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7 Tips to Get the Most out of Your Virtual Visit

Virtual visits are getting rave reviews for convenience. But if you’ve never had a virtual meeting for work or with loved ones, you might hesitate to take your clinic visit to the small screen. Seeing your doctor on a device – instead of in a clinic – is easier than you might think.

How to Have a Smooth Virtual Doctors Visit

Try these tips for making a virtual visit with your primary or specialty care provider run smoothly:

  1. Hold a technical rehearsal. If you haven’t used Zoom before, try it with a friend. Familiarize yourself with the commands and how to use the camera. Test your microphone and get comfortable with the technology.
  2. Prepare the stage. Pick a space in your home with good lighting so your provider can see you. If others are home, ask for no interruptions, or use a room with a door that can be closed.
  3. Set the scene. When you make your appointment, give a good summary of the reason you want to be seen. Summarize your condition in a sentence or two, starting with your most urgent symptom.
  4. Gather your props. Your doctor can’t reach through the screen. So if you have a thermometer, check your temperature before the visit. Other pieces of equipment that may be helpful, if applicable, include a bathroom scale, blood pressure monitor or glucose meter.
  5. Jot down a script. The provider depends on information from you to make a diagnosis. To avoid losing track of important details, write down:
    • What you need to be seen for including symptom details (how severe, how long, any changes; take photos of skin conditions such as rashes, irritations or moles)
    • Medication names and doses (or have the bottles handy to show the camera)
    • Drug allergies
    • Dates and types of surgeries
    • Past hospitalizations
    • Any questions or concerns you have
  6. Prevent technical difficulties. Just before your appointment, close other programs on your computer so you have plenty of bandwidth for video streaming. If you’re using a laptop, tablet or phone, plug it in to a power source to prevent battery failure. Don’t forget to silence your cellphone once you’re ready to go.
  7. Play your part. When your virtual visit begins, relax and treat it like any other doctor appointment – just with a layer of technology. Answer your provider’s questions and speak up if you have questions or concerns. Don’t hesitate to take notes about your condition or care plan.

In-Person Visits May Still be Necessary For Certain Conditions

While technology makes it possible to get health care from the comfort of your couch, not all medical issues can be resolved with a virtual visit. Sometimes a clinic visit may be needed to provide the best care.

For your next visit, ask the scheduler if a virtual visit is right for you.

Carol Boelter, MD

Carol Boelter, MD is a Family Medicine provider at 70th and A.

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