Eight tips for patients using telehealth services

May 11, 2020 · 3 min read

With the rise of COVID-19, we’re all adopting to new ways of interacting with our doctors and clinicians. To stay healthy and safe, virtual visits are becoming more common — but are also new and sometimes intimidating.

You might not know what to expect with a telehealth session, so we prepared these tips to consider before your next appointment.

1) Location matters: Look around. Are you comfortable? Is it private? Find a quiet room with a door that you can shut, if possible. Encourage your family members not to disturb you, set your phone to privacy mode, and turn off your email so you’re not distracted.

2) Good lighting: Find a room that’s light enough that your clinician can clearly see you. Facing a window or a table lamp can help, as can increasing the brightness on your computer monitor or smartphone.

3) Do a quick equipment test: Just as you would arrive early for an in-person appointment, join your telehealth appointment 10 minutes early to make sure that everything is working properly before your clinician starts the appointment.

4) Game plan: Do you have symptoms you want to describe or specific information you want to share? Past medical records or lab results you want to pass along, or any health information your clinician is likely to request (for example, for women, the first day of your last period; if you have a wearable, your blood pressure readings).

5) Family history: It may be necessary for your clinician to know your family history, especially if a condition runs in your family. Keep a detailed list of any family members who have the condition, the age they were first diagnosed, any treatment they received, and the outcome (if known).

6) Keep a notebook handy: Unlike an in-office visit, a clinician will not be able to hand you a printed flyer describing a particular condition or course of treatment, so be ready to write it all down yourself.

7) Your pharmacy: Jot down the phone and address of the pharmacy you use in case your clinician needs to prescribe you any medicine.

8) Treat it like an office visit: Above all else, remember that this is a medical appointment. Treat the telehealth session no differently than you would an in-office visit. Just like you wouldn’t eat or listen to music when you’re in your clinician’s office, do the same from home. If you can’t make it to your appointment, let your clinician’s office know as soon as possible.

For more information about Invitae, including telehealth genetic testing, click here.


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