How to Make the Most of Telehealth

By Amy HagenThe world changed in a lot of ways during the COVID-19 pandemic. While some things have returned to their pre-2020 operations, many aspects of our daily lives remain forever altered. One of the most prevalent impacts was the rapid adaptation and acceptance of video-call programs for communication. It seemed like everyone was downloading Zoom to chat with family and friends, conduct business, and even have appointments with a doctor or therapist, known as “telehealth.”

Now, telehealth has cemented itself as a care option that is here to stay, and a welcome one too! No longer do we have to find time to drive to the doctor’s office if we have a medical need such as the flu or a rash; we can receive advice and diagnosis right from home. Liberty HealthShare offers numerous telehealth resources in our sharing programs; let’s take a look at the ways to make the most of the process as you use telehealth as a patient.

Test your Technology in Advance

“Hello? Is this thing on? Oh, I think you’re frozen.” How many times have you heard this in on a video call? Technological hang ups can be annoying, especially if you’re trying to have a conversation about a critical healthcare matter.

While some hurdles are occasionally unavoidable  (not much that can be done about internet access going down in your neighborhood, for example), there are plenty of things you can do in advance to make sure that your telehealth appointment isn’t hamstrung by IT woes.

First, make sure that your devices are fully charged, or, better yet, that they’re plugged in to an external power source. What could be worse than your computer dying in the middle of your appointment?

Additionally, most video call programs allow you to test your device speakers, video, and microphone ahead of time. Take advantage of these features to be sure that you can both hear and see, and be heard and seen, clearly. 

Don’t be ashamed to look up trouble shooting tips if you’re having trouble with your device. Not only can you learn a thing or two, like how to use programs for telehealth on your computer, iPhone, or Android, but you can be sure that you receive the healthcare that you need!

Appropriate Environment Choices

Crucial to a successful telehealth appointment is being able to properly communicate with your medical provider. In addition to making sure that your technology works properly, you should go the extra mile in making sure that your environment is appropriate for a medical appointment. 

One of the best things you can do for a video call is to make sure that you are in a well-lit area. Be sure to have the light source in front of you, not behind you. For example, if you’re sitting with your back to a sunny window your camera will have trouble properly  showing you. Before you know it, you’re not at a doctor’s appointment - you’re in the witness protection program! 

Once your visuals are set, make sure that your environment is free from unnecessary noises and distractions. A noisy background can hinder your ability to hear your doctor and vice-versa.

Furthermore, you wouldn’t want people walking around if you were sitting in your doctor’s office as they were meeting with you about your healthcare. Have your telehealth appointment in an appropriate, secluded place, not a public, busy coffee shop.

Treat it Like a Doctor’s Appointment

A telehealth appointment may feel different than an in-person doctor visit, but it is crucial to remember that it isn’t! When you schedule and participate in a telehealth appointment you are meeting with your healthcare provider to receive medical advice and care. Just as with an in-person appointment there are some steps you can take to be prepared and receive excellent care. 

First, ensure that you have signed into the online platform your medical provider uses and updated your health information. Think of it like filling out the information sheet while sitting in your doctor’s waiting room. This gives your doctor the best baseline possible to administer the care that you need.

Second, write down your symptoms, medications you’re taking, and all the questions that you have beforehand to ensure you don’t forget anything. Bring a notepad and a pen to write down notes and questions to ask throughout the appointment duration.

Additionally, consider having a family member with you during the appointment to help retain information and ask all relevant questions. While your doctor is the expert, it is important that you come prepared and do your part to ensure you’re receiving the excellent care you deserve from the comfort of your own home! 

Use Telehealth for the Right Appointments

Technology is certainly amazing, but there are limitations to keep in mind when considering scheduling a telehealth appointment.

Telehealth is great to use if you have questions about lab results, want to have a general consult, or need care for some sicknesses, such as a minor flu or rash. However, telehealth may not be the  best option if you need an in-depth examination or if you need to  get blood drawn, for example. We haven’t yet reached the point where an IV can be administered over the internet!

Before scheduling a telehealth appointment, take a moment to consider if receiving care at a distance is really the best option for your current needs. 

Telehealth is a powerful resource in healthcare, and with these tips you can take full advantage of it. Liberty HealthShare, through the Careington suite of resources, is thrilled to help you receive big discounts on telehealth services so that you can take charge of your own healthcare journey. Find these resources in your ShareBox!

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