Let’s say you need to see your healthcare provider, but right now you are quarantined or socially distancing yourself at home, or maybe you are working overtime in a difficult situation to keep the country running and you don’t have a lot of time. You call up your doctor’s office and get offered a telemedicine meeting. How can you make the most of this type of appointment?
- Set aside the time for your video conference appointment and treat that time the same way you would if you were seeing your provider in person. Don’t try to do a telemed visit while shopping at Walmart, walking in the park or entertaining your kids. Also, Wifi or hard-wired internet tends to work better than cellular service alone.
- If possible, try to use a large screen like your computer or tablet instead of your phone. You will find it inconvenient to hold your phone and you won’t be able to properly see your doctor or any visual aids on the small screen. It’s also hard to take notes holding your phone, and your doctor may find the view up your nose or of your bobbing forehead distracting.
- Familiarize yourself with the application (such as Zoom) used by your provider ahead of time and consider doing a test run to make sure you know how to use it. Consider watching a You Tube tutorial if it seems hard. Remember that any time lost with technical issues will usually mean less time with your doctor.
- Arm yourself with data before your appointment. Have a list of home blood pressure or blood glucose measurements handy if this information is applicable. If you have lots of information to convey, call the office ahead of time and arrange to email the information to a staff member to be scanned into your record or recorded ahead of time.
- Limit your expectations. With everyone on the internet and many people working or attending school from home right now, many of the telemedicine applications periodically freeze up. You might have to resort to just telephone if the app quits working, so show your provider that weird rash right away. Pick one or two main things to accomplish with the visit and be clear about the goals. Tell the staff member who checks you in what you need right up front. It’s not as good as seeing your provider in person, but sure is better than sitting in a waiting room during a pandemic or postponing necessary care or refills. and now you can spend the time you would have spent driving to the doctor’s office taking a nice walk instead!