Telehealth services have made it possible to seek medical treatment without even setting foot inside a doctor's office. You can video chat with your doctor from your smartphone or computer. As convenient as telehealth is, however, there is a bit of a learning curve and some unique challenges to face. Follow these tips for a more productive and beneficial first appointment.
Use a Quality Camera
This is especially important if your health condition has any physical symptoms — for example, if you have a rash or swelling somewhere. The more clearly your doctor can see your body, the more accurately they will be able to diagnose you. Most of the latest smartphone models have excellent cameras, but if you are video conferencing on an older laptop, it may be worth investing in an external webcam with better resolution or finding a friend you can borrow one from.
Make a List of Questions Beforehand
Unlike traditional doctor's appointments, which typically last as long as they last, telehealth appointments often last a set amount of time — such as 15 minutes or 30 minutes. As such, it's important to make sure you have all of your questions on-hand and ready to ask. Write them down on physical paper so you're not left trying to shuffle between tabs on your screen while video chatting. You can include general commentary and lists of symptoms on this list, too, in addition to questions.
Ask if You Can Record the Appointment
At the very beginning of the appointment, ask your doctor if it is okay to record the session. (Or look to see if the doctor's website lists a general policy on this.) Recording will ensure you don't miss any information. You can always go back and listen to certain parts of the chat again if you forget what the doctor recommended or how they described something.
Make Sure You Have Privacy During the Appointment
Most people will feel most comfortable and confident when they have some privacy during their telehealth visit. Let other family members in your home know when your appointment is, and ask them to leave you alone during that time. Lock the door, if possible, so you don't worry about people coming in and disturbing you.
With the tips above, you'll have a better telehealth visit. Remember, it will get easier every time you do it. If the first time is a little awkward, that's completely normal.
For more information, contact a doctor's office that offers telehealth services.