If you’ve decided to give telemedicine a try, there are some things you can do beforehand to make the most of the virtual visit. After all, you don’t want to spend your entire telemedicine appointment trying to figure out why your microphone isn’t working. Luckily, many telemedicine platforms make it easy for you to get prepped and have a successful appointment.
Before booking your telemedicine appointment, you should make sure you check with your insurance. Different insurance companies may have different approaches to covering telemedicine. You should also consider if telemedicine is right for you and your health concern. It’s possible that an in-person visit may be a better approach (such as if you need blood work or a vaccine).
Once you’ve booked your visit, follow these steps to make the most of your telemedicine appointment:
Whether you’re using a landline phone, a mobile device, or a computer, make sure that:
It is plugged in or the battery is charged
Your microphone is working and picking up your voice
Your audio is working and the volume is set to a good level
Your camera is working, if you’re using one
If you’re using a camera, it helps to set up in a well-lit space. Try to face a window or light, instead of having light behind you. This helps light your face and body so your healthcare provider can see you better. This may be crucial for your doctor if they need to examine an infected cut on your skin, for example.
Just as with an in-person doctor visit, it can be very helpful to write notes and bring them with you. It’s easy to forget important things during an appointment, so having questions and notes written down in front of you can help. Consider bringing:
A symptom diary
Digital pictures (if you want to show how an infection or injury has worsened or improved)
A list of questions
One drawback of telemedicine is that you may have a lot of distractions in your home. These may interrupt your appointment or make the visit less productive. Try to pick a quiet and private space ahead of time. Ask others in your home to not interrupt during your appointment, or put a sign on the door to remind them if needed. Turn your phone off or on silent during the appointment. If you have pets, consider keeping them out of the room.
Just like you can bring someone with you to an in-person doctor visit, you can have someone sit next to you during a telemedicine appointment. It may help to have someone with you if you:
Are nervous and want emotional support
Have difficulty remembering information
Want help taking notes during the appointment
Need help working with the technology
You may or may not need it. If this is a healthcare provider you are seeing for the first time, you are more likely going to need to share this information.
Once you’ve prepared for your virtual visit, you should be all set to have a great telemedicine appointment. The good news is that it will get a little bit easier, and you’ll have a little more confidence, after each visit.