“Telehealth,” “virtual,” or “telemedicine” appointments are a convenient, safe way to access care from the comfort of home. This approach uses two-way, live communication (often with video) to connect a patient with a caregiver in real-time, affording patients the opportunity to easily maintain a proactive approach to ongoing preventive and managed healthcare. While this technology-assisted approach to appointments isn’t new, the novel coronavirus outbreak and related restrictions on travel, business, and gatherings has generated a renewed and expanding interest in remote healthcare from many potential patients.
Even before the pandemic, virtual patients were leveraging this progressive approach to care to overcome potential obstacles like time away from work, childcare considerations, or to skip the waiting room. With the current “flatten the curve” climate restrictions on in-person services, travel, geographic, or other obstacles, the benefits of this safe path to care are even more astounding, as patients with various conditions report feeling:
With so many patients taking advantage of this convenient approach to ongoing care, as they do with our own AxiaConnect telehealth service, we’re pleased to share a few tips to ensure you’re getting the most out of each virtual health visit.
Virtual health visits often make use of a video conferencing tool to provide a face-to-face experience. For example, AxiaConnect makes use of the Zoom app through a safe and HIPPA-compliant platform to connect our providers with patients through a simple to use, engaging platform. Make sure to read the messaging around making a virtual appointment with your provider to be sure you can identify which technology is used, then install it on the device you plan to use for the appointment and test it before your appointment begins. This will avoid any delays or interruptions to a clear and purposeful appointment.
Prepare for a virtual visit in the same fashion you would for an in-person visit. Make sure you understand the costs or co-pays involved (Axia Women’s Health patients can always contact their provider for this information), and complete your patient forms or other required paperwork and have it ready. Finally, mark off and clear your calendar for the window of time you’ll need to prepare for and participate in the virtual visit.
One of the benefits of a telehealth appointment is the comfort that comes from being in your own space, so be sure the location that will serve as the setting for the virtual appointment is appropriate. You’ll want an area in the home that’s relatively quiet, well-lit, and where you feel you have privacy to discuss potentially sensitive matters. Make sure that the camera on the device you’ll use is steady and at eye-level, and if you are unsure, just ask the provider right away if they can see you clearly.
Take time in advance of the appointment to consider all the questions and concerns you have relating to your issue. Be thorough and think back to those past “ohhh, I should have asked…” moments that you may have encountered in the car on the way home or the next day after an in-person appointment. Make a list to refer to and be sure to share them with your provider where appropriate during the call. Don’t miss out on the peace of mind that comes from fully addressing your concerns with an expert.
Patients report one of the biggest benefits to telehealth appointments is the clarity in communication and detailed engagement which virtual visits promote. As you get answers to those questions from your list, or as your provider offers instructions, take good notes and repeat them back where needed to be sure that both you and your provider are completely clear on what’s been communicated while there’s time to immediately address any potential misunderstandings.
As your appointment is nearing its end, refer to the recommendations or instructions shared by your provider, and ask for, or repeat the expectations surrounding next steps. Are you clear on the treatment plan? Are you clear on medications/prescriptions? Do you know when your next appointment should be? Take advantage of this time to make sure that you come away as satisfied with your virtual visit as you have ever been with in-person care.
Telehealth continues to evolve as a popular, safe, and convenient path to care. We’d love to help you experience this first-hand, and encourage you to learn more about AxiaConnect and consider scheduling your next telehealth visit today!
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