Physician viewpoint: 5 tips to help patients maximize telehealth benefits  

Telehealth has been a key tool for providers and patients to stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic, but its effectiveness can vary by the way patients use it.

In a Jan. 8 American Medical Association report, Daniel Marchalik, MD, medical director of physician well-being at MedStar Health, and David Winter, MD, an internist at Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas, shared five tips and best practices for physicians to share with patients to get the most out of telehealth visits.

1. Remember that telehealth is still a relatively new tool, and it will take time to work through some of its minor issues.

2. Just the same as an in-person visit, make sure patients know to come prepared with questions or topics to discuss during a virtual visit.

3. Encourage patients to have a family member present during the visit, if they are comfortable. Having someone else on the call can help with getting video of conditions such as a rash in a hard-to-reach place.

4. Recognize when telehealth may not be the best option, such as for visits requiring a physical exam for the physician to make a diagnosis.

5. When possible, choose video communication so the physician can discern whether they are making sense to the patient during the call by reading their facial expressions and body language.


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