15 PHYSICIAN TIPS FOR A BETTER TELEMEDICINE VISIT

So you’ve decided to try out telemedicine with your patients. You’ve got your telemedicine solution set-up and ready to go.

Now what? How do you ensure that your virtual patient visits are as successful and effective as your in-person ones? How do you prevent any technical glitches from getting in the way of your medical consultation?

The good news is, many of today’s video-chat telemedicine solutions are made to be as simple to use as possible. Think Skype but with complete security and extra features health professionals need – like ePrescribe, visit documentation, and billing.

Still, it’s always helpful to have your technical checklist on hand to head off any potential problems. Here’s our list of 15 tips to help make your virtual patient visits as effective and glitch-free as possible.

1. Use a High Quality Webcam. This one’s a no-brainer. What good is video if it’s not high-quality enough for you to clearly see your patient and any visual symptoms? Plus, when patients can clearly see your face, they’ll be more comfortable and respond more positively to the visit.This doesn’t mean you need to go out and buy a super-fancy camera. Many high-quality webcams today are not very expensive!

2. Test out all your equipment before you start.Ok, so you’ve got everything set-up. Now, you have to test it out! Before you do your first telemedicine visit, check to make sure your volume’s on, the audio is clear, and your camera and microphone are working. You might even want to do a quick check each morning to make sure everything is working properly.

3. Use Good Sound Equipment. Test out the microphone and speakers on your computer and mobile device. What you have might work ok. If you’re having any trouble getting good audio, though, spring for a high-quality microphone and some speakers. Also, remember that if you’re planning to have multiple staff in the room during a telemedicine visit, everyone will need to be heard.

4. Set-Up Your Camera at Eye-Level. Whether you’re using an integrated or external camera, set it up so that the camera is approximately eye-level. That way, it’ll be easier to maintain eye contact with the patient and stay engaged during the visit.

5. Close Unnecessary Programs. Video streaming can take up a lot of bandwidth, so make sure you don’t have too many other programs or tabs open. You might even want to close out of everything and just have your telemedicine platform open.

6. Use a Wired Internet Connection, if possible. A wired connection is less prone to interruptions, so try to use an ethernet cable instead of wifi whenever you can.

7. Plug in Your Computer or Mobile Device if you can. While this isn’t necessary, it’s always a good idea. The last thing you want is for your power to die in the middle of the visit.

8. Find a quiet space. Wherever you are (office, an exam room, or a home study) make sure the space is quiet and distraction-free. Eliminating distractions and ensuring patient privacy is crucial to a high-quality telemedicine visit.

9. Read the patient complaint beforehand, if possible. Just like any other visit, try to take a minute before starting the visit to read the patient complaint and familiarise yourself with the patient record. You’ll be more prepared for the visit and will likely make the appointment more efficient.

10. Adjust the lighting. The lighting in your space can have a big effect on the quality of your video. Pro tip – try turning on overhead lights and blocking light from windows, which can lead to too much background light in the video.

11. Share your screen when prompted. Most any app that’s accessing your webcam needs to request permission.