Technology creates new advances, including those in healthcare. In the last few years, telehealth has emerged as a popular approach to healthcare where you can visit a doctor from the comfort of your own home. It’s still a growing field, so you may have already considered trying it out.
If you think you might be ready for a virtual appointment with your doctor, find tips in this article about how to prepare for your visit. Learning the advantages of telehealth and putting in some prep time could reduce any anxiety you feel about this popular healthcare technology.
Wherever you live – in the city, suburbia, or out in the country – there are benefits to virtual health visits, including:
In addition to these benefits, your provider also takes on a unique role during telehealth visits. Your doctor:
Telehealth companies also protect your privacy as they have technology that meets legal requirements, such as those associated with HIPAA.
With any new technology comes new terminology. Some of these terms may seem familiar to you, while others may have taken on new meanings. It’s essential to learn the language of telehealth to get the full experience.
This list of terms isn’t exhaustive. If you encounter a telehealth term that you don’t know, look up the meaning or ask your doctor for information.
You’ll get a lot of value out of your virtual visit by setting aside time to prepare. There are three parts to preparing for your virtual doctor’s visit.
To focus on your health, come up with the points you want to discuss with your doctor. Make sure you’ve been heard and that you’re well aware of any next steps.
Preparing your surroundings ahead of time limits distractions that can interfere with communication. Finding a quiet place to conduct your visit may be challenging, but location can be key.
Practicing with your computer setup ensures that you and your surroundings are ready. This applies even if you are familiar with technology and distance communication methods.
Read on to discover more details about each of these three important ways to prepare for your telehealth visit.
Whether going to an office visit or meeting virtually with your doctor, the focus is on your health. This applies if you have a chronic illness, an emerging concern, or generally good health. These are tips to use for either type of visit.
Your health is important to your doctor, just as it is to you and your loved ones. That means your overall health, including both physical and mental. Thinking through the following prompts will assist you in having everything on hand that you want to talk over with your doctor.
Jotting down this info before your appointment will be helpful as you speak with your doctor, lessening any tension as you try to recall details. Taking this step also makes you focus on yourself and the value of your health.
Perhaps you’ve had some concerning symptoms lately. Ask yourself some questions and take notes in preparation for your visit:
It helps to think over life in general because changes at home or work can affect your health. These are points to consider in the days leading up to your visit:
List any changes you’ve made that affect health, even in a good way.
It can be so easy to forget the questions you have for your doctor. That’s even true at in-person visits. As you think about any concerns you have or changes in your health and behaviors, formulate a list of what you want to ask. Then, have these on hand during your virtual visit, assuring that what you most need to know isn’t overlooked.
These questions are merely prompts. You’re likely to come up with others specific to your health needs. Remember that your questions are important as the answers guide your next steps.
Although there are good reasons for someone to be with you during your visit, doing so is a personal decision. Points to consider include:
If you have your notes typed in a document ahead of time, let your doctor’s office know. They’ll tell you if they want to have a copy on hand.
Read through your questions and notes once before your actual call. Read them out loud rather than silently because the act of speaking in addition to reading will provide deeper familiarity with the materials you’ve prepared. It sounds silly, but doctor visits can be stressful and make any of us a bit flustered, so a bit of preparation can pay off.
The steps you take to prepare for your virtual doctor’s visit allow things to go as smoothly and constructively as possible. Part of the upside of telemedicine is that you can meet anywhere comfortable for you. But if you don’t consider location until it’s too late, your location might undermine the value of the visit. Here’s what you should do:
Give yourself at least 10 minutes to spare before your call. You need those final minutes to organize and collect your thoughts. Having your setting ready to go is one less thing to have to think about before your visit.
Setting aside time for a test run helps you avoid missing your appointment altogether because of technology glitches. No matter how tech-savvy you are, this is useful because all telemedical interfaces are different.
As you take the steps suggested here, you’ll feel more confident about using telemedicine for aspects of your healthcare. After your first telehealth visit, reflect on what went right and what you might like to work on for your next visit. Remember that preparation can help you have more meaningful visits with your doctor.