In the era of COVID-19, many in-office visits have been able to convert to virtual appointments. Many ask, how is a telemedicine visit different, and how can I get the most from it?
Here are 3 steps you can take to better prepare your medical information, technology, and surroundings so you can have a productive virtual visit.
1. Gather your background information
- Be prepared to answer questions about your personal medical history, family history, home environment, lifestyle, and social history.
- Make a list of your current symptoms, when they started, their severity, and anything that makes them better or worse.
- Create a detailed medication list including the names of the medications you are taking, how they are taken, the dose and how often or what time of day they are taken.
- Provide your doctors office with relevant data or visuals in advance, such as emailing pictures of cuts or rashes, and uploading data from your continuous glucose monitor if you are a diabetes patient.
- If you have been tested for COVID-19, have your results at hand.
2. Test your technology beforehand
- Determine what device you are using (phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer) and that it is in good working order, is fully charged or plugged in, and that you have a reliable connection whether Wi-Fi (preferred), cellular, or direct phone line.
- If this is to be a virtual and visually supported visit, be sure your device has a camera and microphone in good condition.
- Know how you are going to connect: Call a phone number? Click on a link? Sign into an online portal through a website or app?
- Be able to provide another source (phone, etc.) in case it gets disconnected or an emergency occurs.
3. Choose the best surroundings for your visit
- Make sure you have a comfortable, quiet, private place to sit for the visit and that your camera can give a clear view of you. Be sure you are not too far from your device, and that your healthcare professional can hear you.
- Have sufficient light in the area where you are seated. Do not sit with a window behind you as backlight will adversely affect how clear you look on camera. It is best to have a blank wall behind you with a light source in front of you.
- Make sure everyone in your home knows to be quiet and not interrupt your visit.
- Have a pad and pen/pencil ready to take notes during your visit. You should write down any questions you have ahead of time and have them ready.
- Silence all your other devices (phone, etc.) so that it does not disturb you during the visit.