New to Telehealth? Here’s How to Prepare
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, more doctors than ever are offering telehealth visits. Florida Blue Medicare members now also have virtual visits through Teladoc®, at no extra cost to you.
But if you’ve always gone in person to see your doctor, switching to a virtual telehealth visit may sound a little intimidating. And you may wonder if you’re getting the same quality of care during a virtual visit as you would if you were sitting face to face with your doctor in an office.
Studies have shown that for many health concerns, seeing your doctor virtually is just as effective as seeing them in person. A 2019 study by the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research showed that virtual visits not only improved patient outcomes in many instances but also helped patients receive care more quickly than they would in a standard office setting. Now, with COVID-19, avoiding an office visit can also help you avoid unnecessary face-to-face contact and germs.
Whether you’re preparing for your first telehealth visit with one of your regular doctors or want to use Teladoc, here are some tips to help you get ready:
Find out what program your doctor uses for telehealth visits.
- When you make your appointment, ask if there is a program or app you’ll need to download for the visit. For example, Teladoc has an app you can download for free. Through the Teladoc app, you can schedule appointments, upload pictures for your doctor to view, send a message to your doctor and more. Teladoc doctors are often available the same day. You’ll need your Florida Blue Medicare member ID card to register.
- Your regular doctor may use a video-conferencing program like Zoom or Skype, which you can use on your computer or download for your device for free from the Apple or Google app stores. If you have an iPhone, your doctor may prefer to call you through Facetime.
- If you need help downloading one of these programs to your device, ask a friend or loved one for help before your appointment. Need help boosting your tech knowledge? Click here for more tech tips.
- Prior to your appointment, doublecheck to make sure your device and any program you need for the visit are working well.
Find a quiet place in your home for the visit.
- Choose a quiet room where you can avoid distractions.
- Make sure your internet and phone service work well there, so you don’t experience any technical interruptions during your virtual visit.
Prepare for the visit just as you would an in-person visit.
- Fill out any online paperwork or forms before your visit.
- Write down the questions you want to ask your doctor.
- Have your prescriptions and any over-the-counter medications ready so you can share them with your doctor.
- Have your pharmacy information ready, including the name and address of your pharmacy. That way you can make sure your doctor sends any prescription you may need to the right pharmacy.
Have a pen and paper ready for notes.
- Make sure to take notes during your visit, so you don’t forget what your doctor said.
- You can also invite a friend or loved one to sit with you during the visit. Sometimes it helps to have someone there to help you remember what the doctor said and to ask additional questions.
Now that you’re prepared, you can sit back and enjoy your visit!
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