June 22, 2024

Online Doctor Appointments: Is it Right for You?

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most of us have adopted social distancing and started living digitally. So we have changed our lifestyle, eating and shopping habits and more. But when it comes to online consultations with our physicians and fixing up online appointments with them, it’s only natural to have some hesitation. Nevertheless, going for your first online appointment could make you nervous, so here is a list of basic dos and don’ts for setting up a virtual doctor appointment.

Here is a checklist of how you need to prepare before making a virtual doctor appointment.

Before The Virtual Doctor Appointment

–         Understand payment and insurance: Though you may have medical insurance, you still need to check if they cover virtual medical visits. It’s best to call the provider directly to confirm. The exact cost may differ from in-person visits, depending on the reason for the visit and whether you need to be seen in person or not during the virtual appointment. The payment mode would usually be virtually, so have a payment gateway set up ahead of time.

– Use of technology: Since you will be meeting your doctor virtually, you need to have good internet connectivity and a device with audio and video options. Also, you will need a phone or online connectivity to book your doctor appointment, so you need to know how to log in to the clinic or hospital website and learn how to use the interactive voice response if using a phone. You may also need earbuds or headphones to converse better with your doctor and ensure privacy on both ends. 

Find a quiet private space: You will have to pay full attention to the doctor at all times, so finding a quiet private place where there are no external distractions is mandatory to have a meaningful consultation with your doctor virtually.

– Medications: You need to have the names and doses of all the medication handy so that you can share as and when needed with your doctor.

Additional Details: Any health-related information like allergies, previous hospital visits, and surgery details and reports should also be handy with you, so keep them easily accessible at the chosen place.

– Photographs: If needed, take photographs of any rash or swelling of the infection so that you can use the same at the time of the appointment.

– Medical Recordings: Take temperature, BP if needed ahead of time to share at the appointment.

During the Virtual Doctor Appointment

Online appointments are easy to schedule. They offer personalized and uninterrupted consultation. So, you do not have to feel any different when sharing your medical history or ailment when talking virtually to your doctor. You have to ensure a robust technology setup and expect the appointment to go as you want.

– Be flexible and patient as it’s a new experience for you and your doctor. So, any technical snags should be dealt with calmly, and you may explain the reason for the snag patiently to your doctor. So maybe decide at the outset how to deal with such technical challenges.

– Share medical history in detail by showing or emailing directly to the doctor, without being concerned about privacy as it would be directly accessed by your doctor only. 

– Any lifestyle habits or changes should also be shared during the consultation

– Any additional information that would help the doctor make a correct diagnosis should be given with supports if needed

– Once the diagnosis is made, you must ask as many questions as needed to understand the treatment and way ahead.

– Treatment plan based on your symptoms and next course of action should be communicated clearly and repeated, if necessary, especially if there is a change in medication or addition of physical therapy or additional lab work needed.

– Schedule a follow up doctor appointment virtually at the end of the online consultation.     

– Be prepared for a physical examination if suggested and needed and choose a time and day to schedule it and preferably to a physician near you.

– If anyone is joining you for the virtual consultation, make sure that the other person is audible and can listen in comfort. 

– Online prescription, if needed, can be done depending on the insurance guidelines and do ask the doctor to do so and get it delivered to your address.

Health is the primary focus of our lives. We must take utmost care towards our health and get it checked regularly, even if online.

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