VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.
Digital Confidentiality: A Holistic Security Model for Counselors
Timothy D. Baker
Counselors use technology widely (Cabaniss, 2002), for such purposes as training (Berry, Srebalus, Cromer, & Takacs, 2003; Chandras, 2000), and assessment (Lundberg & Cobitz, 1999), as well as communication with clients. The potential for technology to improve treatment services exists, but substantial barriers exist to the successful implementation of information technology (IT) principles in clinical settings (Wisdom, Ford, & McCarty, 2010). Indeed, these challenges are not unique to the counseling profession, but are faced by practitioners in the allied health professions (Briscoe et al., 2006; Curry, 2011). A general threat is the possibility of a malicious agent causing breach of information, known as “hacking” (Saporito, 2011). Hacking attacks have been sensationalized in the news media, with breaches suffered by the financial industry, sophisticated entities such as weapons contractors, military forces, and national governments (Albanesius, 2012; Goodin, 2011a; Goodin, 2011b; Schactman, 2011;). And yet, counselors who use electronic tools while serving clients have ethical and legal obligations to keep confidentiality (American Counseling Association, 2005; Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). Before entering into a counseling relationship, a client reasonably might ask: What security measures are in place to safeguard private data?