Video: Your Step-By-Step Guide to Using Telemedicine

Voiceover: This program is made possible with the support and collaboration of Pfizer Oncology.

Carmen:

Welcome back!

In this video, we’re going to show you how to use a service called telemedicine to meet with your physician virtually – in real time – to discuss your health.

But first, let’s review what we learned in the last video:

  • There are lifestyle apps that can help entertain, motivate and calm you. Hopefully you had a chance to download one that you enjoy.
  • Remember, you can always remove an app from your device if it isn’t working for you.

OK, now let’s dive into telemedicine.

Quincy:

Whether it’s an appointment with your nurse, doctor or mental health provider, there are times when it could make more sense to meet with a member of your healthcare team virtually, using your computer or mobile device.

This approach may offer more flexibility and cut down on time in the car or in the waiting room.

If this option is available to you, you can see your doctor for an appointment without leaving your home using a few simple steps, which we’ll walk you through.

Carmen:

Although it may not replace an in-person appointment, some types of non-emergency follow-up and monitoring appointments might be possible to conduct virtually

Mental health resources, such as online counseling, are also often available through telemedicine.

Your health care provider can help determine if a virtual appointment is an option. And, there may be follow-up you need to complete following the appointment, such as lab work.

Your doctor will provide specific instructions on how best to handle this.

Now, Quincy is going to walk us through the technical equipment that you will need for a virtual appointment.

Quincy:

Before we begin, keep in mind that every provider’s technology is slightly different. The platforms and instructions you receive may vary for each healthcare system.

That being said, you will need:

  • A strong internet connection, like a home WIFI network.
  • A computer or mobile device, like a tablet or smartphone.
    • The device should have a webcam and a microphone – this is standard on most mobile devices.

Make sure you are connected to your home wireless network, so that your signal is strong.

Carmen:

Once you have confirmed you have the necessary equipment and tech requirements, the next step is to:

  • Ensure your physician or clinic has options for telemedicine by calling the appointment desk. You may be able to see the options for virtual appointments when logging into the patient portal of your provider as well.

Then, once the appointment is scheduled, it’s important to ask how you will receive instructions for the appointment.

Providers might send information to your email address or through your patient portal messaging system.

Be sure to ask for a telephone number to if you have technical difficulties.

After you’ve scheduled your appointment, get prepared:

  • First, review the instructions that you receive from your provider.
  • Then, log in to the portal to familiarize yourself with the process and the software.

Once again, every healthcare system has this set up a bit differently, so follow the provided instructions closely.

  • Be sure to “Test your system.” Most software offers this option and you can test well in advance of your appointment.

Ensure that your audio and video are working properly. If not, refer to the instructions or call the designated number to get assistance.

Quincy:

On the day of your appointment, log in at least 10 minutes early. You may have to fill out an intake form, just like you do at a regular visit, or sign a consent form for care. This will all be done online.

Make sure the sound, camera and microphone on your device are turned ON and check that the levels are up and not muted.

It’s important to note that because you will be sharing health information during the virtual visit, your provider will use a technology that protects your information.

Carmen:

Thanks, Quincy.

Let’s discuss a few tips to make your experience go smoothly:

  • Set up access to the patient portal prior to your appointment time.
  • Be prepared! Write down questions and topics you would like to address with your provider in advance.
  • Be patient! As with most video calls, it sometimes takes a few minutes for everyone to be able to hear and see each other.

By following these steps, you should feel confident in having a successful telemedicine appointment.

Quincy:

We’ve covered a lot of information, so remember, you can always re-watch this video if you need to review any of the information. You can also download the resource guide that accompanies this video for a detailed step-by-step guide.

Carmen:

Onto our next video. Join us there!