TelemedicineTelehealth for Physicians: 6 Best Practices

Telehealth or e-health refers to the use of technology to make health care more accessible for patients without needing to physically see a doctor. It was considered one of the most unorthodox practices in medicine until the recent pandemic when the world became more accepting of this facilitation. Several countries suffered the worst lockdowns, during which telecare was the most accessible doctor-patient interaction facilitation.

Though things are back to normal, e-health is going to stay in the long run. With the new normal, patients are now preferring telehealth facilitation over visiting physicians’ offices. Thus, you need to make the best use of this practice to ensure a smooth patient experience.

This article explains some of the best telehealth practices for healthcare professionals.

The Medical Assistant Does the Initial Talking

Most physicians new to practicing telemedicine think of taking the patient’s medical history in an online session. Although that is necessary, it’s not the first step. The first step should involve a medical assistant who takes an initial history, then proceeds to educate the patient on how to monitor their vitals.

Most patients have portable blood pressure monitoring apparatus, thermometers, and a glucometer at home. The medical assistant should contact the patient and ensure that they can record their vitals and arrange the required modalities before a session begins.

It is never a good idea for a physician to examine a patient in a telehealth conference without noting vitals. Make sure your assistant is well versed with the basics.

Switch on Your Camera

In e-medical conferencing, patients have two options; either contact their physician via audio call or video call. Telehealth video conferencing is preferable because the patient can see the doctor, enabling an atmosphere of comfort. A relaxed patient is necessary for the doctor to get a reliable history.

You may consider a physical session before a virtual session. Most people who are already seeing a physician physically prefer having an online session with the same person. An in-person session introduces a sense of familiarity, which eases patient anxiety.

Consent is Important

Consent holds great value in medical ethics. Just like an in-person examination requires the physician to take proper consent, so does a telehealth session. Once a physician takes consent to begin a session, it is essential to make the patient comfortable. That’s because not every patient feels relaxed during an online examination.

In certain circumstances, the physician may request the patient to expose the affected body part. Without proper visual examination, it becomes difficult for the doctor to figure out the underlying disease. It is crucial that you first explain the reason for requesting an examination and take the patient in confidence regarding the confidentiality of their case.

You’re advised to use a secure and non-encrypted mode of communication, especially if it’s a video session.

Small Talk Isn’t Always a Bad Idea

Telehealth sessions usually take more time than in-person meetings. The additional time is when the physician tries to create a comfortable environment where the patient can be honest about their condition. Doctors who directly jump to medical questions may end up making their patients uncomfortable.

A session should have a small time frame where you can initiate small talk and get the patient to start speaking up. Once that part is done, the next is quickly done. If you fail to make a patient comfortable, it eventually leads to a less effective session for the patient.

Sit in a Professional Environment

You should always sit in a professional environment during an e-session. If you’re taking the session at home, you must be appropriately dressed. Even though it’s not necessary, it looks professional. How can a patient trust a doctor who doesn’t even dress like one?

Next, the background is significant. You must be sitting in a place where the background should not give away the fact that you’re not serious regarding the session.

As important as the dressing and outlook are, so is behavior. You should ensure that there isn’t any additional noise from the surroundings. Avoid yawning and keep your body language professional enough to make the patient believe you’re interested in listening to them.

Always Contact a Patient from an Official Portal

Contacting the patient from your official portal is vital to uphold the rules of medical ethics and maintain a safe doctor-patient distance. As convenient as telemedicine is, it comes with a certain set of risks. Thus, you must maintain professional decorum.

Maintaining a proper appointment base system helps sort out a lot of issues. A physician should only be seeing appointment patients and give preference to potentially risky patients first. Moreover, the patients must be made aware of the nonavailability of professional help around the clock.

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Digital Health Buzz!

Digital Health Buzz!

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