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Preparing for a virtual visit

Most telehealth visits will include video. All you’ll need for this is a smartphone or a device with an internet connection and audio-video capabilities, like a tablet or computer.

Getting comfortable with telehealth

If you’ve never had a health care visit that wasn’t in-person, it might be hard to picture what a virtual visit or e-visit will be like.

A video visit is the closest telehealth option to an in-person visit. And the goal is to make it as much like an in-person appointment as possible.

Tip: Watch this video to learn more about what to expect from a telehealth visit exit disclaimer icon .

Telehealth privacy

If your telehealth appointment will address sensitive topics, think about the following before your appointment:

  • Will you be able to find a private place for the appointment? If not, think about finding a private location in your home, car, or at a friend’s house.
  • How to use options like email, text, or the telehealth platform’s chat feature to communicate privately with your doctor — especially if you’re concerned about your personal safety and don’t want others to hear your conversation.
  • If you will have an interpreter or caregiver present, talk to your doctor in advance about what you feel comfortable letting the other person hear. Find a separate time to talk about personal issues, if needed.

Preparing for your virtual visit

There are a few things you can do ahead of time to help your virtual health visit run smoothly, especially if you’re using video to talk with a doctor.

  • Write it down. Just like an in person visit, you’ll want to write down important information to make the best use of your time with the doctor.
    • Make a list of your current medications (or gather the actual bottles).
    • Write down symptoms, questions, or concerns you want to discuss during the appointment so you don’t forget them.
    • If your doctor has requested information like your temperature or weight have this information ready.
    • Have some paper to take notes about what you find out during the e-visit.
  • Check your email for instructions. Be sure to review any email, texts, or other communication from your doctor’s office with details about your upcoming appointment and how to log on or use their technology.
  • Reduce background noise. This can be tricky when there are a lot of people in the house! But if you can, find a quiet activity for the kids — or your roommates — in a separate room.
  • Close other applications. Some applications will slow down your internet connection. And even if they don’t, closing them will cut down on distractions.

Get camera ready

  • Choose a spot with plenty of light. If you’re using the camera on your phone, try turning on the flash if necessary.
  • Make sure the camera is steady. This will be easier if you’re using a computer or laptop. To keep a phone steady, prop it up on a desk or table.
  • Get comfortable. You’ll have an easier time focusing on the visit if your body is comfortable. This is another reason to prop up your phone — your arm will get pretty tired if you’re trying to hold the phone out in front of you the whole time!
  • Wear loose clothing. If you’ll need to show the doctor something on your skin or a specific part of your body, wear something that’ll be easy to move so that the doctor can see clearly.

Troubleshooting telehealth technology

Here are common troubleshooting tips you can use if you’re having trouble logging in to your telehealth appointment or if you have technology issues during the appointment itself.

  • Restart your computer or device
  • Check that the internet connection is working and is strong enough to work with the telehealth platform
  • Close all other applications
  • Update your internet browser (if the telehealth platform is web-based)
  • Check your email or call your doctor’s office to reach someone who can provide help
Last updated: November 18, 2020