Couple in laptop webcam frame adjusts computer as desk lamp shines on them and pill bottles.

The New Era of Telehealth & Telemedicine Visits: Part 1

We recently participated in a telehealth visit with Karl’s neurologist. Rarely have we been excited and filled with anticipation for a neurology appointment. Since we both grew up during the first generation of home computing, we eagerly embraced the idea of using video streaming technology for a medical visit. Could a telehealth visit be as thorough as an in-person visit? Our inquiring minds were eager to find out!

Making the switch to telehealth

Karl’s visit with his neurologist had originally been scheduled as a face to face follow up appointment. Within a couple of weeks of the quarantine start, his neurologist’s automated system called to ask if he would like to switch to a telehealth visit. Using an old-fashioned voice call, he switched the appointment to a telehealth visit.

Doing your homework prior to the telehealth visit

Before the visit, we needed to send in his medication list and his Parkinson’s follow-up questionnaires to the office a day or two ahead of the appointment.

Initially, we tried to submit this information online, via the patient portal, but that did not work. Our workaround was printing off the forms, filling them out, using a mobile phone to take pictures of the forms, logging into the patient portal, uploading the pictures, and then filling out a form (in the portal) alerting the doctor that the completed forms were available for viewing.

For us, these steps were easy because of our familiarity with the portal. This step probably took Karl and me 30 minutes in total. However, we could see that some folks may take longer for this step, especially if they were unfamiliar with the tools involved.

Preparing for the telehealth visit

To participate in a telehealth visit, we needed a device that had a camera and connected to the Internet. We were fortunate that we had a few computers and mobile devices that have cameras. For the meeting, we chose a location in our home that had the following features:

  • Space for both of us to sit in front of the camera.
  • Good lighting that could show our faces and the space clearly.
  • Allowed enough space for Karl to stand and walk a few steps in front of the camera, so the neurologist could observe his movements/walking.

Note: We strongly recommend that you set up your device and check the camera’s viewing angle before your appointment.

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After hearing about other people’s experiences, do you feel more likely to try telehealth?

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