A typical iHear session contains many therapeutic moments built on trust, but have you ever considered the factors protecting your child’s privacy during such moments? The iHear program follows strict mandates in order to ensure that every child and family’s privacy is protected while participating in therapy conducted via the internet. As internet therapy becomes a more popular form of service delivery, numerous questions are arising regarding privacy.
Why should internet therapy providers consider privacy issues when developing and maintaining a program?
Privacy regulations are mandated by law for any billing entity and are not a choice. Privacy is an ethical and legal obligation of any service provider.
What are the laws that govern privacy in internet therapy?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) governs privacy as it relates to personal health information. It is the same law regarding privacy that your doctor follows. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) governs privacy as it relates to children in the school system. The same law applies to your child’s local school. Finally, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association code of ethics requires providers to maintain the privacy of those served. The iHear program carefully abides by these regulations in order to ensure that not only your child’s records are kept private, but the content of the internet therapy sessions is kept private as well.
What exactly is protected by the privacy regulations?
The regulations apply to the storage of personal health information records and the sharing of information with family members or other professionals. This applies to files stored at a facility and any phone or email conversations by a provider and, due to the nature of internet therapy, additional factors should be considered. The internet connection between the child and therapist must also be secure during therapy sessions. The iHear program uses a secure, HIPAA-compliant internet connection and abides by the laws regulating the storage of videos, emails, files and any other personal information. This work behind the scenes allows sessions to focus on building your child’s listening and spoken language in a trusting environment, while knowing that your privacy is protected.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2010a). Code of ethics [Ethics]. Available from
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) (2008).
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Public Law 104-191.