In the span of two weeks, trainings clinics across campus worked with DU’s IT department and University investment to create and execute a plan aimed at transitioning all services to telehealth. IT procured a HIPAA-compliant telehealth platform (Zoom for Healthcare) and worked with clinics to establish appropriately secure procedures for storing clinical session recordings on the shared drive. Student clinicians and supervisors completed online trainings on best practices in telehealth to facilitate their understanding of the pragmatic, ethical and legal issues of offering services in this innovative manner. Further, DU’s legal team helped clinics develop new consent and disclosure forms as well as procedures to protect clients in this new service provision landscape. Four months after telehealth began, clinics have been regularly seeing therapy and assessment clients remotely, and clients are reporting a high level of satisfaction with this modality of care. In addition, student clinicians are getting valuable real-world experience in 21st century service provision models. Due to relatively low COVID-19 activity locally at the current time, some clinics have begun seeing select clients for in-person appointments while enforcing appropriate safety measures.
In-Person Therapeutic & Assessment Services
Clinics were successful in moving the vast majority of clinical work to telehealth; however, in certain instances, client needs made in-person care necessary (e.g., certain assessment tasks are difficult to conduct remotely, especially with very young children; certain therapy clients needed to be seen in-person given a high level of suicide risk or if they were unable to access telehealth from their home). In these instances, clinics worked with DU officials to develop safety protocols, including advanced symptom assessment, social distancing, required face coverings, etc. Adaptations for in-person assessment services have included the installation of plexiglass in specially designated assessment rooms to allow clear communication and observation while minimizing the risk of spreading germs, as well as the development of exchange and cleaning protocols for assessment materials. As community conditions warrant, increasing numbers of clients may be seen through enhanced assessment and therapy-specific safety protocols.
When the city or state has an elevated and rising positivity rate (above 5%), elevated 14-day cumulative incident rates, or ICU/hospitals are becoming overwhelmed, the University will pause visitors to campus and implement an exception process. This will include human subject research participants and individuals receiving services from our clinics.