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By Andrew Crocker, M.S.

Not too long ago, it might have been unthinkable that you would use your mobile device or computer to do virtually – get it? virtual?!? – everything. But now, from work to religious services to happy hours, joining an event online via video seems like second nature. Why should healthcare be any different?

Virtual visits are a convenient alternative to help keep you safe and well while accessing the services you need, whether attending an appointment with your health provider (telemedicine) or joining an educational session to support a chronic condition, like your diabetes support group (telehealth).

Preparing for a Successful Televisit

The following tips, adapted from the US Department of Health and Human Services, will help ensure an optimal experience with your televisit:

  • Check for instructions. Be sure to review any email, texts, or other communication from your health provider to help you prepare.
  • Reduce background noise. Find a quiet place in a separate room where you will not be distracted and can hear well.
  • Close other applications. In addition to being distracting, some applications on your mobile device or computer may slow down your internet connection.
  • Get camera-ready. Choose a spot with plenty of light and make sure the camera is steady.
  • Write it down. Write down important information to make the best use of your time.
    • Make a list of your current medications (or gather the actual bottles).
    • Write down any symptoms, questions, or concerns you want to discuss.
    • Keep paper nearby to take notes.
  • Stay focused. Make your visit (and your health!) a priority.

For more information, the National Institute on Aging has a great tip sheet regarding televisits. And if your telemedicine or telehealth provider needs some tips on how to prepare on their side, you can share these tips from the US Department of Health and Human Services.