While telehealth has gotten lots of attention during the pandemic, this technology—albeit in more primitive forms—has been used for decades to facilitate care in difficult environments, such as for rural patients. With the more recent surge of online doctor’s visits, it’s clear that telemedicine is not going anywhere soon and will only become a more common part of the patient care experience in the future.
If you haven’t had an online doctor’s visit before, or you’ve had a not-so-great experience seeing a doctor online in the past, review the following tips to have your best telehealth appointment.
Find a quiet, well-lit spot for your appointment.
One of the most significant challenges for patients approaching telehealth appointments is finding the right place for it. It’s important to have a quiet, private space where you can attend your visit free of distractions and feel comfortable discussing sensitive medical and personal information.
You should also think about the nature of your visit when considering your venue. For example, if you are seeing the doctor about a rash on your leg, it may be challenging to position the camera in view of your leg if you’re taking the appointment from your car to get away from noisy kids in the house. While it can sometimes be tough to find an ideal spot for online doctor’s visits, many patients do find that they’re ultimately more comfortable in their own homes during their appointments than at the doctor’s office.
Write down a list of questions/concerns ahead of your visit.
Ideally, your online doctor’s visit will be much like your in-person visits to your primary care physician. To ensure that you have a productive visit, write down any questions, concerns, symptoms, or other issues prior to your appointment so that you have helpful notes to consult once you’re face-to-face with your medical provider (virtually).
Familiarize yourself with telehealth conferencing tools.
Telehealth providers often utilize secure web conferencing tools similar to Zoom or FaceTime, which should be HIPAA compliant to protect your privacy. If you haven’t used software of this nature, a care coordinator can often help guide you to get set up before your appointment. In some cases, it may be helpful to have a trusted friend or family member assist with the setup of your online medical visit, so you can focus on your health rather than the technology.
Don’t stress if the technology fails.
Even the most tech-savvy among us can’t avoid Wi-Fi outages, poor video quality, and other potential video call issues. While these issues are less common with modern telehealth software, there may still be some technological hiccups during your visit. Don’t stress if these occur—if you’re dropped from your web call, your provider may call you back on a regular voice call.
Don’t overlook the perks of online doctor visits.
After years of seeing your doctor in person, it may be unnerving to try out an online visit. However, many patients find that the virtual setting is easy to adjust to, and it doesn’t compromise the quality of care. Plus, telehealth visits eliminate the worry of commuting to the doctor’s office and spending time in a waiting room with others who may be sick. You may also find that you’re more likely to seek care when you need it, since online doctor’s visits allow you to see a physician or mental health professional on your schedule and from the privacy of home.
Need to see a doctor right away? MeMD has you covered with convenient, affordable virtual care from licensed physicians, NPs, PAs, and therapists specializing in men’s and women’s health, urgent care, and behavioral health.