Health Coaching Legalities: Telephonic/Virtual Coaching

*This blog discussion is intended for educational purposes only and should not take the place of or supersede the advice of an attorney or legal counsel*

In this “new normal” we have as we continue to push through this pandemic, Telehealth has become a huge part of the health care industry. This is no different for health coaches. In fact, offering Telehealth services can be an effective way for health coaches to stay in regular contact with patients who are moving through behavioral changes, but are concerned about going to an office or hospital for treatment. If they can talk to you on the phone or video chat with their health coach, therefore staying on a regular schedule, they could be much more successful than if they are trying to do it on their own when leaving the house is risky.

So, what do you need to know in order to offer these types of services to your clients/patients?

First, as you’ve heard us mention a lot throughout this blog series, now your state’s rules and regulations. This will be especially important if this virtual option opens you up to a new patient base that may not reside in your town or state.

Some states, “compact states” recognize a clinician’s license to practice in each of their states without requiring additional licensure or examinations. This may only apply to states that border your state, so make sure you know the in’s and out’s of how it works in your area.

The next hurdle is how you will protect your patient’s private information and keep your patient’s visits confidential. So, you need to make sure that whatever devices or platforms you are using are secure and private. It will be important for you to disclose this information to the patients who are utilizing this new service, preferably on a form they sign.

As always, remember that the patient should remain your focus during Telehealth interactions even if they cannot see you. Do not multi-task, do not use speaker phone (unless you are using a platform like Zoom where you use your computer speakers), and make sure you are using your active listening skills, especially if you are only talking over the phone and you cannot see the patient or their body language.

Next week we will continue this blog series with information on disclaimers, contracts, billing, and some service-specific topics!

Leave a Reply