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Telehealth Tips for Behavioral Health Assessment Officers

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When a provider-to-patient telehealth consultation with a psychiatrist at another location is needed, the Behavioral Health Assessment Officer (BHAO) facilitates the video visit at the rural hospital using on-site technology and broadband. Below are tips for the BHAO and colleagues on using telehealth as a tool to connect patients with a specialist.

Location and technology

  • Mobile device such as tablet
  • Secure video conferencing platform
  • Using a space that provides privacy
  • Preventing interruptions and distractions such as noise
  • Paying attention to positioning of mobile device, volume levels, lighting
  • Having a backup strategy in case of technical issues at either site (e.g., phone as backup)

Explaining the process

  • Describing how the video consultation works
  • Explaining how technology is used
  • Noting confidentiality of the patient’s information and visit
  • Making sure patient  knows they can decline visit
  • Inviting questions
  • Obtaining necessary informed consent


  • Checking in with patient about comfort with technology
  • Introducing patient and psychiatrist
  • Setting a comfortable tone
  • Addressing questions/concerns
  • Follow-up discussion

Telehealth resources for rural hospitals