Telehealth Keeps You Connected with Your Doctor Without Leaving Home
Telehealth appointments—using video conferencing or a phone call to consult with your healthcare providers—have become a routine part of care during the COVID-19 crisis. These tools enable you to maintain social distancing while keeping up with your important health needs.
“Telehealth consultations are proving to be both effective and comforting to our patients,” says Eli Gelfand, MD, Section Chief of General Cardiology at BIDMC. “Many patients have told us they now prefer telehealth appointments for follow-up of some conditions, especially if they have a long distance to travel to get to the medical center.”
As with regular office visits, patients “meet” with their provider during virtual visits to go over health history, symptoms, medications and any recent test results.
Beth Israel Lahey Health uses a variety of telehealth tools to connect with patients via video. Your providers and their staff can help if you have questions about which tool to use or how to use it. In most cases, all you need for a video visit is a computer or tablet with a camera and a microphone, or you can simply talk with your provider by telephone.
Get the Most from Your Appointment
Dr. Gelfand recommends that you prepare for a telehealth consultation just as you would your regular appointment. “Make a list of subjects that you would like to discuss with your doctor,” he suggests. In addition, have the following information ready:
- Medications you are taking, including vitamins and over-the-counter medicines and if you need any prescription refills
- Any basic symptoms you have been experiencing
- Any changes in your health since your last doctor’s visit
- Your medical history
- Any blood pressure readings you have tracked at home from a blood pressure monitor or other data you have gathered from your smartwatch, smartphone or a fitness tracking device
- The name and phone number of your pharmacy
Other Telehealth Tips:
Have your computer, tablet or phone charged or plugged in
“Arrive” for your appointment 15 minutes early
Try out technology you will be using in advance
Locate a quiet, private place where you can talk, away from distractions
Have a pen and paper ready to take notes