How to Get the Most out of Your Telehealth Appointment

Madeline Konsor, MS; Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians have transitioned to using telehealth platforms to care for their patients. In a time when healthcare is critical, knowing how to get the most out of your telehealth appointments is important. The use of telehealth is growing and not likely to end anytime soon. Telehealth appointments can be just as effective as in-person appointments but do warrant some special considerations. The following breaks down tips for getting the most out of your telehealth appointment.

What is Telehealth?

Telehealth refers “to remote healthcare-related interactions and the exchange of information, images, and sound through communication technologies” (Levy & Strachan, 2013). Telehealth can look different depending on the service you are seeking. Some appointments may occur via telephone, others may require live-video conferencing platforms. During the appointment, you may be asked questions such as the address of your current location, or you may be required to provide proof of identification by displaying a driver’s license or passport. These procedures are meant to keep you safe in the case of an emergency.

Tips for Your Telehealth Appointment

  1. Find an appropriate space to attend your appointment. While it may be tempting to attend your appointment from your bed, sitting in a chair or at a table is going make the appointment more enjoyable for you and your clinician. Ensure you are in a quiet, safe space where you feel comfortable speaking about your healthcare needs. When attending a telehealth appointment, make sure you are alone to maintain confidentiality. Using headphones or earbuds can assist with increasing privacy too.
  2. Minimize disruptions and distractions. If possible, try scheduling your appointments at a time when others may not be around. If you live with other individuals, notify them of when your appointment is and what room you will be using. Minimizing potential disruptions will help make the appointment run smoother and ensure you do not miss any important information.
  3. Dress in clothing that makes you feel good. Despite living in a time when many individuals are opting for pajamas and sweatpants, sometimes putting on a nice shirt and pants can make you feel good while talking to someone outside of your home.
  4. Have your materials ready. In the few days leading up to your appointment, collect any materials you might need such as your blood pressure log or the list of medications you are taking. Also, write down a list of questions you have for your provider. Make sure these items are next to you during the appointment and have a pen or pencil ready to take notes.  
  5. Practice logging on. If you are meeting with your provider using video conferencing services, practice logging on to the platform and ensure your internet connection is working before your appointment begins.
  6. Confirm and clarify next steps. Just like an in-person appointment, make sure you are aware of any next steps or follow up appointments that need to be made. Confirm that you have the correct information and contacts before ending your telehealth call.

Remember that telehealth care is not appropriate in the case of an emergency. If you need immediate help, please call 911 or a local crisis line. Telehealth appointments may feel awkward at first, but a little preparation can help ensure you get the most out of your telehealth care.

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