Preparation Before, During and After.
Your story is an important part of the doctor's visit, as medicine's oldest diagnostic tool, but it's easy to forget the details. Take the time to prepare for your virtual visit using templates to piece together your medical history. You can use
The Prepared Patient: Before, During and After a Virtual Visit as a checklist.
Location, Location, Location.
Although technology allows us to connect from just about anywhere, your health matters so plan whwre you'll be in advance. Pick a quiet location where you will have privacy so you can share sensitive information with your doctor without any distractions. If you're connecting via webcam, your background and the people in it will also be part of that virtual visit so plan accordingly.
Read My Lips.
Nothing is more distracting than an audio or visual delay when connecting virtually. Ask to test your sound, video and wi-fi quality in advance so you don't have any unnecessary distractions (especially is you're using technology you haven't used before).
Frame of View Matters.
Your camera is the window to your virtual visit and it's important for your doctor to be able to see your torso and arms in a well-lit area. Your doctor may perform a virtual physical exam, so be sure you have enough space to move around if asked (and wear comfortable clothing).
Don't forget to take notes! Using new technology might be distracting, and you can easily forget what you discussed during the virtual visit. Keep a pen and paper handy, ask for an after visit summary, and take a look at the doctor's medical note in your patient portal afterwards.
Ask how long the virtual visit will be so you can plan accordingly. Also confirm insurance coverage and any out-of-pocket requirements in advance.
What are Your Preferences?
We all have different communication preferences and the type of technology we're most comfortable with.
You can use the Learning Preference Barometer to help you determine your communication preferences. There might also be a learning curve with new technology so ask for a walk through in advance.
Friends & Family.
The beauty of technology is that a concerned family member that helps coordinate your care from afar (or even a friend) can join a virtual visit and be your advocate. They can take notes and help ask important questions.
What's in Your Digital Medicine Cabinet?
There is a variety of technology that can help you manage your health outside of the doctor's office, but also provide important information during the virtual visit. Ask your doctor what type of technology might be helpful during future virtual visits and/or to track your health over time.
Telehealth gives you the opportunity to connect with your doctor virtually beyond the constraints of time and geography. There are times when a telemedicine visit may be more convenient than an in-person visit, and you have a spectrum of other options to pick from based on your health concern and preferences.