We’ve seen many changes in the world since 2020, when the global COVID-19 pandemic hit, and life as we knew it altered significantly. While most of us have focused on changes such as the need for lockdowns, movement restrictions, mask- wearing, health issues, work shifts, home-schooling, economic uncertainty, and more, there have been some silver linings.
One of those is the increasing opportunity to attend health appointments virtually. Telehealth had been expanding before the COVID outbreak, but in recent months more and more health practitioners have seen the benefits of offering services remotely and have gotten the tech in place to do so.
This expansion is helpful for those who have conditions that make it hard to attend in-person appointments, people who live on the land or other regional or remote areas, and those who struggle to leave home due to mental health challenges. If you’re about to have your first digital appointment with a doctor, here are some ways to prepare.
Know Your Goals
Get clear about your specific goals for your appointment before you speak with an online doctor. Understanding what you want to get out of the session will help you stay focused. For instance, you might want to get a diagnosis or a referral, learn about medication or other treatment options, or see if you’ll feel comfortable with a general practitioner and can make them your regular doctor.
Check Your Insurance Coverage
Don’t forget to check your insurance cover for medical appointments before the day of your conversation. You don’t want to get hit with an unexpected and costly bill, after all. Talk to your insurance provider about what kind of coverage you get with your plan and if telehealth sessions are included.
For some insurance firms that do offer cover, you’ll have to handle a co-pay cost. Your insurer should give you information about what you might need to cover out of pocket, and the medical practice you deal with should also be able to provide you with details on the costs they charge.
Write Down Pertinent Details
To prepare for your telemedicine appointment, take time to write notes for yourself, so you’re not trying to think of everything on the spot. For example, write down all the pertinent info related to your symptoms or other health problems you want to discuss. The more details you can give a doctor, the easier it will be for them to provide a correct diagnosis or comprehensive information.
Make a list of any pre-existing conditions you have that the medical professional you speak with doesn’t already have listed in your file. Note conditions you deal with and how long they’ve been present, as well as any changes you’ve noticed in recent times. The practitioner will also want to know if you take medication for any of your health concerns, including supplements and other treatment programs you’ve utilized.
Note the medical devices that form part of your life, and have them on hand in case the doctor wants you to use any of them to test yourself during the appointment. For instance, you might need to utilize a heart or blood pressure monitor, thermometer, or glucometer. It pays to take a reading of relevant vitals and jot down the records before your session starts, too, so you don’t need to waste time during the conversation if not necessary.
Prepare a List of Questions or Concerns
Another tip is to prepare a list of questions you want to ask your doctor or concerns you want to chat about. It’s easy to forget things or get sidetracked during conversations, but notes will keep you on track. Have paper and a pen handy to jot down responses, too, so you don’t forget them later.
Test Your Tech
Your telehealth preparation should include testing tech and setting it up if required. Ensure your internet connection or phone line work well, and that your phone, laptop, tablet, or other computer is updated and fully charged. Check that the microphone and camera on devices operate effectively, and download any required software programs you need to utilize during your virtual appointment.
Close down applications that could slow up your device during the call, and make sure you know how to use the program your chat will be hosted on. Ensure you have adequate lighting for your appointment, too, especially if the health practitioner needs to see a part of your body.
A little bit of effort and time put in before you speak with a doctor remotely is well worth it to have a successful appointment without glitches.