SELECTING A TELEHEALTH PARTNER

Get answers to your burning questions about taking your practice online.

Selecting a telehealth partner can be overwhelming.

We've compiled a complete resource to answer all of your questions and more...

One of our partners, TBHI (Telebehavioral Health Institute) , has a list of 30 questions you should ask when seeking the best telehealth company for your practice. They offer this webinar with 1CE frequently! We've made it simple by answering those questions and more right here.

Use the titles on the right to jump around the content as you'd like.

We believe thera-LINK should fit into your practice workflow just like Cinderella's shoe fit on her foot - Perfectly.

Table of Contents

Business Background


Our Story - the abbreviated version

thera-LINK has been in business since 2013 when our CEO, Carol Park, realized a need in her own private practice. Yes, our CEO is still in private practice today as it's her true passion! Anyways, Carol was searching for technology to allow her to connect securely with her clients via video as they went off to college and wanted to remain in her care. As such, she turned to her technology-inclined friend, Heather, and the rest is history. The two of them brought on Lori, a former social worker, to found the company and all three remain key partners in the day to day business - a rarity to have all founding partners still with the company four years later! In 2016, they added Casey Sprague to join as a partner and Chief Technology Officer. Casey drives our app forward using the latest and greatest technologies and security at the core. Together, the team understands the ins and outs of mental and behavioral health practices and works closely with our customers to build technology that fits right in the daily workflow of a private practitioner or group practice. 

We've also got an entire tech support team that works day and night (no, really!) to support customers. The tech ops team answers support calls and emails 24x7x365 and they love working with thera-LINK providers and clients to ensure they will have the best experience using thera-LINK.

Highlights:

  • Built by therapists for therapists
  • Deep understanding of workflow for practitioners
  • Belief in building technology that matters
  • 24x7 Tech Operations

If you'd like to learn more about our team, check out our About Us page. If you are interested in reading the full story on thera-LINK, check out Our Story blog.

HIPAA Compliancy


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Security and Protecting your Client's Health Information

Let's face it, no one loves to hear about HIPAA but as a provider of health services in the United States, it is an inevitable part of your business. HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and was put in place to protect the privacy and security of health information and provide individuals with certain rights to their health information. As a covered entity (health provider) providing services in the US, you are required to follow the HIPAA rules. In addition, you must also abide by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, to promote the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology. 

Since you will be inputting client information into an online portal - even basic data like email address, first and last name - you need to make sure that your technology partner is HIPAA compliant/secure. It's up to you as a health provider to vet out a businesses policies and make sure they give you a Business Associates Agreement (that's known as a BAA). If they don't, they aren't providing a vital component of HIPAA compliancy as a Business Associate on your behalf. 

At thera-LINK, we have extremely limited staff with access to our servers and even fewer with access to our database. This allows us to protect patient information even more just by limiting access points to the data itself.

What else should I know about your security? Well, thera-LINK is HIPAA secure/compliant. This means that we go through numerous hours of documentation annually and we have adopted the rules and regs of HIPAA into our organization. It means we build our technology with a security-first approach. It means all of our staff are HIPAA trained and certified. It means we undergo a rigorous assessment of our infrastructure, policies, and procedures annually. It means we are protecting your patient/client's health information at all levels. It means we care about you, your clients, and all data associated.

Highlights:

  • Ensure you get a signed BAA from telehealth provider
  • Make sure all staff is HIPAA trained
  • Ask how many people have access to PHI

To learn more on our security processes, check out our Security page.

Video Technology


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The Video Experience & Technology Requirements

As technology is continually improving around video and audio experiences online, we are constantly adapting and improving to ensure you and your clients are receiving the most seamless and best experience possible. Some of the most common questions we get are below:

Do you have a waiting room or what happens when my client joins before I do?
We have the most awesome waiting room out there. You get to select from an assortment of images and music that will play in your waiting room. The waiting room is a beautiful and relaxing experience and allows clients to really get in the mindset of preparing for an online session. The #1 thing we hear from providers is how much their clients absolutely love the waiting room experience. This flow was a key aspect of building thera-LINK as we wanted it to feel like a session and not just an online "boring" meeting.

Can I meet with more than one person at a time (i.e. a couple, a group, another provider in session)?
Yes, you can meet with as many people as you'd like theoretically. We recommend keeping groups to 6-8 just because, the more people, the more challenges around bandwidth. In our group sessions, every individual can see, hear, and chat with one another.

What are the minimum bandwidth requirements for doing a session?
We recommend that both you and your client have a minimum of 3 mpbs upload and download. While not required, you will have the best experience if both meet this minimum.

What devices and browsers are supported?
You and your client can use a PC, Mac, Android, iPhone, or iPad with thera-LINK. On a PC, Mac, and Android, you just need either the Chrome, Firefox, or Safari browser. On an iPhone or iPad, you can use Safari as long as it's a newer device. If older, just download the thera-LINK app!

Is there a download for me or my clients?
No, there is no download for using audio and video as long as you are in Chrome, Firefox, or Safari browsers on a PC, Mac, or Android device. If on an older iPhone or iPad, the app would be downloaded from the App Store one time. If you or your client wish to use screen sharing, it prompts you to add an extension but there's no real download/install process. It's quick and easy with a couple of clicks. 

If using a mobile phone or tablet, are there any limitations to be aware of?
The biggest limitation on a phone or tablet is the size of the screen. If you are comfortable holding/propping a phone or tablet for an entire session, then it's a solid experience. You are not able to share your screen when using a phone or tablet. The other concern with a phone is just ensuring you are connected to wifi and not using the mobile carrier's data as this can cause high data usage on your phone bill and also provide a less consistent overall experience with occassional video glitches.

Do you record or offer recording of sessions?
No, we do not record or even offer recording of sessions. 

Can I share my screen during a sesion?
Yes, screen sharing is available by all parties unless on an iPhone or iPad. Screen sharing allows you to select from sharing your entire screen (this means participants see everything on your computer) or to selecting a specific app or program to share. We recommend using the second option as much as possible to prevent accidental exposure to too much information.

Highlights:

  • Ask if groups/couples are supported in video
  • Ask about screen sharing
  • Check what devices are supported (PC, Mac, Android, iPhone, iPad)
  • Verify if sessions are recorded

To learn more and see it in action, schedule a demo with us. We promise no sales gimmicks - just a straight forward demo to see if we are a good fit for your practice.
Schedule Now!

Scheduling


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Scheduling & Appointments

If you are planning to take your practice online, you'll need a robust scheduling system to manage your appointments and take your technology to the next level. We've got that handled with our rockstar Client Scheduler that you can make publicly available on your own website or use in your email signature. We also have a calendar you can use to just schedule your own appointments on. We are continually taking feedback on the scheduling process and improving it with new features. 

Our Client Scheduler allows you to setup your calendar just as you'd like. Your clients can choose a time on your schedule by location and within your office hours. You can setup different office hours for in-office versus online or select just online if you aren't doing in-office appointments. Clients can book every quarter-hour based on your settings. You can even setup a buffer time between appointments so you don't get booked back to back. The other cool thing is you can determine how far out a client can schedule with you (in advance) and how little notice they need to give you. 

We provide appointment reminders via email to both you and your client on the schedule you set - 24, 48, 72 hours or none, if that is your preference. We've tried to handle the details so you can worry about just providing your clients with what they need in their session. 

When your appointment day is here, both you and your client just simply login and you'll each see the session on your Dashboard under Today's Appointments. Click the green JOIN button and you'll each begin the session. 

Highlights:

  • Check if clients can request appointments
  • Make sure appointment reminders are sent to clients
  • Ask if clients have to be logged in to request or can do it from your website

Client Payment


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Online Payment from Clients

If you are doing a session with a client, you expect to get paid! We handle the "behind the scenes" stuff so you don't have to worry about it. We have a built in payment processor (Stripe) that is easy to use and setup. 

Once you complete the form to describe your business and setup your payment account, you will see a new menu option called "Payments". Also, on your appointment scheduling popup, you'll see "Require Payment". If you enable payment on an appointment, you can type in an amount and the client is prompted to pay that amount prior to joining their online session. If you are doing a group/family/couple, you can even choose who in the group will pay and who won't pay. This makes it super flexible if working with a family or couple where only one member will pay for the session.

You can also set a default payment amount for a client so that when you schedule an appointment and turn the payment to "on", then your default amount will pre-populate with the default amount. This is very helpful if you charge different amounts for different clients and have a hard time keeping track of all those numbers!

If you wish to send an "invoice" or payment request to a client, you can do this under Payments! Just select the client, type in the amount, and a description and the client will get an email notification of the payment request. They can log right in and pay with one click. Super handy for a no-show or special arrangements with clients. So easy!

What are fees for this service? It's included as part of your monthly thera-LINK subscription and we don't charge anything beyond Stripe's normal credit card processing fee of 2.9% + $.30 per transaction. If you charge a client $100, you'll see $96.80 in your bank account. The typical processing time for that to show in your account is 2 business days. In some rare circumstances where your business is new, Stripe may do a 5 day rotation and re-assess after 90 days.

Highlights:

  • Ask if payment from a client is accepted and how
  • Check the fees and delivery time to your bank account
  • Confirm you can set/change the dollar amount on any appointment

Secure Messaging


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Communicating Securely is Key

We offer our Secure Messaging as part of our practiceLINK plan and it's pretty slick. You send a message to your client (or vice-versa). If you are logged in to thera-LINK, you'll see it right away in a little popup at the bottom. If you aren't, no worries. We'll send you an email after 5 minutes of the message remaining unread. The email is simply a notification that you have a new message on thera-LINK. You can open the message and reply back from within thera-LINK. 

Highlights:

  • Secure messages
  • Instant communication OR
  • Communication when you want it

Training/Support/FAQs


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Training & Support is a Vital Component of Our Business 

Offering top notch customer support and training is one our core principles. We've invested in our tech ops team to answer phones and emails 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They provide support and answer questions that you or your clients may have. They'll troubleshoot whatever issue you may be having until a resolution is reached. Our average response time across all channels is about 3 minutes, with chat being the longest and phone being the shortest at just under 30 seconds.

The founding team also personally responds to chat messages on our website and through our app. This allows the executives of thera-LINK to really stay in touch with the customers and hear/see what is asked or commented on. From this constant feedback loop, we are able to understand the needs and use that to build out or change features accordingly.

In addition, we do demos and training via one on one video and screen sharing (using thera-LINK, of course) so you get a full experience of the platform. We will train you or your staff as many times as needed - included in our regular monthly subscription!

We have built an entire library of videos for both you and your clients. We build out small training videos in snippets so they are easy to follow and digest. Provider videos, Client Videos

We know people's learning styles vary so we also have an amazing online support center/knowledge base for those that prefer more self-help/reading options. Online Support Center

Highlights:

  • Verify phone support 24x7x365
  • Ask about chat support
  • Check if they offer a demo opportunity before you buy
  • Confirm there is a knowledge base and videos for you and clients

Files & Forms


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Securely Share Files

We know and understand that sometimes you need to send files between yourself and a client. You will want to do that via a secure transfer, especially anything with sensitive information on it. We offer secure file sharing with our ultimateLINK and higher plans. 

Our file sharing includes the ability to upload a document or file of practically any type (up to 250mb) and then choose one or more clients to share it with. The client is notified via email that there is a document/file waiting for them on thera-LINK. They can then login and retrieve that document, complete it if it's a form you need submitted back to you, etc...

Inlcuded with our documents are several template forms that we provide to you. Our forms were created by us based on years of experience in the industry. The forms we provide are a HIPAA Authorization form, a Client Information template, and an Informed Consent template which covers the technology/video aspect of doing therapy online. 

 Highlights:

  • Ask about secure file/document sharing
  • Find out about templates or forms provided

Additional Questions


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Additional Miscellaneous Questions and Resources

This section is to simply cover any outstanding questions and provide additional resources.

We do not currently support any integrations with an EHR/EMR system, but we do have an API that could allow connection if so inclined with technical expertise to do so.

We do not currently support e-mail type messaging between you and your clients so an external mail application would be needed. We recommend our partner, Hushmail, for that!

We make routine updates to the platform without disruption. If we need to take a server offline or do an upgrade that requires thera-LINK to be down for a period of time, we do it late at night and generally on a weekend. We inform all customers via chat and email as soon as we are aware of any such outage. We have only had one outage/upgrade of this magnitude in a year. We have very little downtime that is unplanned and we boast a 99.98% uptime for our video service.

We carry cyber liability insurance through The Hartford Insurance Group.

Highlights:

  • Ask about integrations with other systems
  • Find out about e-mail messaging
  • Verify last outages and uptime plus maintenance hours

Are you ready to dive in?


Just fill out the form below, and we'll send you an email to get your demo scheduled right away!