Technology advancement has made it increasingly simple to virtually interact with one another, including with your doctor. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, virtual doctor visits have become more mainstream than ever allowing and offering patients the choice and convenience of staying home to discuss health issues. While virtual medical visits are not meant to replace in-person interactions with your doctor or are necessary for everyone, they can be an alternative method of still being able to obtain quality healthcare while staying home.
It’s important to stress, however, that any emergency medical issue that arises, still needs to be treated as an emergency requiring emergency care. Emergency situations warranting a visit to the emergency room and not for a virtual doctor’s visit include having sudden chest pain, trouble breathing, uncontrollable bleeding, or numbness or weakness in a part of the body. A virtual visit will not suffice and you will need emergency care right away.
Since many of us are accustomed to seeing our doctors at in-office visits, if you do decide to do a virtual medical visit, it’s always best to be prepared beforehand. Just like you should be prepared when seeing your doctor in person, virtual visits demand this same step. Here are some tips to make the best of this new approach:
Make a list
Just like you should when seeing your doctor in office, it’s important to be prepared by making a list of two to three major concerns or questions helping the visit go more smoothly. Seeing your doctor online may cause you to lose your train of thought and ability to focus during the consultation and by having a prepared list ahead of time, you are better able to pay attention to detail.
Address routine issues before the appointment:
It will help to already have vital information available ahead of time such as medication refills or paperwork needed by an employer. Using an online patient portal that most doctors’ offices provide can be accessed to use for putting in this information.
Choose a room that is quiet and without distractions
If possible, have your virtual visit in an area of your home that is free of distractions and is quiet, allowing both you and the doctor to clearly see and hear one another.
Get technology in order and test it
Your doctor’s office should let you know which technology platform they use since it may be a platform-specific to their healthcare system. It’s advised to do a test run of your computer equipment the day before the visit. Log on and if possible, connect with a friend briefly to make adjustments needed such as the camera or sound. This will save time and effort during the real virtual visit so that all of your allotted time is devoted to your medical concerns and not of fixing or correcting computer or internet connection malfunctions.
Provide any vital sign information you can
One drawback to virtual visits is the fact of not being physically present to take vital signs. However, certain vital signs can be taken at home to provide information to your healthcare provider. Using a scale to weigh yourself, having a blood pressure cuff at home measuring blood pressure or taking your pulse rate, using an oral thermometer to assess temperature, or a glucose meter to check blood sugar, are examples of in-home devices that can be relied on for accurate medical assessments.