With the constant reminders to stay at home unless you have to leave for essential activities, one question remains: are doctor visits essential? Should you physically leave your home for a health exam?
The answer is complicated. Some people indeed have no choice but to physically go to the doctor’s office. However, others can simply take advantage of the rapidly growing practice of telehealth. General consultations can easily take place over the phone. Here’s what to expect when you schedule a telehealth appointment.
Getting Ready for Your Appointment
Collect all the information you need for your appointment ahead of time. Bring notes from previous visits, lab results, a list of your current medications and/or supplements, a list of questions or concerns, and any other information that your doctor would normally request. You may also be asked to weigh yourself at home or take your own temperature. If you can, call the office ahead of time and ask what you should have ready.
At the same time, don’t forget that this is a virtual visit. If you’re calling your doctor on the phone, make sure your phone is charged and you have a good signal. For online visits or video calls, check your internet speed and leave yourself enough bandwidth. Find a private place to take the call. Log in early to make sure you know how to use the program and what to do if the call drops.
During Your Appointment
Once you’re talking with your doctor, the appointment will proceed similarly to a typical in-office visit. You and your doctor will discuss any concerns you may have, as well as any significant changes to your health. From there, the doctor will give you your next steps. You may be able to simply change your diet, stop a medication, or do something else relatively straightforward. But what if your treatment requires in-person visits?
Care that Requires In-Person Visits
Sometimes, doctors will want to conduct a more thorough exam. Other times, your condition requires in-person treatment and simply cannot be handled remotely. In either case, your doctor will let you know. You can then schedule an in-person appointment for later. Listen to your doctor if they tell you to actually come to the office or even to go to the ER. Serious issues require serious attention.
Take Advantage of Virtual Doctor Visits
COVID-19 may have launched it into the mainstream, but telehealth has existed for a long time. More and more patients are learning to finally take advantage of this unique approach to healthcare. Why not give it a try? Make your healthcare checks even easier than before.