Assessment via telepractice: general guidelines
The use of assessment tools is a key area of study within the larger telepractice landscape. As professionals begin to adopt any new service delivery tool or model, it is imperative that they consider all the surrounding issues related to this change in service delivery method.
In general, the appropriateness of use of a specific assessment tool in the context of telepractice should be considered carefully. First, you are responsible for checking local laws and regulations for your clinical practice. Second, you should refer to guidelines from your professional association (e.g., APA, AOTA, ASHA, AMA) for further recommendations including ethical implications. Finally, you may use the information provided by Pearson on specific products to assist you in your clinical decision-making.
Along with a thorough review of the laws, guidelines, and professional association documents, you should consider the following:
- the nature of the clinical relationship between the clinician and client--sometimes establishing a relationship face-to-face first is warranted
- the purpose of the assessment--it may not be appropriate to administer a test remotely if you need to ensure the correct individual is taking the test, or if you need to observe the actual test administration in detail, or if there is a legal circumstance that dictates an in-person evaluation
- the availability of a trained facilitator or independent support personnel
- the availability of a remote testing environment that is free of distractions, and conducive to valid test taking
The following statement from the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) reminds clinicians that the use of any assessment or therapy using telepractice methods should be undertaken only after careful consideration of all relevant information:
"Given the variability of rehabilitation clients, candidacy and appropriateness for telerehabilitation should be determined on a case-by-case basis with selections firmly based on clinical judgment, client's informed choice, and professional standards of care."
ATA - A Blueprint for Telerehabilitation Guidelines Guidelines, 2010, p.8
Pearson Clinical Assessment has compiled key references about the equivalence of paper and digital questionnaire responses, and is conducting ongoing studies to examine the use of selected interactive assessment content in digital and telepractice contexts. Please see selected references on each product page which provide support for the equivalence of test results with digital administration and/or specific guidance regarding the use of our tools within a telepractice modality.