Five ways to get the most from your virtual doctor appointment

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the CDC estimates that more than 40% of U.S. adults have avoided medical care during the pandemic because of concerns about COVID-19, including more than 31% who avoided routine care.

“Virtual health care is offered to patients who are unable to come into the office,” said Dr. Eric Haynes, DO, family medicine physician at McLaren Medical Groups’ Holt Family Practice. “While a virtual visit can’t replace the effectiveness of an in-person visit, it’s an alternative during the COVID-19 pandemic to still receive health care as well as manage some chronic issues from the safety of your home.”

If you have a virtual care appointment coming up, keep these five tips in mind to make sure you get the most from your telehealth visit:

1. Track your vital signs at home. It’s important to have your blood pressure, weight, heart rate, and any other vital information that is needed for your appointment ready to go. It is best to have a month or more of this information logged for your appointment.

2. Test your technology. Make sure that whatever device you are going to use for the online doctor appointment is charged and ready to go 15 minutes or more before your appointment is scheduled to begin. If you have an additional device, make sure it is close by in case it is needed.

3. Find a dedicated space that is well lit and private. “I have had patients log into their virtual appointments from work, car, or other public space. It’s important to find a private space for your doctor’s appointment so we can cover any health concerns you may have in a private setting,” said Dr. Haynes.

4. Locate the instructions for the virtual visit before your scheduled time. It’s most efficient to find the correspondence with the virtual office visit information 15 minutes or more before your appointment is scheduled to begin. Just like a regular appointment, it is important to be on time.

5. Write a list of questions you may have for your physician. This is important with both virtual and in-person doctor’s appointments. A prepared list of questions will ensure that you leave your doctor’s appointment with all concerns addressed.

Many McLaren Greater Lansing primary care physicians offer virtual visits, for a complete list, click here. If you need a virtual doctor visit outside of your primary care’s office hours, McLaren offers the McLarenNow app, which provides a board certified physician anytime, anywhere, on a smartphone, tablet, or computer.