Virtual Health visits are not new. This type of two-way healthcare communication has been around a while, particularly as a tool to connect people who live in rural or remote areas to qualified medical professionals. The COVID-19 pandemic made it more widely used by people who didn’t want to sit in a doctor’s office or were forced to travel long distances to see a doctor. Many doctors only saw patients virtually at times. More people now take comfort in virtual care for myriad reasons – convenience, safety, promptness and the ease of seeing a board-certified doctor without leaving the comfort of home. Here are a few pointers to ensure you get the most out of your Virtual Health visit.
What equipment do I need?
A Virtual Health visit ideally is a audio and visual interaction between you and a doctor. You will need a computer with a camera, or a smartphone or tablet. You will also need a high-speed internet connection. Your connection should be strong enough to stream video, but it does not have to be the highest quality or speed available. If you can stream movies through your Wi-Fi connection, you will be fine. If you do not have the technology, you can always use the audio on your phone.
7 steps for getting ready for your visit
- Find a quiet, private place free of distractions.
- Turn your volume up and make sure your doctor will be able to hear you.
- Test your connection before your visit.
- Make sure you have downloaded the app on your computer, smartphone or tablet./li>
- Make sure your camera setting is at eye level and centered.
- Adjust your lighting. Make sure any windows are behind your device and not behind you.
- Do not eat or drink anything during your visit.
- Keep a pen and paper handy to take notes.
What else do I need?
It might be helpful to have a family member join the call with you to take notes or raise concerns in case you forget something. You will also want to have a list of your current medications handy – both prescribed and over the counter. It can be helpful if you can take vitals such as temperature, blood pressure and pulse rate. Your doctor will want to know those results.
Is your personal health information safe?
Your personal healthcare information is always safe and secure whenever you have a Virtual Health visit. Every healthcare organization protects all the details related to you, and virtual care is no different.
Why use Virtual Health?
Virtual Health can be a helpful addition to regular in-person visits, particularly during the pandemic. Meeting with a provider virtually is much better than not meeting at all. Do not ignore or delay symptoms for which you otherwise would seek care.
What if I need more direct care?
If you or your family member have a life-threatening illness, are bleeding profusely, are unconscious or in trauma, please call 911 or go to the hospital emergency room.
Source: The National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers