You don’t have to be tech-savvy to have a successful telemedicine appointment.
If you’re thinking of trying telemedicine—a type of telehealth that lets you meet with your doctor virtually—you may have a lot of questions. How’s it going to work? What’s the process? If you’re nervous, knowing what to expect during your telemedicine appointment can help.
Accessing Telemedicine Appointments
Typically, telemedicine takes place on a privacy-protecting platform that is designed to be user-friendly and intuitive. Most are simple, clean, and straightforward. In other words, you should be able to navigate it with relative ease.
First, you’ll access your provider’s telemedicine page (they’ll likely send you the link beforehand). Upon arrival, the telemedicine platform will prompt you to “check in.” This may be as simple as typing in your name to let your provider know you have arrived and are ready.
Just like for in-person visits, you should plan to “arrive” a few minutes early. That way, you’ll have time to address any technology problems if they arise. Additionally, some healthcare providers may have you complete some forms or verify your identity before your telemedicine appointment.
Then, you’ll be in a “waiting room.” (Sound familiar?) In reality, this is just a landing page for you to wait until your healthcare provider is ready. This is a good time to review your notes for the appointment, check your webcam and audio, and make sure your internet connection is stable.
What to Expect During Your Telemedicine Appointment
Your doctor will start the appointment when they are ready. Often, their video will simply pop up, and you’ll start talking.
Your appointment won’t be that different than your typical in-person visit. While your provider won’t be able to take your vital signs or do blood work, they’ll ask you questions about what you’ve been experiencing. It’s important for you to talk openly with your doctor and be specific. (That’s why it’s beneficial to bring notes.)
Depending on your concerns and capabilities, you can share media with them like images or video. For example, if you are meeting with your doctor about an eczema flareup, you may have images showing how the symptoms have progressed over the previous few days.
Your doctor may be able to give you a treatment regimen based on your telemedicine appointment alone. Alternatively, you may need to come in for an in-person visit to get a more thorough exam or other testing.
Remember, not every telemedicine platform is the same, so your experience may vary. However, what won’t change is the quality of your care. Telemedicine is a safe, convenient, and effective way to access health care, even if you can’t make it to the doctor.