In this time of the pandemic, healthcare providers are increasingly encouraging their patients to book online consultations in place of in-person visits. The advantages to this are two-fold: a virtual visit keeps the healthy patients away from the sick ones, and doctors can stay safe while continuing to provide care.
The number of video visits booked as part of the growing telehealth revolution has increased ever since the pandemic hit. According to a paper published, primary care virtual consultations grew almost 30% annually between 2005 to 2017. Since March, the number has jumped to 50%.
Telehealth and virtual consultations are more accessible now than ever. While it’s true that an in-person visit has its benefits, online appointments can also address your concerns adequately including follow-ups, diagnosis, and treatment.
Whether it’s just a regular consult or an immediate health need, here are the tips you can use to make the most of your virtual consultation:
1) Make Sure Your Tech Is Set Up
If you’re consulting online, then you’re definitely going to need a reliable internet connection and a smartphone or laptop. For people who find it difficult to set up a whole desktop, a phone might be better as the video and microphone technology is integrated.
2) Document Your Symptoms
Make a list of your symptoms, and be specific: When did they start? How did they start? How long do they last? Note any medicine you may have taken and when you took the last dose. If you have any recurring health complaints, note down those too. For a doctor, it’s easier to start with the current symptoms and then work backwards to arrive at a diagnosis.
Noting down symptoms beforehand also saves time.
3) Keep Recent Prescriptions At Hand
Many doctors will ask to see any recent medication, vitamins and supplements prescribed to you with names and dosages. Your doctor should also know about any medications you take on an as-needed basis such as headache pills or cough tablets.
4) Make A Health Summary
If you’re consulting online with a doctor for the first time, it would be useful to write a health summary. That way, the doctor doesn’t have to spend too much on asking the basic questions. You can write the summary in bullet points – current medications, allergies, any past surgeries, any medical/family health conditions, recent tests conducted for diagnosis, etc.
5) Make A List Of Questions
There will probably be plenty of things you’d want to discuss with your doctor but make a list of the top 3 questions that are your priority and discuss those. Questions about symptoms and medications should always be prioritized over any other minor issues.
6) Find A Quiet Spot
Your medical discussions should be private and only between you and your provider. Find a place where you won’t be interrupted and limit any distractions. Don’t take your telehealth consultation when you’re otherwise preoccupied with other things like shopping or driving.
7) Take Running Notes
As with all doctor consultations, there will be a lot discussed. Use a pen and paper to jot down what your doctor is saying so you have an easier time understanding if the appointment has addressed your needs or not. These notes can help you figure out the agenda for the next follow-up and also help plan logistics for treatments, if any.
An online appointment isn’t that different from your regular in-person visit. The quality of care you receive is the same. In fact, many healthcare providers encourage patients to ask for a video visit as it allows them to schedule their time for the patients who have urgent health concerns.
Your health needs should not be delayed. Visit TABIIB to book an online consultation.