Telehealth appointments have been around for quite some time, but their prevalence has increased in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, you are often provided with the opportunity to have your medical appointment over the phone or through video conferencing, particularly for advice, education, and monitoring.
If you have never had a telehealth appointment before, you may not know what to expect or how to prepare. Here are a few things to keep in mind before your appointment starts.
Be as Detailed as Possible
Since your appointment is over the phone, your doctor can’t use diagnostic sets and perform physical checks as they would do if you visited them in person. Therefore, you will need to be as detailed as possible with your symptoms.
Write down everything you’ve been experiencing before your appointment, and have this information readily available. For example, you might write down your temperature if you’re running a fever or describe the exact location and type of pain you feel, so you can relay it accurately.
Make Sure Your Technology Is Reliable
Doctors and other healthcare professionals provide telehealth appointments in two ways. They might ring you on your home phone or cellphone or request a video call through a healthcare platform similar to Zoom or Google Meet.
Before your appointment time arrives, make sure that whatever you’re using to join the call is ready. For example, you might need to charge your device, purchase mobile data if you’re not relying on WiFi, or head to an area with a stronger internet connection.
Without ensuring everything is in order, you run the risk of having the call drop out, freeze, or not work altogether.
Your Information Is Confidential
Though you’re not visiting your GP in person, that doesn’t mean your right to privacy no longer applies. Medical appointments are still HIPAA compliant, and your doctor will be in a private space to take your call. They may also encourage you to use headphones so that you can keep your discussion confidential.
Take Your Call in a Quiet Place
Your healthcare provider may find it challenging to provide advice and education if they are listening to your dog barking in the background. If you can, take your call in a quiet room that’s free of distractions.
This can be beneficial for both you and your doctor as you’ll be able to ask questions and listen to helpful information without being distracted by what’s going on around you.
Insurance Companies Cover Telehealth Appointments
Many people have been pleased to know their telehealth appointments are often much cheaper than in-person ones. However, you may still be concerned about whether your health insurance covers the appointment cost.
In most situations, telehealth appointments are covered by your insurance as they are still an appointment with a healthcare professional. However, if you’re unsure, contact them to find out before your appointment takes place.
Telehealth Appointments Are Convenient
Telehealth appointments have risen up out of necessity, but that doesn’t mean patients and healthcare providers aren’t enjoying the benefits. They generally cost less, can take place in the comfort of your own home, and help reduce the risk of infections that could otherwise be spread around in doctors’ offices. Telehealth appointments also ensure that those with disabilities and geographical disadvantages can still access the care they need.
Your first telehealth appointment can be nerve-wracking, but you’ll quickly come to learn just how convenient and valuable they can be. Be prepared, familiarize yourself with the technology, and receive the healthcare you need.
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