Telehealth 101 for Patients

If you’re in need of healthcare, your provider may ask you to visit him or her virtually to limit in-office contact and ensure you receive the answers you need.

Many providers are opting for telehealth—remote video consultations via your phone, tablet or computer—to discuss symptoms, prepare for procedures or rehabilitation appointments, rather than visiting a facility in person. Before you have your first telehealth visit, you should be prepared for what to expect. Here’s a guide to help you get ready so you can get the most out of your appointment.

Back view of elderly woman making video call with her doctor with her feeling sore throat on digital tablet online healthcare digital technology service consultation while staying at home.

Make a List

  • Come prepared with a list of questions for your provider. Our “Discussion Guide” is a great tool.
  • Write down a list of your symptoms. Indicate when they started and their severity. For example:
    • Where, specifically, are you experiencing pain or discomfort?
    • Are you having difficulty making specific movements?
    • When did you first notice the pain?
    • On a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being most severe, how would you rate your pain today?Has this changed in the past week? Month?
  • Have your personal information handy.
    • What’s your current height and weight?
    • Do you have a blood pressure monitor? If so, what is your blood pressure?
    • What’s your temperature? Has it changed?
  • List any chronic conditions you have.
  • List all of your current medications, dosages, and frequency of taking.
  • Have you been screened or tested for SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19? If so, what were the results?
  • If you are an existing patient of the provider’s health system, have your medical record number or other identifying information available so your provider can look up your electronic medical record.
  • Familiarize yourself with the technology or system that will be used for your call. Your visit may occur through a variety of platforms – FaceTime®, Skype®, Zoom®, etc. – it’s better to know ahead of time and be prepared. If required for telehealth visits, download your health system’s app in advance.
  • Make sure to ask your provider for the best ways to ask follow up questions whether that’s phone, video conference or email.

 

Plug in and Get Comfortable

  • Make sure your device (phone, tablet, computer) is fully charged and plugged in.
  • Make sure you have a reliable internet connection.
  • Sit in a comfortable place for the visit and make sure your camera provides a clear view of you for the provider.
  • If you’re in a shared space, consider using a headset or headphones with a microphone, or move to a private space to have the conversation.
  • Have paper and a pen ready to take notes.
  • If you would have brought a caregiver to your appointment in person, and they can join you for the telehealth visit, have them ready in the room as well. They can help you remember to ask any questions you may forget.
  • Plan to be ready 10 minutes early and get your device connected so you are ready to start at the start time of your appointment.

 

Speak Clearly and Concisely

  • Understand that you may have to wait to be connected.
  • Speak clearly and make sure your provider can hear you and see you through your camera.
  • Clearly describe your symptoms.
  • Answer the provider’s questions as clearly and concisely as possible.
  • Make notes of your provider’s recommendations and ask questions if you are unsure about anything.

References

Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies Elective Surgery Survey. Accessed August 4, 2020. About the Survey: This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of DePuy Synthes from July 9-13, 2020 among 2,016 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. (CLICK TO PDF)

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The information on this site is for educational purposes only and is not medical advice. Always talk to your doctor before you make decisions about your health.

For additional information, please contact us at [email protected]

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