House Calls… Online


Telemedicine consultations might be here to stay.

With patients still concerned about visiting a doctor’s office during the pandemic, many physicians are continuing to offer telemedicine services.

Telemedicine is a general term that covers all of the ways you and your doctor can use technology to communicate without being in the same room — phone calls, video chats, emails and text messages.

Tips for Telemedicine

Check insurance plans to find out what’s covered under telemedicine. Patients should find out if their medical insurance covers telemedicine doctor and urgent care visits, plus copays and other fees. Those who do not have insurance or coverage that includes telemedicine might be able to pay a fixed fee to use it.

Try out the technology ahead of time. Because telemedicine comes in many forms, patients should go through a trial run to make sure they understand the system and work out any kinks before hopping on a virtual appointment with their doctor.

Be prepared. Whether patients have a call or a video appointment, they should write down their symptoms, medicines they’ve taken and any questions they have so they don’t forget anything when speaking to the doctor.

Beef up bandwidth. Are there certain places in the house where a Wi-Fi signal is stronger than others? Technical problems, such as frozen screens and a slow connection speed, can make an easy appointment difficult. Patients should make sure they’re in the spot with the strongest signal before connecting with their physician. A phone call can be a good backup plan.

Prepare to punt. Someone who has a telemedicine appointment still could end up in the doctor’s office. While that may be frustrating, it can help patients get quicker results and feel better faster.