As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten all parts of the country, telehealth has become more common among patients seeking care. If you’ve booked your first telehealth appointment at Baystate Health, the following guidelines will help you prepare for a successful appointment.
What to Expect From a Telehealth Appointment
Knowing what to expect and preparing for a telehealth appointment can be intimidating to someone who has not used telehealth before. However, telehealth is a safe and time-saving way to connect with your healthcare provider. Through your telehealth appointment you will avoid the potential negative consequences of delaying care.
As Lisa Coughlin, a Family Nurse Practitioner at Baystate Family Medicine, says, “We hope patients will remember that they are in their own home or office setting and the doctor is merely visiting. We hope that it is a little more comfortable and therapeutic than an exam room.” It might also help to think of telehealth as a new way to do an “old-fashioned” house call.
Practical Tips to Prepare for your Appointment: A Checklist
As you get ready for your appointment, these tips will help set you up for success.
Check your insurance coverage
Contact your insurance company prior to the appointment to find out if telehealth is covered. The cost of telehealth can vary depending on your insurance plan, state regulations, or the type of appointment you’re scheduling. Ask your insurance provider about out of pocket costs and co-pays.
Note your symptoms
It can be helpful to document your symptoms so that you don’t forget any when you’re talking with your provider. Write down any symptoms you are experiencing as well as any questions you have.
Write down pre-existing conditions.
What other medical conditions do you have that your provider might need to know about?
Keep any at-home medical devices nearby.
If you use any home medical equipment, it may be relevant to your visit. Examples of home medical devices include CPAP machines, hearing aids, colostomy bags, or any other technology you use for managing your health at home.
Charge any electronics you may need.
Be sure the technology you need for your virtual visit is ready to go – cell phone, laptops, tablets and headphones. If you have a device with a high quality camera, you may want to choose that to use for your visit.
Find a quiet and well-lit space to sit during your appointment.
Setting up your space ahead of time and choosing somewhere quiet can help if you’re feeling anxious about your visit.
Set up your technology for success.
While most video chat programs are designed to be easy to use, there are some steps you can take to make your visit smooth from a technical standpoint. Turn up the volume on any devices you plan on using, and set up your camera at eye-level so that it is easier to make eye contact with your provider. If you don’t use video chat programs often, you may also want to test out your web camera, microphone, and speakers in advance. To ensure a stronger connection, you can also choose a wired internet connection over a WiFi connection.
Have a pen and paper ready
Be ready to write down any information provided during the appointment.
Be prepared that your provider might ask you to come in for an in-person follow-up appointment.
Sometimes virtual visits can prompt your provider to look for more information.
Finally, be open-minded and present as sometimes technology glitches can occur.
Don’t worry if you run into issues – it happens. Baystate Health team members are here to help if you need it.
Learn more about virtual care Baystate Health.Telehealth