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Preparing for a Video Call

How to prepare for a video call with a doctor

With the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating the use of telemedicine, virtual calls with a doctor are becoming increasingly more popular. It’s a safer alternative to in-person visits and patients can connect to a healthcare provider right from the comfort of their own homes—talk about convenience! Depending on your location and laws applicable to your state, doctors may prescribe certain medications through video calls.

For many people who are new to online appointments with a doctor or have been accustomed to visiting in person, a video call may seem daunting. In this article, we provide tips on how you can prepare effectively for a video appointment with your doctor.

Are you nervous about your virtual appointment with your doctor?

Some people may feel more anxious when speaking over the phone or through a video call. This is perfectly normal. Here are some things to remember when preparing to speak to a doctor online:

  • Understand that your doctor is there to listen and help you.
  • While you and your doctor may not be physically in the same space, using a camera and being able to see each other can make the experience feel more personal.
  • Preparing what you want to say ahead of time can help mitigate stress.
  • Keep a glass of water beside you.

What equipment will you need for a video call with a doctor?

For many virtual appointments, you’ll need a way to view your doctor on screen with a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or computer. If you’d like to be on-screen as well so your doctor can see you, make sure your device has a usable webcam and microphone.

Here’s our pro tip! Be sure to test your webcam and microphone before heading into your virtual doctor’s appointment. After all, your online time with your doctor should be about you and your health—not troubleshooting technical issues.

For privacy reasons, you may also want to consider using headphones or earbuds to keep the conversation more private.

On the day of your appointment, check to see if your device has a full battery. We recommend keeping your device plugged in if possible.

Where should I have my video call with my doctor?

For your doctor’s appointment, choose a location that is quiet and private. This allows you to speak freely and hear what your doctor is saying.

If you’ll be on camera, choose a well-lit location with a strong Wi-Fi signal so that you don’t run into any issues with your internet connection.

In terms of your internet, connect to a secure Wi-Fi channel to ensure that your data is protected.

Here’s our pro tip! While a virtual call can technically be held anywhere, we wouldn’t recommend going to a public space like a library or cafe. You may need to rely on public Wi-Fi, which is not as secure.

Preparing for your virtual call with your doctor

Before heading into your appointment, we highly recommend writing down questions or topics you want to cover with your doctor. This can help steer the conversation and ensure you’re getting the information you need.

Here’s our pro tip! Add an open-ended question at the end, such as “Is there anything else I need to know?” Your doctor might bring up topics you missed on your own list.

If you are taking any medication or are using any medical devices, have these next to you in case you want to show your doctor. On a similar note, have any information related to your medical history and health or insurance nearby in case you or your doctor needs to refer to it.

For video calls that deal with external or skin-related issues, take a high-resolution photo and send these to your doctor ahead of time. Holding your arm up to your webcam, for example, will be less effective since the video may appear blurry.

Whether you’re using a phone or a laptop, shut down other programs you may be using. Having these run in the background of your virtual doctor’s appointment may hinder the speed and quality of your video.

During your virtual call with your doctor

Don’t be afraid to take notes or ask your doctor to repeat themselves. If you need your doctor to slow down, let them know. A less stable internet connection means you or your doctor may cut out at times, making it harder to follow the conversation.

If someone else is in the room who will be listening to the conversation, let your doctor know beforehand. In most cases, having another person with you during your doctor’s appointment is perfectly fine.

Make the most out of your virtual doctor’s appointment

As a service, telemedicine has been around for decades, but in recent years, innovations in technology have improved the accessibility and quality of online healthcare.

Are you ready to connect to a doctor online about birth control pills or prenatal vitamins? Click here to get started!

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Dr. Darya Blednova, M.D. is a board-certified internal medicine physician. Dr. Darya grew up in Krasnoyarsk, Russia; she graduated from medical school at Krasnoyarsk State Medical University and completed her internal medicine residency at Nassau University Medical Center. She is a first-generation immigrant and understands the struggles that others face when moving to the other side of the world. She uses real-life examples to make it easy for her patients to understand the root causes of their problems, which encourages them to stick with their new, healthy behaviors. Dr. Darya is greatly interested in optimizing women’s somatic and reproductive health during their reproductive cycles.

Josh Emdur D.O. is a board-certified family medicine physician and Chief Medical Officer at SteadyMD with a passion for providing personal, high-value medical care that embraces the use of technology. His friends and family have texted him their medical questions on a daily basis for years (despite having their own respective doctors). It is this concept that launched the idea to start a virtual primary care practice. With the ubiquity of smartphones, fitness trackers, and connected health devices he can gather important data to help coach his patients to live healthy lives.

Dr. Amanda Sadler was born in Enid, Oklahoma and fell in love with sports and medicine at a young age. She swam at Texas Christian University and then returned to Oklahoma for medical school. While in medical school, she found the sport of triathlon and had immediate success. She raced as a professional athlete on the ITU and Ironman World Circuit for 15 years. Throughout her journey as a professional athlete, she discovered functional medicine. Now she gets to combine all that she loves (functional, sports, and performance medicine) into her job. Her approach to helping patients optimize their health and performance is through root cause analysis and encouraging a healthy balanced lifestyle.

Dr. Lynn Buchanan is a family medicine physician who has years of experience in conventional and integrative medicine. She was born and raised in the inner city of Paterson, NJ. After growing up poor and quitting high school, Dr. Buchanan worked in a hospital as a pharmacy tech. There, the oncologist pushed her to attend college. She went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude from William Paterson University. Then, she attended the UMDNJ School of Osteopathic Medicine and Nova Southeastern COM. Dr. Buchanan believes in aligning her medical approach with the needs and preferences of the patient. She takes cultural and individual needs into consideration, taking time with each individual patient to determine the best treatment method.

Dr. Leah Roberts is a board-certified physician who specializes in Emergency Medicine. Prior to medical school, she practiced as a personal trainer and nutritionist. Dr. Roberts completed her Emergency Medicine residency at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University in Camden, NJ. She earned her Doctorate of Medicine at Temple University School of Medicine and M.S. Nutrition at Columbia University.  Additionally, Dr. Roberts proudly serves as a Commissioned Officer in the US Army Reserves. She has an interest in preventative medicine and helping patients find a balanced, healthy lifestyle.

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