Interest in telepractice has increased in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. SAC supports the use of telepractice as a means of facilitating access to speech-language pathology and audiology services. SAC’s Position Paper on the Use of Telepractice by SAC Speech-language Pathologists and Audiologists provides guidance to members and associates about this service delivery model.
SAC members who provide telepractice services in provinces where the professions are regulated must adhere to the regulatory body’s standards of practice, including their specific professional requirements for the protection of patient/client privacy and confidentiality of personal health information, as well as processes for obtaining informed consent.
SAC members who provide telepractice services in a province or territory where the professions are not regulated must comply with applicable privacy and health care consent legislation.
A number of telepractice platforms are available in Canada. S-LPs, audiologists and communication health assistants are responsible for selecting a telepractice platform that complies with relevant privacy legislation, as well as any other professional regulatory requirements as applicable. It is important that S-LPs, audiologists and communication health assistants research the security features of any online communication platform that they use, and are aware of advisories about security issues and vulnerabilities associated with specific platforms. We also recommended that SAC members and associates check to see if the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner in your province/territory has updated or issued additional guidance related to security and privacy protection during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As with other methods of service delivery, SAC members and associates providing services by telepractice should use research evidence to guide their practice.
CINAHL – SAC members and associates can use the search terms “telepractice” or “telehealth” to access free full-text articles about this topic in journals such as: ASHA Leader, International Journal of Audiology, International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research, Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups…and many more.
ASHAWire - ASHA Journals has made a selection of relevant articles about telepractice free to all readers.
ASHA Evidence Map on Telepractice - a searchable online tool designed to help clinicians make evidence-based decisions.
The International Journal of Telerehabilitation - An open-access journal addressing telepractice in allied health professions.
Other useful information:
- Telepractice: General Information (Pearson)
- Expanding virtual care capacity in Canada's northern regions: Proposed approach for a rapid deployment (National Collaborative Centre for Indigenous Health)