The Use of Videoconferencing in Forensic Evaluations: Moving Forward in Times of COVID-19

Abby L. Mulay, Emily D. Gottfried, Diana M. Mullis, Michael J. Vitacco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that leads to the disease COVID-19, has resulted in significant challenges for the medical and psychiatric communities. Much like other clinicians during this global pandemic, forensic evaluators have been faced with the difficult task of continuing their clinical work, while helping to maintain the safety of their examinees, support staff, correctional personnel, and themselves. As such, the implementation of telehealth appears to be a viable alternative to in-person evaluations, but questions regarding the fidelity of these forensic evaluations remain at the forefront. The goal of this paper is to examine data relevant to conducting forensic evaluations using telehealth platforms. We offer both pros and cons of using telehealth videoconferencing to conduct forensic evaluations, so that the forensic evaluator may make an informed decision regarding whether they plan to utilize this technology. Additionally, we discuss considerations for training in the delivery of telehealth services. This paper concludes with a discussion of areas for future research, such as the examination of modifications practitioners have made to their practice and the reliability of forensic opinions conducted over telehealth. We end by suggesting telehealth is the path forward for forensic evaluation, regardless of public health status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-354
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Forensic Psychology Research and Practice
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Forensic psychology
  • forensic psychiatry
  • telehealth
  • videoconferencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Applied Psychology

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