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Action Plan for Getting Involved in Telehealth as a Professional

by Marlene M. Maheu, Ph.D.

We have a choice: we get involved, or we stand by and watch other professional groups make decisions about our future. So where do we begin?

  1. Accept the inevitable. The future is here, and our profession will change with the times, or it won't. It's up to each of us individually, as well as our profession as a whole. Our skills can be "re-tooled" to fit the needs of the future.

  2. Get online, and get active. Get the information you need, set up an email account, and use the SDPA SDpsych listserv to learn about more profession-specific resources online. Call Allison Ferch for information about the SDPA email list (619-297-4825). For the technophobes in the community, practice relaxation and take small steps to move through the setup phase. Ask a friend (clinician) to help you get online, learn the basics, and establish your professional presence's a blast!

  3. Get information about Telemedicine and Telehealth online:

  4. Educate others. Let's be proactive, not reactive. Help a colleague reach the next step. Get them online, show them how to access professional lists, subscribe them to SDpsych and Telehealth, and teach them about *Netiquette* (cultural norms of online communities.)

  5. Get political. Lobby. Write to your legislative representatives, and use the Internet to voice your political opinions and shape the formation of Behavioral Telehealth services.

  6. Consider computerizing an aspect of your specialty area. If you already have software/hardware developed, promote it for free at this site:

  7. Start a telehealth pilot project in your clinic, hospital or professional group. Begin using videoconferencing tools to facilitate interactions with other professionals, for supervision, and eventually, with patients.

  8. When developing pilot projects, use sound research design to collect outcome data.

  9. Publish your outcome data and observations, and/or speak about them at local, state and national professional meetings. Let others benefit from your experiences so our stumbling profession can grow stronger. Come on! We can do this.

Dr. Maheu is the Director of Telehealth for the California School of Professional Psychology, founder of the Telehealth and TeleHealthNews lists for Professionals, and owner of CyberTowers Professional Office Center. Reach her at 619-277-2772 or drop her an email

Marlene Maheu

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