Telehealth services, also referred to as telemedicine drastically increased when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and spread. It picked up momentum then and continues to gain traction and use from patients and providers today. You may very well find yourself needing to schedule and participate in a telehealth visit in the near future.
Given all this, you likely will want to learn more about how to prepare for a telehealth visit and what to expect. Here you can gather more information about what a telehealth visit is exactly, what it all entails, and some tips for a successful visit with an online doctor.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Telehealth Visit?
- When Should You Use Telehealth?
- What Can Telehealth Offer You and What Not?
- How to Prepare for a Telehealth Visit?
- During Your Telehealth Visit
- What to Do After a Visit?
- Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Visit
- Try Our On-Demand Telehealth Service!
What Is a Telehealth Visit?
A telehealth visit is a way for a doctor or provider to treat and care for you without needing to have an in-person visit. You won’t have to physically travel to an office and wait in a waiting room to be seen. Instead, the visit will be conducted virtually online through a computer with a video chat platform or over the phone.
Some benefits are that you won’t have to travel long distances or fight traffic to see a doctor and that you can get the help you need when you need it without delay. It provides convenience and can save you time and money in the long run.
When Should You Use Telehealth?
Telehealth is a valuable tool for many people, and it can be used in a variety of situations. Telehealth is particularly beneficial for those who may not have access to traditional face-to-face healthcare due to distance or time constraints.
It can also be used by those with chronic health conditions, like diabetes or heart disease, that often require ongoing management and support. Patients with mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, can also benefit from the use of telehealth services.
Telehealth is also beneficial for those that may feel more comfortable speaking to a healthcare provider remotely. This includes people who struggle with social anxiety or shyness, as well as those who feel more comfortable speaking about their health in the privacy of their own home.
Telehealth is also great if you need to get a prescription or a prescription refill quickly and easily. Telehealth can also help if you need a doctor’s note for work or school.
Overall here are some examples of when to use telehealth:
- Getting a prescription or a prescription refill
- Managing a chronic condition
- Treating mental health issues
- Getting a doctor’s note
- Seeking medical advice quickly
- Needing a fast treatment plan
What Can Telehealth Offer You and What Not?
It’s also good to realize and dive deeper into what telehealth can offer you and what not, or, in other words, what are the pros and cons of it. Here is a breakdown to help you better understand the advantages and disadvantages:
- Reduces the chance of spreading infectious diseases
- It’s convenient for providers and patients
- It’s faster
- Can help improve patient outcomes
- You cannot conduct a physical exam
- Healthcare industry barriers and regulations exist
- Need the right technology, equipment, and downloads
There are many benefits of a telehealth appointment but also some drawbacks that you should keep in the back of your mind. Hopefully, with the advancements in technology and improvements in healthcare, the experience will only continue to get better from here on out.
How to Prepare for a Telehealth Visit?
So, how do you prepare for a telehealth visit? This is one of the most important steps so that you can get the most out of your appointment with your doctor or provider. Begin by being picky or choosy about the provider you select based on the type of service you require.
Once you select a provider you should then take the time to explore the specifics of the appointment and doctor you’re working with. Ask questions and gather information related to how their platform works, for example. The last situation you want is to be fumbling around and struggling to get and stay connected during your appointment. It’s also a good idea to look into your insurance and to know what will be covered and how much you can expect to pay so you can budget appropriately.
Another step you’ll want to take is to decide on the location where you will want to participate in your appointment. You’ll likely want to meet with your doctor in a private and quiet room where you can shut the door and concentrate on communicating with your provider. Eliminate all possible distractions so that you can focus and get the most out of your visit.
One necessity that you will want to take care of and confirm before your appointment as you prepare is to make certain you have a strong and reliable internet connection. Determine in advance if you’ll be using a computer, smartphone, or table for your appointment.
Here are some items and information to retrieve and have handy as you prepare for a telehealth visit:
- Insurance or ID card
- Link and login information
- Medication list of what you’re currently taking
- Have a notepad to take notes
- Close all other applications
Most importantly, make sure nothing else can interfere with your telehealth visit.
During Your Telehealth Visit
To participate in your telehealth visit you’ll need a device that is connected to the Internet. You can also request to do an audio-only or phone visit if you don’t have access to the Internet at the time. During a virtual doctor visit the doctor will contact you to discuss your health or medical concerns and conditions.
They’re going to want to know how you’ve been feeling and will be asking for a list of symptoms. Be prepared to take notes and write down what they tell you so you can refer to it later. Get as comfortable as possible and realize this is “you” time and that you should be as honest and forthcoming as possible.
What to Do After a Visit?
You may also be wondering what to do after a telehealth visit and what to expect next. There are certain actions you can take or that the provider will make after your telehealth visit.
Here is what will likely happen or what you should do:
- Collect your prescriptions
- If necessary and possible make a follow-up appointment and confirm the date and time
- Contact your provider if you still have questions or concerns
- Provide feedback and suggestions on your experience and improvements
Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Visit
There are some tips that will help you get the most out of your visit to consider as you prepare for a telehealth visit. You should find a secluded spot where you can connect in private and have peace and quiet to communicate with your provider. You don’t want to be driving or rushing around running errands at this time, for example.
It’s very important that you’re able to stay focused on what’s being said and on the recommendations that your provider is giving you. You can get the most out of your visit by having a notepad handy and writing down what’s being discussed and the treatment plan you decide on. You can also use it to record when your next or follow-up appointment will be.
It’s important that you stay calm and patient, as even providers who are conducting telehealth or telemedicine appointments can run late or run behind. If you’ve followed the instructions and are connected then it likely won’t be long before your provider shows up and you can begin your appointment.
Try Our On-Demand Telehealth Service!
Are you in need of telehealth services or are interested in using them given your situation? Then DrHouse can help. We encourage you to try our on-demand telehealth services today.
Our telehealth services are available around the clock and within minutes you can be connected to an online doctor.
Our visits are on-demand or virtual appointments where you can receive care 24/7. We’ll also write you prescriptions as needed. Our doctors can help with issues related to urgent care, men’s health concerns, and women’s health concerns. You’ll receive a detailed treatment plan from one of our expert board-certified online clinicians.
To start you have to:
- Download the DrHouse app
- Begin a visit with an online doctor (you’ll be connected in under 15 minutes)
- Get a prescription from your local and preferred pharmacy
You should now know how to prepare for a telehealth visit so you can have a positive and successful appointment and experience. It’s important that if you want to get the most out of your visit with an online doctor you set aside the proper time to plan and prepare for it.
These days telehealth visits are becoming more widespread and common so it’s worth spending time understanding the process and what to expect. This way you’ll feel less nervous and can focus on getting the most out of your virtual doctor visit instead of worrying about the logistics.
When you apply these tips and suggestions, your telehealth visit should go over quite smoothly and well. While not every online doctor visit will go perfectly and there’s always room for improvement, you’ll be satisfied knowing you did your part to ensure all goes as planned. Most importantly, be yourself and let the doctor know how you’re feeling and your symptoms so they can help and write a tailored treatment plan to get you feeling better fast.
- Raison, N., Khan, M.S. & Challacombe, B. Telemedicine in Surgery: What are the Opportunities and Hurdles to Realising the Potential?. Curr Urol Rep 16, 43 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11934-015-0522-x
- Craig J, Petterson V. Introduction to the Practice of Telemedicine. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare. 2005;11(1):3-9. doi:10.1177/1357633X0501100102
- Roh, Chul-Young. “Telemedicine: What It Is, Where It Came From, and Where It Will Go.” Comparative Technology Transfer and Society, vol. 6 no. 1, 2008, p. 35-55. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/ctt.0.0002.
- Yalda Jabbarpour, Anuradha Jetty, Matthew Westfall, John Westfall. Not Telehealth: Which Primary Care Visits Need In-Person Care? The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine Feb 2021, 34 (Supplement) S162-S169; DOI: https://www.doi.org/10.3122/jabfm.2021.S1.200247
- Poppas A, Rumsfeld J, Wessler J, et al. Telehealth Is Having a Moment. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2020 Jun, 75 (23) 2989–2991. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2020.05.002
- Perednia DA, Allen A. Telemedicine Technology and Clinical Applications. JAMA. 1995;273(6):483–488. doi:https://www.doi.org/10.1001/jama.1995.03520300057037
DrHouse articles are written by MDs, NPs, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. The contents of the DrHouse site are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.