All Gastro Girl Registered Dieticians are professionals and before joining the Gastro Girl network are rigorously screened to ensure that our clients have access to only the highest quality dietary and nutritional health care. Our providers all adhere to the ethical codes of their respective licensing or professional organizations.
All of our Registered Dieticians are required to follow the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics’ Code of Ethics. In addition to the ethical standards of traditional dietary and nutritional counseling, at Gastro Girl, we have additional ethical guidelines.
II. Registered Dieticians must have a mastery of the technological tools of online counseling. Encryption and Information Security
Registered Dieticians must understand how to use encrypted services for communications and records. Registered Dieticians must use highly secure passwords and change them regularly. Any records stored on either the cloud or on physical storage media must be encrypted and secured against unauthorized access. Registered Dieticians are prohibited from storing or transmitting client data on any network with less than 128 bit encryption, with 256 bit encryption encouraged. Physical storage devices such as a computer hard drive, USB or mobile device must be stored in a locked location with precautions taken against any unauthorized physical or electronic access. Any WiFi networks used must be encrypted. Using public, shared computers is never permitted, regardless of security or encryption tools used. If a counselor uses a laptop computer, it must have a master password enabled along with special attention paid to the computer’s physical storage and security.
All Gastro Girl providers are encouraged to use secure, cloud-based systems for records backup. At the minimum, all client records must be physically backed up on an external storage device which is then stored in a locked, secure location. Registered Dieticians are encouraged to backup their client files on a daily basis, but are required to back up at least weekly. Paper printouts of any patient records are highly discouraged.
Passwords must be changed regularly. All Registered Dieticians are required to change their Gastro Girl passwords monthly and are encouraged to change any passwords related to client records at least monthly. Passwords must be at minimum 11 characters long with both upper and lower case letters, at least 2 different numbers and 2 special characters. Any variation of the counselor’s name, social security number, address, etc. must not be used. Registered Dieticians are prohibited from storing their Gastro Girl password on their computer.
Registered Dieticians must ensure that they use appropriate firewall protection to ensure no unauthorized network connections to their computer.
Registered Dieticians are highly encouraged to use Mac OS or Linux systems to minimize security vulnerabilities. Windows users are required to use up-to-date anti-virus software and download the most current Windows security updates within 1 week of release. Registered Dieticians are also encouraged to avoid any websites of a questionable or risky nature. All Registered Dieticians, regardless of computer operating system, are highly discouraged from using any public, peer-to-peer file sharing services. Gastro Girl will stay current on security risks for Registered Dieticians and users and inform the Gastro Girl community as appropriate, however all Registered Dieticians have the ultimate responsibility of ensuring their machine is safe and secure.
Registered Dieticians must be comfortable and familiar with their particular hardware.
Registered Dieticians must be comfortable with both the Gastro Girl platform and any software necessary to assist clients during therapy.
Registered Dieticians must not use any third-party software or services for Gastro Girl online counseling that has not been approved by Gastro Girl. Certain tools are prohibited because of known or potential security issues as well as the user experience of clients. Registered Dieticians must never require a client to use a particular software or service that has not been approved by Gastro Girl.
III. Registered Dieticians must work only within their scope of practice.
Scope of Practice indicates the specific area in which a counselor may practice. Registered Dieticians may not practice within an area for which they are not trained and/or licensed. Registered Dieticians must follow the laws and professional regulations for their locale. Clients seeking treatment for a counselor licensed outside of their physical location are considered “visiting” the counselor in the counselor’s home location. Registered Dieticians are required to answer any questions about their qualifications, training and/or licensing so a client can be fully informed. Registered Dieticians are expressly prohibited from providing any service for which they are not qualified or legally allowed to provide.
IV. Registered Dieticians must ensure that their skills are current.
Registered Dieticians must stay current within their professional area. This includes receiving any required continuing education training. Registered Dieticians must keep abreast of significant research within their field and be able to employ new training, knowledge and research towards the betterment of their clients. Registered Dieticians must keep their licenses and certifications current as required by their local jurisdiction.
V. Registered Dieticians must be prepared for client emergencies
While Gastro Girl strives to provide relevant emergency information for each client’s location, Registered Dieticians must take responsibility for their client’s safety. Registered Dieticians are encouraged to be familiar with the emergency and crisis resources for a particular client’s location. Emergency contact information is collected from every Gastro Girl client; Registered Dieticians must be knowledgeable on how to use emergency information, regardless of client location. For example, if a client in the UK is seeing a US counselor, that counselor should be familiar with how to dial a UK emergency contact’s phone number in the event of a crisis. The counselor should also take advantage of emergency and crisis resources provided by Gastro Girl for each client location. Registered Dieticians should have a telephone available in the event of a network or hardware failure in order to ensure that a client is not abandoned. The safety and security of Gastro Girl clients is the highest priority.
VI. Registered Dieticians must use appropriate Informed Consent.
Registered Dieticians must ensure that all of their Gastro Girl clients complete and sign an Informed Consent. This can be done electronically using a digital signature service such as Right Signature, or it can be through a printed, signed and scanned document. Registered Dieticians must keep encrypted digital copies of any documents submitted by clients and must provide a copy of the document in PDF format to the client. Microsoft Word documents are highly discouraged due to their ability to be easily altered and lack of universal compatibility. Right Signature is the preferred Gastro Girl provider for legal, digitally signed documents. Registered Dieticians are not required, but are encouraged to use the Right Signature service to ensure that clients are able to easily read and sign informed consent documents. Regardless of method, an informed consent is absolutely necessary. Gastro Girl has sample informed consent forms for counselor use, however the ultimate responsibility for informed consent compliance lies with the counselor.
The Informed Consent must include information about the counselor’s jurisdiction and licensing and inform the client that the session will be conducted under the laws of the counselor’s specific jurisdiction. The Informed Consent must inform the client that the laws and regulations within the counselor’s jurisdiction may be different than the laws within the client’s jurisdiction.
VII. The Counselor is the Owner of the Record
Gastro Girl does not store, maintain or transmit client records other than the initial sign up screening form. Gastro Girl does maintain a payment history, however no other treatment data is collected by Gastro Girl. The counselor is the legal owner of the medical records created and generated from treatment. Registered Dieticians must comply with any medical records release requests by a client or legally authorized entity. Registered Dieticians must maintain patient records as required by law within their jurisdiction and make available any records if requested by a client. No records shall ever be released without a written release from the client or client’s legally authorized agent.
VIII. Registered Dieticians should be insured.
Registered Dieticians should ensure that they are covered by any required malpractice insurance if required by their local jurisdiction. All Registered Dieticians are encouraged to maintain appropriate levels of malpractice insurance coverage.