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The new normal is telemedicine, be prepared before the visit


A face to face visit is the most desirable doctor patient visit but a TeleMed visit either via audio with just a phone call or via visual (like above) is an acceptable way to care for patients in this new era.

As we continue to formulate and perfect our “new normal,” we are looking at making our TeleMed visits of greater impact. Certainly by most opinions, a face to face visit is most desirable but a TeleMed visit either via audio with just a phone call or via visual through various sources is a proper way to care for patients in this new era.

Many medical staff members are new or less experienced with these tools undersigned to help care for patients. But there are best practices that are in play when using this technology.

Some ideas that the patient may want to employ will be discussed here.

Remember, there is a prescribed limit to the time allotted for these calls. If the interaction is for a new problem, try to have your comments written down or outline exactly what the problem is so you can succinctly deliver that information to your healthcare provider.

Some providers will have an assistant, who may prepare the call for them. Tell that assistant all that is going on so that the call can be channeled to use the time wisely.

If the interaction is to check on an existing problem, have a game plan of what questions you may want answered.

If this is an interaction to talk about your blood pressure, hopefully you have home blood pressure readings that can give the practitioner an idea of how well your blood pressure is controlled. They will want to know how your weight is doing, what your diet is and the amount of activity in which you participate.

If the interaction is to check on your diabetes your health care team is going to want to know what your glucose numbers have been over the period since your last visit. Depending on the manner that you check your glucose, you may be able to send information to your practitioner about what has occurred. If not, have a few representative glucose readings so there is an idea of how well you are controlled. Again, your practitioner will want to know your weight and an idea of what constitutes your diet.

If the interaction is for heart disease, again, some key elements of the call will be how well you are doing. How active are you? Are you retaining fluid? What is your weight? All these are representative questions for which you need to have answers.

We need to be able to see you as well. Try to pick an area to receive the call that has great light or close to a window. I try to have light shining in front of me so you can see me well. Remember, we want to look at you. How you hold your body, do you look flushed or swollen in the face are all important factors for the visit.

Try to be relaxed and allot the appropriate time to complete the visit. Pre-planning is important so that your questions are answered and the needed information is collected. Your medical team wants to make this a valuable interaction.

Sometimes you may be required to get certain labs done before your telemedicine appointment. Be willing to do that. Also understand that there may be times when your practitioner may need to see you to examine you. Be willing to come in when it is appropriate.

Telemedicine has been around for a while but now the art of the visit is being perfected to make it a pleasant and convenient interaction for you. TeleMed needs to be an accurate way to collect information about you and a productive part of providing the best care.

Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at