In a time where in-person appointments are being canceled, it may seem like it is impossible to get much-needed healthcare. However, there is still a way to have appointments with your healthcare provider via telehealth.
Telehealth is the use of technology to deliver healthcare services (https://www.cchpca.org/about/about-telehealth). Telehealth is currently used to provide a wide range of services such as:
- Case Management
- Home Health
- Primary Care Physician Visits
Telehealth services are provided through a variety of telecommunication tools, such as video, phone calls, text, and computer programs. Healthcare providers are advised to use secure telecommunication methods to ensure that your visit is private. If you are scheduled for a healthcare appointment via telehealth, here are a few tips to help prepare for the visit:
- Check to ensure that your insurance provider covers your visit. Many insurance providers are waiving co-pays during COVID-19. However, it is essential to know what services your insurance is covering. Often, you can find out this information by calling the customer service number on your insurance card.
- During your visit, try to find a quiet private place to talk with your provider. It is important to treat this visit as you would if you were going to your doctor’s office. Try to make sure that you are in a quiet room with the door closed if possible. If you are concerned about family members hearing your conversation, try to think of other spaces where you can be alone. For some, this is being in the car or stepping outside. It is important that you feel comfortable freely expressing what you are experiencing so that the healthcare provider can provide you with the support that you need.
- Test your equipment before the appointment. Since healthcare providers may only be able to give you the exact amount of time of the appointment, it is important to not miss any time due to equipment issues. To make sure that you have the most time to talk about your needs, test your equipment before the appointment. If there is a website that you need to log into, make sure that you have the username and password information. If you are using a computer, make sure that you check your mic and sound settings are on.
- Make sure that you have your questions ready. Sometimes, meeting virtually can feel different, and thus, it may be difficult to talk freely as you may in the office. It can be helpful to have a list of questions, and also a list of symptoms that you are experiencing as well. If you are having trouble sleeping, consider keeping track of your hours of sleep for a few days before the appointment. If you notice an increase in headaches or other symptoms, be sure to take note of when those occur so that you don’t forget to share that information during your appointment.
Telehealth appointments can be a convenient way to get the healthcare that you need. However, it should not be used in emergencies. If you believe that you are having heart issues or feel that you are in danger in some way, please call 911 to ensure that you get the help that you need at that moment.