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6 Tips for Telemedicine Appointments

One of my clinical mentors in pediatrics taught me the value of “laying eyes” on a patient.  So much can be learned from the first look, she stated.  

Over the past few years, there has been speculation that many areas of medical practice could be done virtually.  Many of us scoffed at the idea of phone or video visits replacing that sacred laying of eyes.  The current pandemic has made virtual visits a necessary reality and has forcibly pushed us a decade into the future. Ten months into the pandemic I am now convinced that we will be delivering some of our care in this fashion into the post-pandemic future.

The following is a checklist that outlines how to make the best use of your telemedicine visit:

Tips For Your Telemedical Visit

  1. Make sure that you can speak in a place that is private and without noise or distractions.
  2. Have a checklist of the issues you wish to address.  Give your practitioner an outline at the beginning of the visit so that the time spent can be budgeted appropriately.
  3. Have important information available.  Keep your health card, your current prescription list, your pharmacy information, the information regarding which lab, pharmacy or imaging place you would prefer available.  
  4. Keep notes of the treatment plan.  In an in-person visit, your practitioner may give you a pamphlet or plan.  In a telemedicine visit, it is important to note all recommendations and resources so that you can refer to them after the visit.
  5. Take photographs of any rashes or lesions and make arrangements with staff to email these or text them to your provider.
  6. Make a plan for a follow-up visit.  

I am now a convert.  Many aspects of health care can be delivered in this manner.  Managing chronic diseases, mental health care and guidance for a number of conditions can be done this way.  I do miss “seeing” many of my patients but know that we can provide good care safely through telemedicine.

Dr. Bhooma Bhayana is a family physician in London and the mother of two young men and grandmother of one lovely princess! She continues to find wonder and enjoyment in family practice despite more than 30 years on the job!

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