Picture this: You are packing your bags and getting ready for a family trip when you notice a weird rash on your arm. You hit the road tomorrow morning, so you won’t have the time to visit your doctor and make sure everything is alright. You decide to Google your symptoms, but it’s hard to tell if you have simple dermatitis or Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE.) Should you just give up for now and hope for the best until you can see your physician?
Why not try telemedicine?
Telemedicine platforms allow board-certified doctors to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients remotely using telecommunications technology. Simply put, you connect with a doctor via a live video conference, tell them about your symptoms, and they will prescribe you the best treatment for your condition.
Telemedicine works great for minor health conditions that don’t require extensive investigations, such as congestion, nausea, rashes, fever, sore throats, or UTIs. It can also be a great option for mental health consultation and therapy.
Don’t worry: even though the consultation takes place remotely, they are as thorough as an in-person visit. Online doctors are professionals and fully equipped to evaluate and diagnose you.
That said, how do you get ready for an online consultation? Here’s everything you need to know to receive hassle-free medical care.
Find a Telemedicine Platform That Meets Your Needs
Telehealth has increased tremendously in the last few years and you can find countless platforms that promise to offer the best medical care out there. While most online doctors are trustworthy professionals, opt for a telehealth service that is easy to use. The entire procedure shouldn’t take more than a few steps: sign it, find a doctor, start your visit.
The whole purpose of telemedicine is that it’s convenient and fast. So, if navigating the platform makes you scratch your head or if you can’t seem to find what you need, then it would be better to look for another service.
Ask About Payment Options
Before scheduling an appointment with a doctor, try to find out how much online consultations costs or if your health insurance plan will cover the visit. The costs can vary based on several factors, such as the type of doctor you need, your insurance plan, or the area you live in. But, the average cost for an online consultation is about $50 (or $15-$20 if you are insured.)
Don’t Let Technology Ruin the Visit
Regardless of the device, you are using (a computer, smartphone, or tablet,) make sure that you understand how the platform work before you schedule your appointment. That way, you won’t stress the technical aspects during your online consultation.
Here are some tips that will ensure a successful telemedicine visit:
● Test your web camera microphone and speakers before the appointment. Set up the camera at eye level to replicate the feeling of an in-person visit.
● Test your internet connection. If you are using your computer, then it’s better to use a wired internet connection rather than WiFi to ensure that you won’t lose connectivity during the consultation.
● Make sure your devices are fully charged or plugged in before the appointment starts.
● Close any unnecessary programs that might affect your intent connection or reduce the quality of your video feed.
● If the telemedicine platform you are using comes with an app, then it may have certain requirements for the type of browser it supports. Make sure you are using the right browser, software, and hardware.
● If you are feeling overwhelmed by all the technical aspects of scheduling a consultation with an online doctor, don’t hesitate to ask a relative to help you set up your device before the appointment.
Prepare for the Appointment
Prepare for the appointment just like you would for an in-person visit. If you are seeking medical care for a new illness, write down your symptoms as well as their timeline. Have your medical history ready and make sure to tell the doctor if you’ve taken any over-the-counter medicine to treat your symptoms. Write down any questions you would like to ask your doctor.
If you are getting ready for a follow-up visit, write down how your condition has improved since the last appointment. Or, if it hasn’t, tell the doctor how your illness is affecting your life. Make sure to mention if you’ve noticed any side effects from your medication too.
Find a Quiet Place
Choose a room that is quiet and well-lit. Ask your family or roommates to give you a few minutes of privacy so that you can discuss peacefully with the doctor without fearing that someone might interrupt you. As mentioned already, make sure to set the web camera at eye level so that you can have a direct conversation with your physician as if you were in the same room.
Unlike a regular in-person visit, where you receive a prescription at the end with all the instructions regarding your medical plan, during an online consultation, the doctor will explain to you what steps you need to follow. Have a pen and paper ready to write down the treatment plan and any other instructions.
Telemedicine also makes it possible for you to get online prescriptions, but you will need to have your pharmacy on file with the office so that they know where to send your medication.
Discuss Your Follow-up Care
In most cases, one consultation is enough to get the treatment you need. But, if you have a condition that requires on-going treatment, then make sure to discuss the details of your next appointment with your doctor.
Choose Web Doctors for Convenient Healthcare
With Web Doctors, you get quick access to doctors from a wide range of specialties. All you need is a tablet, smartphone, or computer to connect to one of our certified doctors from wherever you are. You can speak to the doctor online or via phone call. They will evaluate your symptoms, diagnose you, and send a prescription to your nearest pharmacy.