Let’s be honest. We’re currently in a period where it is more secure and more practical for doctors to meet with patients by means of video rather than meeting face to face in an office.
Imagine sitting in a waiting room among other sick patients, exposing your immune system to more ailments than what you are currently seeing the doctor for. On the other hand, you could be sitting in your home office at your desk in a virtual waiting room reading a book while waiting for the doctor to come on screen.
With the ease and flexibility of telehealth visits, why not take advantage of technology to see your doctor for monthly appointments? Keep in mind how important it is to prepare for your appointment beforehand so you can make the most of your telehealth appointment.
Here are a couple of our top tips for making telehealth visits more effective.
Tip 1: Talk with your insurance agency about what is and isn’t covered
Avoid any sudden bills by checking with your insurance agency as to whether telehealth visits are covered.
While a few states have safety net providers to cover telehealth visits during the Covid pandemic, and Medicare has extended its inclusion for these visits, not all insurance agencies cover telehealth or limit inclusion to COVID-19 related issues.
Also, for those that do offer insurance benefits for telehealth visits, you actually may need to pay a copay. Despite what insurance does or does not cover, all data shared during the telehealth arrangement is protected by HIPAA laws.
Tip 2: Record your side effects.
In the event that you are debilitated, you need to give however much data as could be expected to the specialist during your telehealth visit. Make a list of each side effect you have been experiencing, and how long you have been experiencing the side effect.
For example: if you recently have been having a fever, be ready to say how long the fever has been ongoing, what the highs and lows of the fever have been, and any prescriptions you took to diminish the fever.
In the event that you have a more visible symptom, like a rash, snap a picture of the symptom or even a series of pictures and be prepared to show the rash to the specialist using video conferencing.
Tip 3: Discuss any previous or pre-existing conditions you have.
During your telehealth arrangement, the clinical supplier will require your clinical history, so take note of any previous conditions you have and how long you have had them. (In the event that you have been seeing the same doctor for quite a while, you might have the option to avoid detailing your history, however, they will presumably inquire as to whether anything has changed since your last visit.)
Likewise, on the off chance that you take a prescription for any of these conditions, list those also, in addition to any over-the-counter medications or herbal medications you presently are taking.
Be ready to give an extensive overview of your clinical history and current wellbeing for the medical provider to appropriately assess your condition.
Tip 4: Make sure your medical devices are close by and within reach.
In the event that you have a thermometer, pulse screen, glucometer for estimating sugar levels, blood pressure monitor, or even a restroom scale, have it close by during your telehealth visit.
It’s highly possible that your specialist may want you to use these devices during the visit and having them nearby can be awfully convenient for both you and your provider.
At any rate, take a few measurements with these devices before the visit and record the statistics and the time you used the device to add to your notes and go over with the specialist.
Tip 5: Write down questions for your provider
Before any doctor’s visit whether in office or virtual it is key to make a list of all the questions you have for the provider.
Getting sidetracked during the visit can be quite easy with all of the questions your doctor may have for you. You will certainly want to have you list on hand in order to address all of your concerns.
It may also be a good idea to have a notepad and pen handy in order to take notes about the information and instructions that your doctor may have for you during the telehealth visit. Treat this just like you would an in-office visit and make sure you keep track of things your doctor tells you during the visit.
Tip 6: Find a quiet room or place in your home for your telehealth appointment.
You don’t want your virtual appointment interrupted by loud noises from other people in your house. Let your family know you will be in a telehealth visit and not to disturb you during this time.
In addition, turn off background noise like the TV or radio so your call is not interrupted and to reduce distractions during the appointment. Using earbuds or headphones during your visit may help you reduce outside noise and remain focused on your telehealth visit.
Tip 7: Prepare your computer, smartphone, or another device beforehand.
By their very nature, telehealth visits require technology. Regardless of which type of device you use it is always a good idea to make sure it’s fully charged or plugged in and you have a reliable internet connection before your telehealth visit starts.
Also, make sure you download any required applications or software programs used by the provider before the appointment, and set up your account, login information, and fill out your complete profile. (The telehealth provider will generally give you instructions and any apps or software beforehand.)
Finally, make sure the lighting is bright enough in the area you plan to use for the virtual visit so the provider can see you clearly.
Here are a few final notes about telehealth visits
Telehealth visits can be awfully convenient for you the patient as well as the doctor. When you have prepared well for the visit, it can be a very effective way to see your doctor without having to leave the comfort of your home.
Don’t forget these final points.
- If you had a visit with a provider other than your normal primary care doctor you will want to let your regular primary care doctor know about your visit.
- Make note of any medications that were called in, follow-up visits, or points of interest so you can refer to these notes later.
- Be open-minded during these visits. Sometimes imagining the doctor being in the room with you can be just like an in-office visit.
- If you have a family caregiver, it might be a good idea to have them sit in with you to remind you about certain important questions you have for the provider.
As the premier senior caregiver service in Columbia, SC, our caregivers are passionate about integrated care. We understand the importance of caring not just for people’s physical needs but for their mental and social needs as well.
We love helping older people continue to live full, active lives. You can learn more about our services here.
If you’re looking for high-quality, personalized senior home care in the greater Columbia, SC area, we’d love to talk. You can contact us here.