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The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has brought significant challenges both in the personal and professional lives of most. Be it adjusting to working from home, losing a sense of normalcy in your daily interactions, or lack thereof, or even seeing your doctor via telehealth rather than an in-office visit, the pandemic brought on a multitude of various changes.
While it’s easy to look at the past year for all of the negative experiences and changes that were brought with it, it’s important to identify the positive aspects that resulted as well. One of which has been the significant growth of telehealth.
While telehealth existed long before the onset of the pandemic, patients’ lack of accessibility to their doctors’ offices meant that telehealth grew exponentially over the past year and a half. What once may have seemed like an unnecessary benefit has now become a critical resource to most health care systems.
According to The American Journal of Accountable Care, “The use of telemedicine has been shown to allow for better long-term care management and patient satisfaction.”
Furthermore, a study conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital revealed that 79% of patients said that scheduling a telemedicine follow-up visit was more convenient than arranging an in-person follow-up.
Overall, it can be easily predicted that even post-pandemic, telehealth is here to stay.
Given that telehealth visits are often straightforward and to the point, it’s important to ensure that you make the most of your time with your doctor and maximize the time you have together while possible. Below are some tips to ensure you’re making the most of your telehealth visit.
Determine what appointment type to schedule
Most doctors offer a variety of different appointment types. In the same way that you would schedule an annual physical differently than a follow-up or diagnostic appointment, the same is the case with telehealth appointments. Be sure to ask your doctor’s office if there are different appointment types to be booked. If there are, communicate with your doctor or their administrative team to determine which appointment type is right for you.
While not all regular appointments are capable of being converted to telehealth appointments, some may be able to be completed virtually given a longer time frame. Discussing your intentions while booking the appointment ensures that you’ll reserve adequate time to meet with your doctor and that they can prepare in advance.
Ensure that your phone or computer is suitable for the call
Some telehealth appointments may take place simply as a phone call while others may occur over a live video chat. Either way, you want to make sure that you are prepared to accommodate your communication type. Your doctor’s time is likely limited and although your appointment time should be devoted solely to you, you want to be sure to be respectful of their time as well.
Being prepared for your call might include making sure you have good connectivity, ensuring you’re in a quiet and private space where you can clearly hear one another, and making sure that you arrive on time the same way that you would for an in-office appointment.
In the same way that you might lose your in-person appointment if you arrive late, the same goes for telehealth appointments. If you arrive late, your doctor may have already moved forward with another waiting patient.
Be prepared to answer your doctor’s questions to facilitate a helpful consultation
Participating in a virtual consultation or evaluation can be challenging for a doctor when they cannot physically view and assess your body physically in front of them. While it may be more challenging, however, it’s certainly not impossible for doctors to make an accurate diagnosis through a virtual appointment.
Answering your doctor’s questions in a clear, straightforward manner will help them most effectively determine a diagnosis. Being precise and thorough in your description of symptoms, timelines, etc. can help your doctor identify potential issues you’re experiencing.
Failing to disclose information to your doctor, whether in person or virtually, may lead to an improper diagnosis and further problems down the line.
Come prepared with any questions or requests you may have
As is the case with in-person doctor’s visits, you should come prepared with any questions that you may have to ask your doctor at the appropriate time. A telehealth appointment is an ideal opportunity to get any of your important questions answered directly by your doctor.
That being said, as previously mentioned, your time with your doctor is likely somewhat limited. You want to be sure to come prepared with anything you want to discuss. Some offices will request that you submit any questions or concerns prior to your appointment. This provides your doctor the opportunity to prepare and gather any relevant information or advice prior to your conversation.
Overall, the growth and development of telehealth have been identified as one of the positive outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic. While lacking the accessibility to visit doctor’s offices in person was initially seen as a huge inconvenience to most, the strong transition towards the implementation and availability of telehealth services has been a positive shift.
At SBMA Benefits, all of our offered benefits packages include access to telehealth services. We believe in providing ACA compliant, accessible, and affordable benefits to all. Our goal is to provide our beneficiaries with quality coverage to promote health and wellness.
For more information or to get started working with us, reach out to one of our brokers or contact us directly today.