Hilty, D., Maheu, M., Drude, K., Hertlein, K., Wall, K., Long, R., Luoma, T. (2017). Telebehavioral health, telemental health, e-therapy and e-health competencies: The need for an interdisciplinary framework. Journal for Technology in Behavioral Science, 2(3–4), 171–189.
Telebehavioral health (TBH) in the form of synchronous video is effective, well received and a standard way to practice. Current guidelines and policies discuss the importance of good clinical, technical, and administrative components to care. A review of the TBH evidence-based literature across psychiatry/medicine, psychology, social work, counseling, marriage/family, behavioral analysis, and other behavioral sciences found no common TBH competencies across disciplines. The scope of professional guidelines and standards about technology are broad (e.g., practice of telepsychology; Internet and social media use in social work practice), to mid-range (e.g., American Telemedicine (ATA), American Counseling Association (ACA)), to narrow (e.g., preliminary “guidelines” for asynchronous communication such as e-mail and texts). There is only one set of competencies for telepsychiatry, which discusses skills, training and evaluation. These competencies suggested (1) novice/advanced beginner, competent/proficient, and expert levels; (2) domains of patient care, communications, system-based practice, professionalism, practice-based improvement, knowledge and technological know-how; and (3) pedagogical methods to teach and evaluate skills. Revisions to this framework and technology-specific competencies with additional domains may be needed. A challenge to competencies across disciplines may be finding consensus, due to varying scopes of practice, training differences and faculty development priorities. Disciplines and organizations involved with TBH need to consider certification/accreditation and ensure quality care.