By Pilar Bradshaw, M.D., F.A.A.P.
A successful virtual visit with your provider requires some preparation:
1. Prior to your virtual appointment, test the link that your provider sent to be sure you can connect to the virtual waiting room. Your first telemedicine visit may require that you complete consent forms online ahead of time. If you need help, call your doctor’s office for assistance, so that you don’t miss your appointment when the time arrives.
2. To avoid excessive background noise and distraction, corral pets in another room or put them outside and plan activities for other children in your household to do during your virtual visit.
3. Write down a list of your questions and concerns ahead of time to help ensure you don’t forget anything during your visit.
4. Include the child who is being seen, so that your medical provider can talk to and interact with them directly.
5. Dress your child in clothes that are easy to remove – your doctor may ask to observe them breathing, examine their skin, or do some other type of visual exam.
6. If your child being seen is 12 years or older, be willing to leave the room when requested (and no eavesdropping), so that your adolescent can have some privacy to talk with their provider one on one. This is an important milestone for your child, and it empowers them to be an advocate for their health as they grow into adulthood.
7. Be sure to find out when the doctor wants your child to be seen next and clarify whether it will be in-person or via another virtual visit.
As a health care provider, if I see a child who is having a concerning issue, I can refer that family to see someone at our clinic in person. We can use telemedicine for routine visits, as well as a triage tool to decide whether additional steps should be taken.
Telemedicine is a new way of communicating and requires some effort, both from the doctor and the patient. However, we believe it’s helping us meet the important health care needs of your family, while easing your safety concerns during this time of social distancing.