8 Tips to Give to Your Patients for Their Next Telehealth Appointment

8 Tips to Give to Your Patients for Their Next Telehealth Appointment

Telehealth or telemedicine appointments amid the COVID-19 pandemic are currently moving from trend to mainstream, but many patients may be suspicious or nervous about their telehealth appointment. There are many ways patients can use telehealth to their advantage, from a routine checkup to appointments with specialists to urgent and emergency care. However, they must be prepared beforehand to make the most out of the appointment. Following are some suggestions you may want to discuss with them to make them feel more comfortable about their telehealth appointment.

What You Should Do Before Your Telehealth Appointment:

    1. Talk to your insurance company about copays and coverage.
      1. To avoid the surprise of unexpected bills, check with your insurance company to make sure telehealth appointments are covered. While certain states have required health insurers to cover these visits during the coronavirus pandemic, not all insurance companies cover telehealth appointments, or they limit coverage to COVID-19 related issues.
      2. Medicare has expanded its coverage for telehealth appointments.
      3. For those who provide coverage for telehealth appointments, you may still be responsible for a copay. But despite your insurance coverage, all information shared during the telehealth appointment remains covered by HIPAA laws.
    2. Write down all of your current symptoms.
      1. If you are currently sick, you need to give the doctor or other medical professional as much information as possible during the telehealth appointment.
      2. Make a list of all your symptoms.
      3. Note how long you have had the symptoms.
      4. For example, if you have a fever, be ready to inform the doctor how long you have had the fever or how long you had it. Inform him what the highs and lows of the fever have been and any medications you may have taken to reduce the fever.
      5. e. If you have any visible symptoms, such as a rash, take a photo or be prepared to show the rash to your doctor using video conferencing capability.
    3. Be prepared to discuss any pre-existing conditions you have.
      1. During your telehealth appointment, the medical professional will need your history. Write down any pre-existing conditions and how long you have had them. If you have been using the same provider for a long duration, you can probably skip the in-depth medical history. You will probably be asked if anything is different since your last visit.
      2. Also, if you take medications for these conditions, write those down as well. Note any other medicines or supplements you are currently taking.
      3. You will need to present a comprehensive picture of your medical history and current health status for the proper evaluation by the doctor of your current condition.

During your telehealth appointment

  1. Put any medical devices you have near close by.
    1. If you have a thermometer, heart monitor, blood pressure monitor, bathroom scale, or glucometer for measuring blood sugar levels, have it close by during the telehealth appointment.
    2. Your provider may request a current reading during your discussion, and you do not want to take up time having to retrieve the devices during the call.
    3. You may want to take a reading just before the telehealth visit from each of these devices and record the reading and the time of the reading to discuss them with your doctor.
  2. So you don’t forget, write down any questions you have before the appointment
    1. Before your telehealth appointment, make a list of any questions you have for the provider. It is easy to forget questions or get sidetracked during the call, so you want to make sure you have the questions available to address all your concerns.
    2. Make sure you have a notepad available to record the doctor’s responses, to make notes regarding the information and any instructions from the doctor made during the call.
  3. Find a spot that is quiet for your telehealth appointment.
    1. You do not want your virtual appointment interrupted by your roommate, the spouse or kids, or the dog. Find a quiet spot for your consultation.
    2. Also, switch off the TV, radio, or other audio devices, so the call is not distracted by ambient background noise and to reduce disturbances during the appointment.
    3. You may consider the use headphones or earbuds to help further reduce any background noise during the call or videoconference.
  4. Prepare your device(s) prior to the appointment.
    1. Telehealth appointments require technology for your consultation with the medical professional.
    2. Whether it is a cell phone, laptop, or desktop computer, make sure it has a full charge or is plugged in, and you have a reliable internet connection.
    3. Also, download any required software program or app utilized by the medical provider in advance of the appointment. Set up your account with login information. The telehealth professional will give you instructions prior to the appointment.
    4. Make sure you have good lighting in the location you intend to use for the virtual appointment so the provider can see you adequately.
  5. Be ready for an in-person follow-up appointment if necessary.
    1. While telehealth appointments can be an excellent way to see your doctor without leaving the comfort of your home, there are some cases when an in-person visit is required.
    2. Therefore, if this appointment was not with your primary care provider, don’t be surprised if the medical professional instructs you to make a follow-up appointment with your primary care doctor. Or he may give your instructions to go to the nearest emergency room or local urgent care center for treatment.
    3. If this is what you are instructed to do, don’t forget to bring your notes from the telehealth appointment to the in-person appointment so you can inform your doctor or the medical professional that provides treatment of the information shared and received during the virtual telehealth appointment.

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