How to Prepare for your Telehealth Visit
While telemedicine has been around for several years, the current COVID-19 public health pandemic has rapidly accelerated its adoption among patients. However, patients who are trying telehealth for the first time can be frustrating for everyone involved. Telemedicine refers specifically to remote clinical services, while telehealth can refer to remote non-clinical services.
Follow the following advice to get the most successful, efficient and satisfying experience with your next virtual appointment.
Before your appointment, make sure you are familiar with what video/telephone interface system will be used and have tested it to make sure it is compatible with your device. Install any necessary apps or other software.
Make sure your camera and microphone are turned on, and that you are familiar with your camera functionality, including how to flip between the front and back cameras if applicable.
Log in for your appointment at least 15 minutes early to have time to troubleshoot any potential issues so you can spend your scheduled appointment time talking to your physician.
Sit in a well-lit area. Avoid being backlit, as this lighting makes seeing your face very difficult.
Sit in an area in your home or wherever you are that has the best internet/phone reception so that the connection is the clearest. Otherwise, the audio/visual feed can be disrupted, making continued conversation difficult.
If your physician’s patient portal is set up for secure messages with attached photos, please take a clear photo of your foot that can be sent prior to the call or video visit. The clarity of a JPEG is typically better than video, which can be quite grainy. Make sure the photo is well-lit, and avoid zooming in too much. You can put an object, such as a coin in the photo for a size reference.
If you have difficulty with technology and you have a caregiver, friend, or family member available who might be able to help you, please have them nearby to assist with the call.
Please remove noise distractions if possible, including other family members or roommates and animals but also things like washing machines, television, or music. If you can use headphones, please consider using them.
Jot down your questions before the visit, so that you remember them during the visit.
Have examples of your typical shoes nearby so that you can show your provider the types of shoes you have been wearing. If you use inserts or orthotics, have those with you as well so they can be “reviewed” during the video call.
If possible, have someone else hold the camera to help show your foot in a more natural position.
If a gait exam is needed, find a hallway to walk down as the camera is propped on the floor at the other end or held by someone else.
Content Credit: apma.org
I had a telemedicine visit recently where I was the patient, and it went pretty smoothly! I still had to pay a co-pay, but it was very convenient and I got what I needed out of the visit. I hope telehealth continues to be utilized long after the pandemic is over!
What have your telehealth experiences been like? Please comment below if you have any tips!