Keeping Psychotherapy Notes Separate From the Patient Record
DeLettre, Julie L
Sobell, Linda Carter
Clinical psychology & psychotherapy 2010 Mar-Apr; 17(2): 160-3
Doctoral level psychologists (N = 464) who were members of the American Psychological Association and who identified themselves as clinical practitioners were surveyed about their knowledge and utilization of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule that allows practitioners to keep their psychotherapy notes separate from their patients' records if they involve electronic submissions. Although 79% of those surveyed said they were aware of the HIPAA privacy rule allowing for a separate set of notes, slightly less than half (46%) reported currently using such notes even though half (49%) felt that patients benefit most from the use of a separate set of psychotherapy notes. Surprisingly, 21% said they had never heard of the HIPAA provision allowing for a separate set of notes. Considering that when this provision was introduced it was heralded as a major benefit for mental health practitioners, its low utilization is surprising. Perhaps clinical practitioners would benefit from continuing education about the benefits of such notes.
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