Psychologists interested in providing feedback about these professional practice guidelines can contact Governance Operations staff.

The APA Committee on Professional Practice and Standards (COPPS) is seeking input from practitioners in the field as it updates APA’s record keeping guidelines and creates social media guidelines. APA’s professional practice guidelines are intended to provide psychologists with a general framework for professional conduct and psychological practice with particular populations or in particular areas.

“Practice guidelines are a valuable reference for psychologists at all stages of their career,” says COPPS Chair Marc A. Martinez, PhD, ABPP. “They educate practitioners, highlight a variety of important areas of psychology and provide aspirational methods for navigating the rapidly changing landscape of psychology.”

The record keeping guidelines went through the formal APA governance process for comments in 2015. COPPS is now interested in hearing from practitioners around the country about real-life scenarios that come up regarding record keeping and social media to make sure the guidelines address common issues in these two areas affecting psychological practice.

Revision of APA record keeping guidelines

First adopted as APA policy in 1992, APA’s record keeping guidelines are intended to educate practitioners and provide recommendations about professional conduct as well as legal requirements and ethical standards pertaining to patient records. The guidelines have been revised over the years to take into account changes such as electronic record keeping as well as legislative and regulatory requirements including HIPAA.

Ongoing changes to the health care delivery system and legal and regulatory requirements are driving the need for additional updates to record keeping guidelines. With increased use of shared records, electronic records and patient access to records, it’s imperative that practitioners have guidelines that reflect current research and are relevant to today’s health care delivery environment.

Proposed guidelines for optimal use of social media in professional psychological practice

Social media guidelines are being developed in response to current changes in health care delivery and levels of consumer engagement in this instant and very public form of communication. Social media guidelines will respond to many questions raised by practitioners related to the impact of social media in the workplace and the intersection of the professional and personal social media presence of the practitioner. Issues of privacy, technology, boundaries, provider ratings and other related issues will be addressed.

Psychologists interested in providing suggestions for areas to address in record keeping guidelines and social media guidelines can email Governance Operations staff, the APA staff liaison for COPPS.

COPPS, a committee of the APA Board of Professional Affairs, is charged with the development and recommendation of standards and guidelines for providers of psychological services, and with providing guidance to other APA bodies developing practice guidelines. In addition to the creation of practice guidelines, COPPS reviews them periodically with input from practitioners to make sure they reflect current issues and scientific literature, and practitioner needs for guidance.