This article is tailored for patients. Refer your patients to this article for them to learn more about their condition.
Article by Nina Elliott
10 Best Practices For Virtual Care
Virtual care is a broad term describing different ways and approaches to remote interactions between healthcare providers and their patients. It became much more prevalent over the last year, as many hospitals incorporated telemedicine as a measure used to prevent the spread infection.
While telemedicine comes with a significant barrier between patients and health professionals, it has proven to be almost as efficient as in-person visits. There are modern digital tools that allow remote access to patients and their medical history. Thanks to instant messaging and various specialty devices, patients can constantly update their virtual care providers about their condition.
So, if you are due for a consultation with a doctor but you don’t want to take the risk and of physically going to the hospital, read this article to find out more about the ten best practices for virtual care!
1. See if Your Symptoms Are Appropriate for Virtual Care
Virtual visits can be used for a wide range of medical problems, such as minor skin infections that can be diagnosed with a few photos or lab test reviews that don’t require in-person visits. Similarly, they can be used for most mental health issues and chronic diseases that can be monitored by periodic reports or digital health monitors.
However, online visits serve no purpose with problems requiring physical diagnosis, such as cough or joint injuries, and emergency symptoms like shortness of breath and sudden chest pain. If you are more susceptible to those kinds of problems, you should look for an alternative, like hiring a personal caretaker. Many companies offer live-in care in the UK and many other countries around the world.
2. Prepare Information About Your Health
Preparation for a typical virtual visit does not differ much from what you would do before an in-person visit. In most cases, you still have to prepare a list of concerns or symptoms you want to talk about with your healthcare provider, as well as a list of your current medications, including when you take them and what the dosage is.
In addition to that, your doctor may ask you to gather details like weight, body temperature, or blood pressure before the call if possible, as such data may be helpful in diagnosis.
3. Know What To Expect During a Virtual Care Visit
There isn’t one universal virtual care visit procedure. Still, very often, such a call starts with the patient talking about changes in their health and asking questions about their test results or upcoming surgeries. It is essential to mention each symptom and issue that you are dealing with, as the nature of remote visits makes it harder for the doctor to notice them.
Next, the doctor decides how to address the issue, for example, by prescribing a new medicine or scheduling a visit to the hospital. It is a good idea to take notes of what the doctor says, as even if you receive an email later, it may not include all the information.
4. Set Up Your Communication Device
Now that you know how and when to use telehealth services, you should check whether the device you are going to use to connect with your medical doctor is in working condition and meets the requirements of the platform that you are going to use.
Whether you decide to use a smartphone, a tablet, or a laptop, make sure your device is fully charged and has access to a stable internet connection before the virtual visit begins. Those two factors are crucial to a successful virtual visit, as disruptions during the call can ruin your experience.
5. Choose an Isolated Spot
Once you have your device set up, it is crucial to have a quiet space in your house where you can talk to your medical service provider away from your family members. Just as doctors have to ensure patient privacy, you should ensure that you can speak about your health freely.
On top of that, you might want to make that place feel comfortable for yourself. Although most telehealth visits don’t last more than 15 minutes, they may take more time if you need to discuss your problem in detail.
6. Be Patient
Just like with regular visits, it is hard to predict how long each visit will take or if your doctor won’t have to do any additional work in between. So keep in mind that there may be some delay even if your appointment is set for a particular hour.
7. Dress Accordingly
It is worth noting that you don’t have to wear any fancy clothes or makeup. A clean t-shirt and a pair of jeans will do. You should instead focus on what is necessary, like being on time and having a valid ID.
8. Get Acquainted With Provided Instructions
Many virtual care providers send their own instructions. While most of them contain relatively standard tips about using their web services, it is always worth checking such documentation. Your provider may have particular requirements that you will need to comply with if you want to use their service.
9. Educate Yourself About Your Illness
It would be great if you educated yourself about your condition using trustworthy publications found on the web. They often come from peer-reviewed magazines and other credible sites, so it is good to read through them to know more about your condition.
However, make sure to consult your knowledge with your doctor, as online health information, even from credible sources, may not apply to your case or be misleading. When it comes to your health, you should only trust experts.
10. Check-In Early
Some apps used for virtual care allow patients to check-in early. It means that once you are ready, you can enter a virtual room before the set hour, and thanks to that, you may begin your meeting earlier, too.
If you enter a call earlier, you can also test your video and audio quality, giving you the last chance to address network connection issues and reposition your camera.
Virtual care is a service that allows health care professionals to provide medical help remotely in real-time. If you are thinking about booking a virtual appointment or have booked a consultation already, hopefully, this list has given you valuable insight into the best practices for virtual care. From preparing your health information to educating yourself about your conditions, the tips mentioned here will allow you to get the best experience you can!