Connecting with healthcare professionals can be a rewarding experience. If you’re like most people, you probably enjoy the valuable insight and look forward to finding solutions to your unique health problems.
In this era of COVID-19, there’s an overwhelming demand from Canadians to connect with their healthcare providers. And that’s understandable, given the complex nature of this infectious disease. To meet this need, many clinics are offering Virtual Care -- a safe way to deliver services while maintaining physical distancing requirements.
Although online sessions lack physical interaction, they can still be very effective in addressing patient needs. So here are some tips to ensure you get the most out of your online visit.
Before the Appointment
Think about your talking points
Coming up with a short list of issues to discuss is helpful for in-person visits. But for online sessions, it can be even more important. When appointments are conducted through phone or video-chat, it’s easy to lose your train of thought. Before your Virtual Care visit, ask yourself the following:
- What is my reason for being seen?
- What are my symptoms?
- In which areas do I feel pain?
- What is it that I want to accomplish in the upcoming session?
In the days leading up to your appointment, take note of when your symptoms started or if they’ve changed. Keep a record in your smartphone or notepad of what triggers those symptoms, as well as what aggravates and relieves them.
Send a photo if possible
If you’re suffering from discomfort that’s actually visible, send a picture to your practitioner. Bruises, rashes and swelling are especially well-suited to telehealth services.
Whether your virtual visit is with a physiotherapist or fitness expert, a clear photo will help them understand the severity of your problem or challenge. And don’t forget to describe any sensations associated with your symptoms, such as tingling, numbness or sharp pain.
Address routine issues
Too often, time is wasted taking care of administrative details. Ask your practitioner if there’s anything that can be discussed beforehand. Doctor’s notes, insurance paperwork and billing inquiries can usually be addressed outside of the Virtual Care session. Send a quick email a few days prior to sort out these details, so you’re not wasting valuable treatment time on the day of.
During the Session
Be ready on time
Chances are your healthcare professional has other Virtual Care visits lined up for the day. Be on time to ensure your window doesn’t get cut short. If you’re scheduled for a video-chat, make sure the conferencing link works by logging in 10 minutes early. This will give you time to troubleshoot.
Make sure you’re in a quiet place
Because this pandemic means everyone stays indoors -- your spouse is likely working from home or your children are participating in online classrooms. Be sure to conduct this virtual visit from a quiet space that’s free of distractions. Your room should have a solid Internet connection, too.
Have your gear close by
If you’ve been using a Thera-Band or small dumbbells for exercises with your physiotherapist, have them nearby for your online appointment. If you need to ask your practitioner the correct way to use a blood pressure monitor or glucometer, have this equipment on standby as well.
After Your Appointment
Reassess, make adjustments if needed
After each Virtual Care session, it’s helpful to play back how it went and re-jig for next time if necessary. Ask yourself the following:
- Did Virtual Care meet my short-term needs?
- What can my practitioner and I do differently to make our next session even better?
- What am I looking to accomplish in the long-term?
Until we meet again...
Technological advances have allowed for seamless Virtual Care sessions. And that’s fortunate considering the uncertainty as to how long this pandemic will last -- especially in Ontario where a reopening plan has been unveiled, but no hard dates have been set. Although telehealth services are effective, returning to regular in-clinic visits is necessary to receive optimal care.
Physiomed strives to offer the same level of care our patients came to expect before COVID-19. The only difference now is that we’re armed with new tools to continue delivering service amid this new pandemic reality. Virtual Care is just one way to stay connected, until we meet again in-person.
For more information or to book an appointment for Virtual Care, please visit us here.