In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth is quickly becoming the new norm in healthcare. Whether it’s a routine checkup or an appointment with a specialist, telehealth can almost entirely replace in-office visits. It’s important to prepare for your first appointment beforehand to make the most of your appointment. These tips can help you navigate your telehealth appointment with your doctor, dentist or other healthcare provider to ensure you receive the care you need.

1. List your symptoms, medicines and questions

If you are not feeling well, you will need to provide as much information as possible to the provider during your telehealth appointment. Make a list of all your symptoms, and how long each one has been present. For instance, if you have or had a fever, be ready to state how long the fever has been present, what the highs and lows of the fever have been, and any medications you took to reduce the fever. If you have a visible symptom, such as a rash, take a photo or be prepared to show the rash to the doctor using videoconferencing.

2. Set up the technology you’ll need

Test the service on your mobile device or computer before your visit. Some applications work best on specific browsers. You can also ask the doctor’s office if there is a specific browser that works best.

If you will be using a computer, try to sit next to the wifi router for the strongest internet connection. Phones and tablets actually tend to work better than computers for video visits, though.

3. Take notes

Keep a pen and paper handy and jot down any questions or concerns you have before your telehealth visit. It’s also helpful to write down any important information or instructions your provider gives you during the visit so that you do not forget.

4. Put medical devices you have close at hand

If you have any medical equipment such as a blood pressure monitor, thermometer, heart monitor, or even a bathroom scale, have it close by during your appointment. It’s possible your provider may request a current reading while you are talking, and you’ll avoid wasting time by having these close by. 

5. Determine how you should follow up

Before the end of your virtual visit, make sure you are clear on how you should follow up. Ask questions such as when you should reach back out, what is the contact information and date and time for your next regularly scheduled appointment, and what type of symptoms should you be looking for.

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