Tip Sheet: Telehealth and Persons with Disabilities what Should I Know as a Consumer?

What is telehealth?
  • Telehealth: Psychologists providing medical and mental health care using technology instead of, or in addition to, meeting face-to-face in the office.

  • Telepsychology or Telemental health: Psychologists providing assessment, diagnoses, therapy and/or education using technology instead of, or in addition to, meeting face-to-face in the office.  

What types of technology can be used for telehealth?
  • Technology may include phone, email, webcams, mobile apps, webpages or adaptive and assistive  equipment.

  • Working with a psychologist may occur in real time (webcams or phone) or it may be time delayed (email).

Why would I want to use telehealth? What should I ask myself about telehealth?
  • Increased access for individuals with physical, medical and/or mobility disabilities
  • Will it work for me?
  • Increased access to disability specialists regardless of geographic area
  • Will I feel connected to my psychologist?
  • Increased access to services in areas with few mental health resources
  • Do I feel comfortable using technology to receive services?
  • Increased access to psychologists with disability training and experience
  • Do I have the technology?
  • Access to therapy in native language (e.g., American Sign Language)
  • Can I access the technology?
  • Increased access for individuals who may have difficulty  attending therapy on-site (e.g., PTSD, Agoraphobia)
  • Am I comfortable receiving services if I cannot see and/or hear my psychologist?
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Am I comfortable if I have to see another professional in an emergency?
  • Collect information about thoughts, feelings and behaviors outside sessions
  • Will using telehealth make me feel more isolated?
  • Youth outreach

Be An Informed Consumer — Just Ask

What should I ask my psychologist?
  • Are you licensed in the state where I live? 

  • Are there laws or guidelines in my state regulating telehealth and telepsychology? 

  • Will my insurance cover telehealth and telepsychology services if I work with you? 

  • Will my Medicaid (or Medicare) cover telehealth and telepsychology services if I work with you? 

  • Have you worked with individuals with disability? 

  • Have you worked with people with my type of disability? 

  • What technology will I need to work with you? 

  • Will this technology be accessible to me? 

  • Will I use the technology already in my home or will I go to another location (telecenter)? 

  • Will another location (telecenter) be accessible for my service animal, my wheelchair, my scooter, etc.? 

  • Is the technology available at another site free of charge? 

  • How will I be able to use my assistive/adaptive technology, devices and equipment during the session? 

  • Are you willing to work with my adaptive/assistive technology professional or rehabilitation engineer if necessary? 

  • What if I need a family member, caregiver or home health provider to assist me during our sessions? How will that work? 

  • I use American Sign Language to communicate. I will need to use videorelay (telerelay) services to communicate with you. How will we do this? 

  • I need an interpreter to communicate. How will we do this? 

  • I use typing or pictures to communicate. I will need to use these to communicate with you. How will we do this? 

  • What should I do if we experience technical difficulties? 

  • What should I do in case there is an emergency and I cannot contact you?

Where Do I Learn More?