Chances are your next visit with your doctor will be from your own living room.  With Covid cautions and scheduling challenges, the practice of visiting with your doctor using a video monitor is becoming more and more common.  With a little practice, it will become quite easy, but if you have not had a virtual medical appointment yet, there are a few things that you need to do to prepare.

Get your medical information compiled.  Prior to the virtual visit you may be asked to fill out medical history forms, including current symptoms and the medicines you are taking. You should prepare with a list of your own questions for the doctor.  It may be helpful to refer to an earlier article in this series as you assemble your information and questions.  Time may not permit all of your questions, so prioritizing them is important.

Have your technology prepared – and you prepared for your technology.  You will need a computer, tablet or smartphone at a minimum.  Without a camera, it is only a phone call which is not nearly as effective.  The doctor can observe physical symptoms and your facial expressions as you are talking.  Make sure you test your equipment with a family member (a Skype or Google Hangout call) before the appointment so you are familiar with video communication if you are not already.

You will need to do part of your own physical exam.  Weigh yourself, take your temperature and take your own blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate.  These are numbers the doctor will want to know during your video chat.  If you have parts bruises or wounds or other parts of your body you need to show the doctor, make sure you are wearing clothing that make that easily possible in the least amount of time.

Get yourself situated.   Your telehealth visit should take 15 to 20 minutes.   Create a comfortable and quiet space for your visit.  Take care of any things that might prevent you from staying in one spot for 20 minutes (bathroom, thirst).  You do not want to waste any valuable time available with your physician.