Making the Most of a Telehealth Visit

February 1, 2021

Incredibly convenient, telehealth appointments help us give and receive care while we limit contact during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because this format is new to many and a little different than your typical in-person visit, we’ve gathered some tips to help you prepare to provide the information your health care provider needs – and absorb everything coming from your provider to you.

“Telehealth is a powerful tool that can be just as effective as seeing your doctor face-to-face, especially for managing chronic disease,” says Martin Wesolowski, D.O., who practices at the Martin’s Point Health Center in Gorham. “Just like when you go to see your doctor in person, it’s best to come with information and questions ready.”

Do ahead:

  • Gather key information, including:
    • Medications: Have the containers or a list of what you’re currently taking with you.
    • Numbers: If your doctor has asked you to have your weight, temperature, or blood pressure, have those numbers handy.
    • Questions: Write down everything you want to tell your doctor and a list of questions you want to ask.
  • Set up for success:
  • Location: Choose a place in your home where you can sit comfortably and set your phone, laptop, or tablet on a stable surface with reliable internet access. Make sure there’s enough light but no glare (don’t sit right in front of a window).
  • Power: Charge your laptop or device.
  • Noise level: Let others in the house know you’ll need quiet (and maybe privacy) and plan accordingly to avoid distractions from pets and kids.

 

Just before your appointment:

  • Test to make sure the camera, microphone, and Internet are all working.
  • Have a pen and paper handy to take notes.
  • Position the camera at eye-level.
  • Close other applications on your phone or computer to keep your connection running at optimum capacity.

Before your appointment ends:

  • Pause. Check your list of notes and questions. Make sure you covered it all.
  • Understand the next steps. Your doctor will likely summarize before your appointment ends. Make sure you know if you need to make any follow up appointments, pick up prescriptions, or if there are any changes that should prompt you to call the doctor’s office.

Telehealth tips for parents

A few extra considerations to help pediatric appointments go smoothly:

  • Talk to your child and let him or her know what to expect and why you’re seeing the doctor.
  • Dress your child in loose clothing that you can remove easily in case a virtual examination is necessary.
  • Position the camera so the doctor can see both you and your child. If you have an infant or toddler, hold them in your lap, and have a few well-loved toys nearby. If possible, have a spouse or older sibling on standby to help if your baby gets fussy.

If your telehealth visit leads to an in-person visit at one of our medical offices, rest assured that Martin’s Point has safety protocols and specialized cleaning routines in place to keep both patients and staff as healthy as possible.