Due to the global pandemic, the use of electronic services soared in 2020. While the numbers have since stabilized, we can still see the effects of this overnight growth.
This is the time when Zoom pretty much became a household name. Few years down the line, the platform remains popular and you’ll have a hard time finding someone who hasn’t at the very least heard of it.
Many schools and businesses have taken to using Zoom on a regular basis, and over time, health practitioners have also jumped on the trend and started adapting their services to fit the online space.
Today, just like other internet-based services, telehealth is on the rise, and Zoom seems to be at the forefront as the favored way to deliver cyber-counseling services.
What is Zoom?
Zoom Video Communications Inc. – or, more commonly, just Zoom – was launched in 2011.
Although it found significant success since its very inception, the company truly took off nine years later, at the start, and as a result of, the Covid-19 pandemic.
Zoom provides online communication services through its cloud-based peer-to-peer software.
The platform can be used for video conferencing, chat messaging, or audio calls – all of which can serve as means of conducting online therapy and allow patients and clinicians better remote communication.
How Do You Use Zoom Counseling?
Although it’s recently increased in popularity, teletherapy isn’t a new concept at all. “How Do You Conduct an Online Counseling Session?” has been a question practitioners have had for years, and various answers have emerged.
One of the best solutions to come up has been video conferencing. So, while it hasn’t always been as mainstream, Zoom is far from new to the world of telemedicine.
The platform has been used to treat remote patients for nearly a decade, and the company has advertised Zoom as a telehealth solution many times in the past.
Of course, these services were not quite what they are today. In a post-pandemic world with an increased need for e-therapy, Zoom has made changes and updated its healthcare platform.
Their Zoom for Healthcare plan offers an easy way for practitioners to purchase plans and licenses that allow them to operate online securely, and keep all classified information safely tucked away.
For smaller practices, it’s all easily handled online, while larger entities may need to contact Zoom’s sales team.
Luckily, none of this is a concern of the clients receiving therapy. All they have to do is have access to the Zoom platform, either on desktop or mobile, and open the meeting link their therapist has sent them.
Is Zoom HIPAA Compliant?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is crucial to keeping patients’ data safe. Anyone who deals with protected health information (PHI) must ensure HIPAA compliance.
When third parties, such as Zoom, are involved and given access to PHI, a good provider must enable HIPAA compliance by executing a business associates agreement (BAA).
Paid versions of Zoom will allow clients to enter a BAA, however, the easiest way for health practitioners to ensure HIPAA compliance is by purchasing the Zoom for Healthcare plan for $14.99 a month.
Zoom customers can choose to be billed monthly or yearly. As mentioned before, small clinics can enter a BAA online, however, if more than 9 licenses are needed, you should contact Zoom’s sales team.
Online counseling platforms can be a godsend – they’re flexible, easy to use, and far more budget-friendly than traditional therapy.
However, users should be careful and engage only with trustworthy providers.
Thus, always make sure that the platform you’re using is encrypted and safe, HIPAA compliant, and employs the services of qualified and vetted professionals.
Does Virtual Therapy Work?
During the initial phases of online counseling, both patients and clinicians had reservations regarding the practice.
Switching to a new method can always be daunting, but especially so when something as big as mental wellbeing is in the equation.
“Is Zoom therapy less effective?” was a question on everyone’s mind. Well, some chose to give the platform a chance well before the worldwide popularization of e-counseling.
And as time passed, we’ve seen online therapy shown to be as useful as face-to-face sessions, and sometimes even more effective.
Studies also find internet-delivered psychotherapy to be more affordable and cost-effective than traditional counseling.
We now have data to support it, but online zoom therapy has always been a viable and effective solution, and perhaps it’s a good thing that it’s caught on so quickly.
The increase of remote interactions hasn’t started the cyber-counseling takeover, but only sped it up.
Is CBT Effective Over Zoom?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy – or CBT – is a psychotherapy method based on Beck’s cognitive triad. It’s also considered by many to be the gold standard for treatments of most mental disorders.
Internet-based CBT has been found to be effective and just as efficient as face-to-face therapy time and time again.
Thus, CBT is highly effective over Zoom, and one of the most common therapy approaches online counselors to specialize in.
The Bottom Line – Online Zoom Therapy
Zoom is a secure and easy-to-use platform that allows practitioners simple ways to ensure HIPAA compliance and reach patients remotely.
It’s already used by many healthcare professionals and is one of the pioneering telehealth software providers.
Zoom is a great way for therapists to conduct remote sessions, for sure, but it also allows for clients to get a more flexible and affordable form of therapy conveniently delivered to their electronic devices.
Considering online zoom therapy leads to just as many positive outcomes as traditional therapy, it’s a perfect option suitable to many individuals.
Teletherapy through Zoom can offer help to many who otherwise may not have been able to access it.