Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Symposium #77
CE Offered: BACB
Ethical Considerations of Telehealth Behavioral Services
Saturday, May 23, 2015
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Texas Ballroom Salon C (Grand Hyatt)
Area: CSE/TPC; Domain: Theory
Chair: Thomas L. Zane (Institute for Behavioral Studies, Endicott College)
CE Instructor: Thomas L. Zane, Ph.D.

With the advent of technology, the service provision landschape has been changing. In particular, services are being provided via distance technology capabilities. This fairly recent service model is known as telehealth medicine. Recent research has suggested behavioral services via telehealth service delivery can be effective (e.g., Wacker et al., 2013). However, this new service delivery model proposes new ethical challenges. Maintaining client confidentiality during service provision, video and data storage, client consent for treatment procedures, and clarifying and involving third parties during service provision are a few of the ethical challenges encountered with this type of service delivery model. The purpose of this symposium is to present three different telehealth service delivery models and to discuss the ethical challenges encountered through each model. Presentors will discuss how the ethical challenges were identified and resolved (or are being resolved) with interested parties.

Keyword(s): Ethics, Telehealth
Utilizing Telehealth Technology to Expand ABA Services to Rural Regions of Virginia – ethical issues in the translation of research to practice
YANIZ C. PADILLA DALMAU (Virginia Institute of Autism), Emily Huber Callahan (Virginia Institute of Autism), Ethan S. Long (Virginia Institute of Autism), David P. Wacker (The University of Iowa)
Abstract: Virginia is a largely rural state and one of the challenges in delivering ABA services is the distance between service providers and clients. Telehealth is a service delivery model that can help remedy the lack of access to ABA services in Virginia. Previous studies utilizing telehealth technology have demonstrated that behavioral assessments and behavioral interventions (Wacker et al., 2013a; Wacker et al., 2013b) can be conducted effectively, with high integrity, and with lower costs than in-person service delivery. However, much of the published literature has been provided in the context of research-based settings and has relied heavily on grant funding. The goal of the current project is to use this literature to develop a sustainable telehealth service delivery model that will address the needs of children diagnosed with ASD and their families in the state of Virginia. Providing services in an applied setting has presented a number of ethical and legal challenges in the design and implementation of services via telehealth that were not as significant in research-based settings. Issues regarding HIPAA security and technology selection, ensuring staff competence in the remote and originating sites, and barriers encountered when attempting to have telehealth ABA services reimbursed by third-party payers (e.g., type of service covered, restrictions on location of the client) will be discussed during this presentation.
Ethical Challenges Encountered in Teleconsultation Services
STEPHANIE M. PETERSON (Western Michigan University), Marissa Allen (Western Michigan University), Rebecca Renee Wiskirchen (Western Michigan University), Denice Rios (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: This presentation will describe a new service we developed in the state of Michigan, called FBA.COM (Functional Behavior Analysis: Consulting Over Miles) in part to respond to the growing need for and short supply of behavior analysts in the state. The service provides training in functional behavior assessment and intervention for community mental health organizations as well as consultation on difficult cases at the same time. This presentation will provide an overview of the project, as well as some summary data on our progress. The presentation will provide examples of the ethical dilemmas and questions we have faced, as well as the resolutions we have arrived at (or lack thereof). Special attention will be provided to issues of video consent and storage, as this has been one of the major hurdles we have encountered.
Outcome Data and Ethical Considerations of a Web-based Interactive Multimedia Treatment for Depression
C. RICHARD SPATES (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: This presentation will review recent findings from a Web-based Interactive Mulitmedia treatment of clinical depression. The program, “Building a Meaningful Life through Behavioral Activation (BAML©)” has undergone initial efficacy testing, treatment integrity testing, product usability, and early stage mediation analyses. The results demonstrate an intervention with moderate to large effect sizes on standard depression measures, improvements in quality of life, treatment integrity comparable to that observed in face-to-face delivered BA intervention, and high end-user satisfaction. In the face of depression being acknowledged as a leading contributor to the global burden of disease and a major comorbid complication for numerous other primary medical disorders, this presentation will consider ethical issues associated with this and related Cloud-based interventions that offer self or supervised help in overcoming depression and other behavior disorders using technology instead of conventional face-to-face therapy.



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