The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to learn how to do a wide variety of tasks we have been comfortable completing in-person, virtually. From socializing with friends and book club chats to online banking and grocery orders, many familiar responsibilities are becoming digitized. A critical component of your healthy lifestyle that you can safely conduct from your home, believe it or not, is your annual doctor’s appointment, and even some urgent care appointments. Just like with an in-person exam, there are a few steps you should complete in advance of your appointment to ensure you feel prepared. Read on to learn what our team of caregivers recommends to best prepare for a telemedicine appointment.
1. Contact Your Insurance Provider
You will not want to be surprised by an unexpected health care bill. Before you make an appointment, contact your insurance provider to determine if your plan covers telemedicine. Some insurance plans may not cover telemedicine services; however, insurance coverage is evolving rapidly in response to Federal and State emergency proclamations addressing COVID-19. As a result, many insurers are adding coverage for telemedicine services.
2. Write Down Your List of Questions
This step is essential even when you are meeting your physician in-person to ensure you do not forget to ask any questions that have been building up in the back of your mind since your last exam. Especially during your first time experiencing a telemedicine exam, in which you may be distracted by the technology interface, ensure you maximize your time with your caregiver by asking any critical questions about such health areas as:
- Your risk of chronic conditions or diseases that have impacted members of your family
- Concerns about side effects of your routine prescriptions
- Diet or weight loss goals
- Skin, digestive, mood, or sleep abnormalities
3. Take a Photo
If you have questions or concerns about an illness or injury that has resulted in physically visible symptoms, take a photo that you can share with your physician during your appointment or as a follow-up. Telemedicine appointments are safe alternatives to in-person exams for such concerns as moles, rashes, or hives that you may previously have sought treatment for in an urgent care setting.
4. Consider Your Setting
Your doctor will speak with you from a quiet, private location. You will want to do the same. Make arrangements to hold your telemedicine call from a quiet, private setting in your home. Ensure you have a reliable internet connection that is capable of video conferencing. If possible, use headphones with a built-in microphone for the best audio quality for you as the listener and to ensure your physician can hear you in return. Most importantly, you will want to feel as if you have the privacy you would expect in your doctor’s office to discuss health concerns candidly.
5. Know When to Make an In-Person Appointment
There are some scenarios in which a physician should assess your symptoms in-person. These include anything that requires a hands-on exam, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, or chest pain. If you believe that COVID-19 may be causing your symptoms, call any of our clinics. Please inform our care team if you are experiencing coronavirus symptoms. Our compassionate care team is trained to identify, diagnose, and address novel coronavirus symptoms and can help to triage your care appropriately.
If you believe you are experiencing a true medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
Telemedicine will enable you to speak with and receive care from a compassionate provider you know and trust without having to leave your home. If you would like to make a telemedicine appointment with any of our compassionate care providers, click here.