When seeking medical care in a low risk situation, the time it takes to get an appointment can make a tremendous difference to the well being of a patient.
Many times patients have to wait weeks or even months for an appointment with a specialist or spend ours in waiting rooms for routine checks.
There are added risks related to late diagnosis of a chronic condition, exposure to pathogens in the waiting room and lack of adherence to medication by patients due to infrequent visits.
Many patients often have to take leave from work just to be in the room with a doctor when some consultations do not require a physical examination.
The recent Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated that many can benefit from online care.
Five Tips for a successful online consultation:
1. Choose a secure online platform to engage with health practitioners that align with your privacy needs.
2. Use a good quality webcam.
Nowadays, many computers come with built-in webcams however, they may be limited in range therefore investing in one that can be moved around with good definition would be very beneficial. Also, a good quality headset with microphone can help to keep consultations focused.
3. Check your internet connection.
Some platforms require higher bandwidths to operate than others. Due to high internet traffic during peak periods, if you have low bandwidth, try to schedule consultations outside of this time or consider upgrading to a faster connection. Close unnecessary programs during the consultation and make sure that your data is topped up.
4. Test all your equipment.
Before doing an online consultation, check your volume, speakers, headset and microphone. Later, this saves time and frustration. It is also important to check that your lighting is good so that the health practitioner can see your face clearly. If there is a lot of background noise, find a quieter place to avoid grey noises and distortion. Set up your camera so that it is at eye-level and not facing upwards or downwards. If using a laptop or device, place it on some books to ensure that it is eye level. Try to make sure that your device is connected to a power source so that you don’t run out of battery during the consultation.
5. Provide a history before the consultation.
In most cases, it would be beneficial to send the health practitioner some background information about the problem. This will save time during the consultation and make it more productive. If this is not an option, write down a summary of your medical history and immediate concerns beforehand so that you can refer to this during the consultation and not leave out crucial information.