Telemedicine was already on the rise before recent patient and staff safety concerns gave it a big boost—83% of patients expect to use it even after the current pandemic is over. With this in mind, we’ve put together telemedicine tips and tech giveaways for healthcare professionals and patients that will help those virtual visits go more smoothly.
Show a professional face
When holding appointments virtually, it’s important to remember that your patients will still expect a professional appearance. Find a quiet space with good lighting and a neutral background so your patients can see and hear you without distraction.
Find alternate solutions to common tests
Not being able to see someone in person can make it a challenge to do a thorough examination. Find ways to perform simple tests online. For example:
- If someone has a rash or bite, ask them to circle it with a marker and take a picture—or multiple pictures to track growth—and send it to you before the appointment.
- Check for peritonitis by having the patient jump up and down.
Test your tech
Before you start taking appointments from a new phone, tablet or computer, or attempt to use new software, try a few test calls with colleagues or people in the office—and keep your IT department’s number handy.
This will not only ensure your equipment works, it can make you aware if you need to update your webcam to get a clearer picture, or get new ear buds so you can hear clearly and maintain privacy.
While telemedicine is a wonderful technology, it can pose communication challenges. When the patient is making an appointment, ask them:
- Do they own a smartphone or have an internet connection to accommodate a virtual face-to-face visit, or will the call need to be audio-only?
- Do they require a translator? Establish whether a friend or relative can help or if you will need to provide one.
Send tips to patients
Patients may be experiencing their first virtual appointment, so share telemedicine tips with them beforehand. Some things you might request:
- Write down their symptoms, medications and questions so patients can easily reference them.
- Check their own temperature, weight and pulse, if possible.
- Test their tech before the visit to see if their phone, tablet or computer provides the best picture, sound and connection.
Provide extra tips or answer common questions in a handout or brochure. Thank first-time telemedical patients for trying out the new-to-them technology by sending them a computer screen cleaning cloth.
Effective virtual care
As virtual visits continue to become more common, these telemedicine tips can help your patients feel more comfortable. And that can lead them to better health.