Top 5 Telehealth Preparation Tips

McNair Dallas Law

telehealth preparation tips

When you used to think of a typical doctor’s appointment, you might conjure up images of waiting rooms, stethoscopes and maybe stickers. Now, that image has changed quite a bit. With the world shifting to increasingly remote communication amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, health appointments are often being limited to extended phone calls and video interactions. This is referred to as ‘telehealth.’

Caring Bridge’s top 5 telehealth preparation tips will help you get ready for a virtual doctor’s appointment and make the most of your telehealth experienceThe August 2020 article,  “5 Tips to Prepare for a Telehealth Appointment” shares these five steps:

  1. Check your Technology. You need a computer, smartphone, or tablet with a camera. Without a camera, it’s just a phone call, which may not be as effective, since your doctor can’t observe any physical symptoms or your physical expressions during the chat. Get the software and test it out beforehand.
  2. Get Your Medical Info Handy. You may be asked to fill out and return symptom and history forms by the day before your appointment. You should also be sure to write down notes for yourself for the predictable questions you’ll be asked during the visit itself like: When did this start? What makes the pain or issue better or worse? Don’t waste time trying to think through the answers to these questions on the spot.
  3. Be Ready to Do Your Own Physical Exam. Be ready to participate in your own physical exam. You may want to get a good scale, thermometer and blood pressure monitor to conduct your own exam. If you are able, on the day of your call, measure and document your blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, respiratory rate, and weight. You should also wear clothing that will make it easy to do the necessary show and tell during the call.
  4. Make a List of Your Questions. Create this list for the doctor in advance of your visit and be sure to prioritize them to make sure your main issues are addressed first. If all your questions aren’t covered, ask for a follow up telehealth visit.
  5. Sit in a Comfortable Spot. A typical telehealth visit takes about 20 minutes. Use the bathroom beforehand and have a glass of water handy, so you don’t have to get up. Create a comfortable, quiet space.

Remember, telehealth visits aren’t a replacement for ALL visits. You should be seen in-person if you believe you or a loved one are experiencing a heart attack, stroke, a head injury, trauma, or bleeding.  Telehealth is a terrific way to deliver medical care, provided we know its limitations.  Make the most of your visit by following these top 5 telehealth preparation tips.

Reference: Caring Bridge (Aug. 18, 2020) “5 Tips to Prepare for a Telehealth Appointment”

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