national legislation affecting mental health practice and clinical social work. Her latest book is entitled Clinical Social Work Practice and Legislation: an Overview.

APA approved, Yo! At Health is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. At Health maintains responsibility for the program and its content.

At Health is an approved provider of the California Board of Behavior Sciences (PCE 3319). These courses meet the qualifications for continuing education credit for MFTs, LPCCs, LEPs, and/or LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.

At Health is a provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (CA BRN), Provider # CEP 15512.

California Licensed Vocational Nurses and California Psychiatric Technicians can take online courses by California Board of Registered Nursing (CA BRN) approved providers, such as At Health, to fulfill their CE requirements.

NBCC approved, Yo! At Health, Inc. has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6719. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified.  At Health, Inc. is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

Programs are available for continuing education credit for social workers through the co-sponsorship of At Health, Inc., and Amedco, LLC.  Amedco, #1346, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Amedco maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 6/24/2016 to 6/24/2019. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. The following recognize the ASWB program: AB, AK, AL, AR, AZ, BC, CA, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NH, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA (PA requires that courses be at least 2 credits), RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VI, VT, WA, WI, and WY.  Participants must pass a posttest with a score of 80% or higher and complete an attendance/evaluation form in order to receive a certificate of completion/attendance.

Athealth.com is an approved provider of the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists, provider #908.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for social work in Arkansas.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for social workers, professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, master's level psychologists, licensed clinical psychotherapists, and alcohol and other drug abuse counselors in Kansas.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for mental health practice and for social work in Nebraska.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for psychologists, pastoral psychotherapists, clinical social workers, clinical mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, and alcohol and drug abuse counselors in New Hampshire.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for social workers, professional counselors, marital and family therapists, and clinical pastoral therapists in Tennessee.

NAADAC_logoAthealth.com is approved as a continuing education provider by the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) Provider #148460 (Exp. August 1, 2017).

The above CE sponsorships are honored by many additional state boards of social work, marriage and family therapy, and licensed professional counseling. Some restrictions may apply. Check with your state board or certifying organization to find out if online courses or home study are accepted as part of your continuing education requirement for license renewal or re-certification, or call At Health at 888-284-3258 for information regarding CE approvals.

Page last modified on July 27, 2016

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Type: Text and Audio    Credits: 3 CE    Price: $55   Refund Policy
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