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What do I need to use telehealth?

For most telehealth visits, you need internet and a device like a smartphone, computer, or tablet.

Illustration of an open laptop, a tablet, and a smartphone laying in a circle. All three devices display the same blue cross on their screens.

What do I need to connect to my telehealth appointment?

For most telehealth visits, you need a device that has video and sound. This could be a computer, smartphone, or tablet.

Learn what you need and how to prepare for a telehealth visit by watching this video.

What to consider when selecting your device?

To have a telehealth visit, you will need to use an electronic device. These are some types of devices that can be used for telehealth:

Computer. A computer is a technology device for electronic entering, accessing, or creating information.

Smartphone. Smartphones, or mobile devices, have features you can use for your telehealth appointment such as a camera. You can also use a smartphone to send a text to your provider.

Tablets. Tablets are a cross between computers and smartphones with a large screen.

When selecting an electronic device, there are some things to consider:

Speed. They can also vary in how fast they can access or send information.

Size. Devices come in many sizes. Screen size may affect your ability to see information.

Screens. Some screens are called "touch screens" because you can use your finger to move to different places on the screen or move to the next page, rather than use a mouse or touch pad.

Keyboards. Come in different sizes and have a range of features.

Data storage. Electonic devices vary in the amount of information they can store.

What if I don’t have a device that allows video?

If you do not have a computer, tablet, or smartphone, ask your health care provider if you can have a phone call for your telehealth visit.

What should I do if I don’t have internet access?

About 1 in 5 homes do not have a good connection to the internet. If you do not have access to the internet:

  • Ask your health care provider if you can talk on the phone for your telehealth visit. This may not work for every health care problem, so it is important to ask if it is okay for your visit.
  • Go somewhere with free internet like a library or another place in the community. Make sure any place where you go to do a telehealth visit is in a private spot. Also make sure your health care provider uses a safe and private way to talk to you online.
  • Look into programs that can help you get access to the internet. Some programs can even lower your internet costs. Lifeline helps people with lower income pay for internet and devices.

Learn about Federal internet programs by watching this video.

More information:

Ensuring your health information is private (video) — Health Resources and Services Administration

Telehealth privacy tips for patients (PDF) — Health Resources and Services Administration

What if I'm having trouble using telehealth? — Health Resources and Services Administration