Telemedicine is a buzzword made especially popular by the recent health crisis of COVID-19. As even the most essential businesses were forced to limit in-person interactions, many were left wondering how they would connect and chat with their doctors, strength coaches, nutritionists, and other medical personnel.
Thanks to the popularity of video conferencing, telemedicine has been able to provide those in need with hands-off doctor’s appointments, consultations, and more. While not quite the same as an in-person visit, telemedicine is a trend that is here to stay, even long after a COVID-19 vaccine hits the markets.
What to Expect – Pre-Appointment
Many providers now offer telemedicine booking options right on their websites, but if you’re not seeing the option for an online appointment, definitely give your provider a call or email to see about its feasibility.
After confirming an appointment time, most providers will send you information via email about how to access the secure patient/provider video chat. This may be done through a patient portal, hyperlink, or separate video conferencing software. Most instructions are sent approximately 24-hours prior to your appointment, so don’t fret if you don’t get tele-info immediately after scheduling.
Before the appointment, make sure you have a strong internet connection, a working webcam and audio, and are able to have the appointment somewhere you feel safe and secure, like a home office.
And just like you would for an in-person appointment, jot down the topics and questions you’d like to go over with the provider. It helps to have these written down and accessible during the appointment! You can even email them to your provider ahead of time to keep the meeting focused and productive.
What to Expect – During the Appointment
Just like any video call, your doctor will appear on-screen at the time of your appointment. It’s likely the doctor will be in their office, but they may also be operating in a work-from-home environment. Rest assured, our providers at GritLink maintain the utmost confidentiality and patient protections possible even during telemedicine appointments.
Since it’s impossible to have a nurse or practitioner take the normal measurements like blood pressure, blood oxygen, height, and weight, you likely won’t be able to discuss those or take those metrics during this appointment.
Instead, let the provider guide the appointment. They may ask you about your activity levels during quarantine, how your diet has changed, how you’ve been sleeping, and if you’ve been sick or injured. Just like – you got it – a normal appointment.
If you’re meeting with a chiropractor, strength coach, or physical therapist via video conference, be sure to ask the provider to demonstrate any at-home exercises or therapies while on the telemedicine call. Most will be more than happy to do so!
What to Expect – After the Appointment
It can be hard to keep track of all that’s discussed during a telemedical conversation. It’s totally okay to ask the provider to send you a written document of what was discussed, including treatment or care plans. In fact, many providers will do this without being asked.
Some providers may advise you to test drive your treatment plan for a few weeks, and to consider discussing a safe in-person visit if more intensive or hands-on care is needed.
Be sure to ask your provider for their preferred method of contact, especially if you’re working with a physical therapist, chiropractor, or strength coach. Questions about form, frequency, and pain-thresholds come up often, and it’s important to know the best way to chat these things through with your practitioner.
Many of our providers are currently offering telemedicine appointments, meaning you do not need to be local to work with a provider! Consider checking out some of our excellent practitioners for a second opinion, a new treatment plan, or a fresh pair of eyes on your body mechanics.
By Kristin Goett. Kristin is a social media marketing and public relations professional who currently resides in the Denver area. A triathlete herself, Kristin knows firsthand how important it is to have access to great providers. When she isn’t checking Instagram or posting to Facebook, Kristin is spending her days in the Colorado mountains and training for her next Ironman.
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