Banty Co-Founder and Medical Director, Dr. Richard Tytus, provided the subject matter and direction for this article. The author would like to thank Adam Grant for his editorial assistance in writing the article. Dr. Richard Tytus takes responsibility for the content of the article.
As important as it is to know what you should do during your telemedicine appointments, it’s equally – if not more – important to know what you shouldn’t do.
Poor online medicine etiquette could make certain patients wonder if the virtual visit forum is right for them, or if they ultimately feel more comfortable sticking with in-person appointments.
To help you keep patients logging on for the virtual medicine services you are offering, avoid the following:
Having an Awful Understanding of the Technology
Simply put, you should not offer a broad suite of telemedicine services to patients if unsure of how to launch and participate in a virtual visit.
Since you are the one providing this remote appointment opportunity, you need to be the one with the clearest understanding of the technology. When patients join you for an online doctor’s appointment, they expect an informative session in which their health matters are explored. They don’t want to spend their time watching you try to navigate the telemedicine solution being used.
Not Calling from a Private Room
Legitimate online medicine solutions like Banty Medical focus a lot on online security. For medical appointments to happen online in a stress-free manner, all involved need to know that the contents of the video call will remain private.
As such, if you are on a call with a patient using either a computer, tablet, or smartphone, see that you are in a private space with no one around. The patient will feel much comfortable disclosing medical matters if they know that no one else is listening in.
Avoiding Eye Contact
Although our natural instinct is to look at someone’s face when they’re speaking with you, that doesn’t really work during a video call. Rather, you must focus on the lens of whichever camera you are using for online doctor’s appointments.
Unless reading back results or taking notes, patients want to see that you are focused on them and engaged in the appointment at hand. Avoiding eye contact all together will make the appointment experience feel far less cordial than it should.
No Letting Patients Speak
Even if you are providing the patient with all of the information they need, there will still be questions in which these individuals want to ask.
To see that patients are heard, make time during the live video chat online for them to relay their curiosities and/or concerns. Pause when possible, and encourage them to join in on the conversation.
Consistently Being Late
By this point, most patients already know there’s a chance you will be late for the start of their appointment. They understand you get busy and sometimes a schedule that’s neat in theory can be easily disrupted.
However, one way to see that your video calls are beginning when they’re supposed to is to schedule them properly. Leave a little wiggle room between calls in case some of them run long. By-and-large, patients will generally have a hard time understanding how you can be consistently late for their appointment if all you are doing is meeting with patients online.
Offering Patients a Poor Audio and Video Experience
When a patient knows how to see a doctor online, they anticipate that you will have the proper equipment to ensure you are properly seen and heard.
Most devices (i.e., computer, tablet, smartphone) have built-in microphones and cameras that are good enough to handle telehealth video conferences. However, if you are not confident in them, investments can always be made on external webcams, microphones, and headsets. Just plug any one of these items into your device of choice and you’re good to go.
Also, see that the room you are in is bright and quiet. If your room isn’t, the audio-video gear will only help you so much.
Not Having a Great Internet Signal
Chances are the Internet connectivity in your medical clinic will be strong enough to make it through virtual visits with patients. However, if you are conducting appointments from a home office or any other location that is not your clinic, check – and double check – your signal strength.
Few things would be more frustrating for you and the patient than a weak Internet signal ending a video call prematurely.