Laurel Cargill Radley, MS, OTR/L
Program Director and Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy Assistant Program
Emily Rumery, OTD, OTR/L
Assistant Program Director and Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy Assistant Program
Earn .1 AOTA CEU (1.25 NBCOT PDU/1 contact hour)
The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and occupational therapy providers have been advocating for telehealth as an occupational therapy service delivery option since the beginning of the 21st century. In recent years, demand for telehealth services has increased, and telehealth has emerged as an innovative method of health care delivery.
Because telehealth is a relatively new mode of service delivery, occupational therapy practitioners offering these services must learn about the associated practice, history, and ethical considerations. Ethical issues specific to telehealth are analyzed using the standards of conduct from the Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics (AOTA, 2020a) to guide clinicians in effectively managing these scenarios when providing telehealth services.
Ethical issues examined in this article include a client’s benefit or loss, the right to choose the therapy and react to dissatisfactory services, privacy and confidentiality, informed consent, the client–provider relationship, competence, continuity of care, appropriateness, access, capacity for equitable treatment, state licensure and interstate practice, reimbursement, and cultural competence.
Occupational therapy practitioners are encouraged to engage in intentional planning and preparation for providing ethical, evidence-based telehealth services.
After reading this article, you should be able to:
1. Describe and document telehealth practice using appropriate language
2. Describe the history of telehealth
3. Discuss ethical considerations for providing telehealth occupational therapy services
4. Identify the benefits and limitations of telehealth
5. Identify and discuss emergent ethical dilemmas