Data from 2021 showed that 37% of Americans had used telemedicine over the course of 12 months. Telemedicine was also more commonly used by women than men.
If you need a doctor’s appointment, you no longer always have to go into the office. Telemedicine appointment options are becoming more and more preferred.
There is a good reason for this since medical appointments can be inconvenient. Having the option of doing your appointment from home has opened the door for more patients.
Keep reading to find out how to prepare for your telemedicine appointment.
Have it Scheduled
The most important part of your telemedicine appointment is having it scheduled. You may have scheduled this appointment weeks ago or even months ago.
Depending on the doctor, wait times for patients can vary significantly. This is why some patients may end up forgetting when their appointment was.
This is very easy to do when you don’t have to go out for your appointment. Even if you know when it is, you may simply lose track of time when you are at home.
That is why you need to schedule your appointment into your schedule. If necessary, set a reminder on your phone or have a note somewhere about it.
You don’t want to miss your appointment since you may not be able to recover it. If this were to happen, you may have to wait for days or weeks more before getting another opportunity.
Most places will also offer to send you reminders about your appointment. These can often come in the form of texts or emails.
Call Your Insurance Provider
You also need to call your medical care insurance provider. This is something that is always best to do before having a doctor’s appointment.
Insurance providers can be quite picky when it comes to what they cover. You will want to clarify and make sure your provider covers your doctor.
You also need to make sure they cover telemedicine appointments. Some providers may be pickier about this than others.
You should also discuss how much is covered and if you need to co-pay. These are all the details that you should understand before having your appointment.
The last thing you want to do is have your appointment only to discover it isn’t covered. Or be charged with a larger co-pay than you had anticipated.
Set Aside Time
When it is time for your healthcare appointment, you need to have a slot of time. It is better to overestimate than to underestimate how long this appointment will be.
On average, most doctor appointments last 30 minutes to an hour. This is going to vary depending on your situation and health concerns.
If this is a new doctor, you may want to add an additional 30 minutes to that. You need time to update them about your medical history and your medical concerns right now.
You need to make sure you don’t have to do anything for that slot of time. You don’t want to be rushed or feel like you can’t concentrate on your appointment.
There is also the possibility of there being technical issues during your appointment. This is rare, but it can happen, and it will slow down your progress.
Find a Quiet Place
Medical appointments require a quiet and peaceful space. You should already have an idea of where you will have your telemedicine appointment.
You may be able to do this in your bedroom or in another room where no one else goes. If you aren’t home alone, you need to let everyone know that you will be busy.
If you have children in the house, someone will need to watch them for you. You may even want to leave the house entirely to get some quiet.
Some people choose to sit outside for their appointment or to sit in their cars. Any place will work as long as it is quiet and allows you to concentrate.
It is also a good idea to find a place that is well-lit. You want your doctor to be able to see you clearly, especially if there is anything physical you want them to see.
For instance, if you are having facial swelling, you want this to be visible to them. You will need to be in a well-lit area, and you will want to position your device at the right angle.
Make Sure You Have Wi-Fi
A very important detail for a telehealth visit is your Wi-Fi connection. You will need to make sure you have a stable Wi-Fi connection throughout your appointment.
If you don’t have this connection, the call will most likely start to glitch. You or your doctor may freeze, or you may lose contact with them completely.
This is one of the most common issues with telemedicine appointments. That is why you need to find a location that has the strongest Wi-Fi connection.
This may be in a certain room of your house or close to your Wi-Fi connector.
Have a List
It is a good idea for patients to write down a list of their medical concerns. If this is a new doctor, you may have certain things that you want to bring up.
If this is your normal doctor, you may have a few new symptoms you want to discuss. You may think that you will remember these, but it is very easy to forget at the moment.
There is nothing more frustrating than forgetting everything you wanted to talk about. Your appointment will be much more productive if you have a list to reference.
You should also write down any questions that you want to ask. This could be regarding medications, symptoms, or recommendations they may have.
The more prepared you are, the more effective your appointment is going to be. This is especially true if you are not going to go into the office for a physical exam.
Keep Things Charged
Before your telehealth visit, you need to make sure your device is charged. Most people have their appointment on their phones as it is most convenient.
If this is the case, you need to make sure it is fully charged before the appointment starts. You do not want to have to sort around for a charger in the middle of your discussion.
If you are using a laptop or tablet, you need to charge that as well. These types of visits can sometimes drain your device as they require a lot of energy.
Because of this, it is always best to charge your device to 100%.
Have Your Medical Information
Before your visit starts, make sure you have your medical information. It is a good idea to have physical copies of the medical information that you want to discuss.
This could be anything from diagnosis to testing results that you have had. Your doctor may not have access to all of these or have them at the time of the appointment.
This is information that you will most likely not remember on your own. That is why you need to have these materials to reference or show them physically.
Get Help if Necessary
If you need help with your appointment, you need to make sure you have someone there with you. You may have a parent help you or your spouse with you.
This is perfectly fine as long as they are ready to go as well. The two of you should be set up and ready for the appointment to start at the designated time.
It is a good idea to make sure both of you understand who should do the talking. You don’t want to be talking over the top of each other, making it hard for the doctor to understand.
Who Should Use Telemedicine Appointments
Telemedicine appointment options have opened more doors and healthcare. It has created opportunities for patients that they didn’t have before.
This is something that is not only convenient but has become a necessity. There are plenty of instances where you may not be able to go in for a physical appointment.
Here are some examples of people who need telemedicine appointments for their health.
Those With Disabilities
If you have a disability, a telehealth visit may be the best option. Certain disabilities make it difficult to get around, and you may not be able to go somewhere on your own.
Mobility issues are the most common, and make it very hard to go places. You may struggle to walk, or you are completely bedbound.
These kinds of disabilities could make it dangerous to go to a physical doctor’s appointment. Having a digital appointment allows you to do this from the safety of your home.
Those with mental disabilities may also struggle to go to a doctor’s office. This may be very scary or stressful for some individuals.
In these instances, someone else would most likely have to go with you.
If You’re on a Budget
One benefit of telemedicine is that it is usually a bit cheaper. Because you aren’t seeing the doctor physically, you will usually have a lower medical bill.
Telemedicine is also faster for doctors’ offices, allowing them to fit in more patients. Having a lower doctor’s bill allows more people to get the medical help that they need.
If you are on a tight budget, this may be your best option. This may also be one of the best options that your insurance provider can cover for you.
When You Can’t Drive
Those who cannot drive struggle to get to their doctor’s appointments. Getting anywhere can be a struggle if you don’t have the independence of a vehicle.
You may not own a vehicle of your own, or you may not have a driver’s license. Certain disabilities can cause this, making you ineligible for a driver’s license.
Some people also struggle with severe driving anxiety. Or you may have severe anxiety in general and struggle to leave your house.
These are all examples of why a telehealth visit would be the better option. It can also be difficult to find someone to drive you to your appointment.
You have to line up everyone’s schedules, and they may not be dependable. You may also not be in a physical condition to be able to use public transportation.
If You Don’t Need an Exam
A telemedicine appointment can be useful if you don’t need an exam. There are many instances where you need to speak with your doctor but you don’t need them to see you physically.
Your symptoms may have gotten worse, or you may want to try a different medication. This is also a good option if you need to meet a new doctor and discuss your history.
If it turns out that you do need an exam, that can always be scheduled afterward. In fact, having a Telehealth visit can help your physical appointment to go faster.
Preparing for a Telemedicine Appointment
If you have a telemedicine appointment scheduled, you may be wondering how to prepare. This is a common concern, especially if this is your very first appointment.
Many people are still unfamiliar with telemedicine and don’t know what to expect. The good news is that there are just a few things you need to do before your appointment starts.
This ensures that you are ready for your appointment and that it will be productive.
Are you interested in scheduling a telemedicine appointment? Contact us today at Salveo Direct Care to get started with direct primary care.