Email and Texting in Mental Health Practice: Legal-Ethical, Clinical and Risk Management Issues

Prerecorded webinair originally presented February 23, 2021

Roy Huggins of Person Centered Tech 

1.5 CE credit hour

Texting and emailing have become ubiquitous in our modern communications and many clients prefer the convenience of texting or emailing over calling. But, there are a few considerations that need to be accounted for in order to fit email and texting into your practices without legal or ethical implications.

  •  Can we use text/email and be HIPAA compliant? 
  •  Is it really true that clients can request that I send them unencrypted emails?
  •  What options are available to me for email and texting services that work for my HIPAA needs? 

This presentation will address how email and texting fit into the professional practice and HIPAA landscape, vital perspectives on secure and non-secure emails and texts, general risk management concerns, professional engagement with clients by email or text, and finally the big questions of what and how to document all those messages exchanged with clients.

Learning Objectives:

  • Choose email and texting types that support HIPAA compliance and ethical decision making
  • Document messages exchanged with clients securely, legally, and ethically
  • Manage ethical and effective boundaries around mobile, textual communication with clients
  • Communicate in a professional manner when using mobile, textual communication with clients

Roy Huggins, Founder, Person Centered Tech

Roy was an independent web developer for many years before making the transition to a therapy private practice. He quickly found that the mental health profession needed expert guidance on technology topics. Roy founded Person-Centered Tech (PCT) in 2010 after helping answer a colleague’s questions about legal and ethical use of email. His research to answer that first question exposed him to the industry’s difficulties applying the HIPAA-mandated risk assessment perspective to issues of technology

Since 2010, Roy has continuously worked to expand his understanding of his colleagues’ needs and stay up-to-date with the ever-evolving digital world. He’s also found the time to teach ethics at Portland State University, serve on the board of the Oregon Counseling Association and the Zur Institute Advisory Committee, consult with counselor licensing boards and individual therapists on issues relating to technology in therapy practice, and contribute to a number of publications.