6 ways to boost 'webside manner' during telehealth visits

Physicians must alter their "bedside manner" from traditional in-person care to better accommodate patient needs during video-based telehealth visits, according to Neil Naik, MD.

Dr. Naik, emergency medicine simulation education director at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, shared tips for physicians to improve their "webside manner" during a recent Massachusetts General Hospital webinar, according to a Sept. 28 American Medical Association report.

Webside manner is about more than just how the physician looks on camera, Dr. Naik said, adding that empathy and understanding of the total encounter play an important role. "This is, I think, where a lot of people have difficulties with telemedicine. They try to take what they do in person and move it, en block, into the virtual realm," he said. "We can't do that. We have to teach a different set of skills to actually care for a patient."

Six tips for physicians conducting video-based telehealth visits, according to Dr. Naik:

1. Position yourself in the center of the video screen frame so you are the focal point on the patient's screen.

2. Adjust the lighting to reduce glare and spotlighting so the patients can see your face.

3. Remove any background items that may distract the patient.

4. Ensure the visit is following HIPAA compliance by removing any unnecessary people from the room who haven't been approved by the patient to be present for the visit.

5. Ask the patient to confirm their location to make sure you have the proper license for the visit.

6. Ask the patient to adjust their lighting, body position or furniture so you can get the view needed for the exam.

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