How Doctors Can Improve Their Virtual Appointment Techniques

Posted By
Adam Grant

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.

Even though you have spent years upon years meeting with large amounts of patients on a daily basis, we can’t fault you for being a little concerned about how you will come across when on-camera. 

Firstly, you are not used to it. Secondly, you may feel a little insecure about if a proper virtual appointment experience is one that you are capable of delivering. Guess what? You will get used to it and the online doctor’s appointments you conduct will only get better over time.

However, this will not happen overnight or by accident. Becoming a master virtual medicine appointment host requires a willingness to learn, seek feedback, and figure out how to apply what you’ve picked up to your doctor-patient video calls.

To get started, here are a handful of tips that should help you improve your virtual appointment techniques:

Do Not Overthink the Telemedicine Experience/Format

When learning something new, one common mistake many of us make is to overthink it. Instead of viewing telemedicine as a secure and easy way to have a live video chat online with a patient, some doctors will immediately dream up complications that negatively impact how they adapt to the technology.

If you instead take virtual medicine at face value – and the appropriate steps to learn the solution your clinic has chosen the work with – then you should be fine. What also would be helpful is to confer with any of your peers who have been booking online doctor visits and find out what they have done to be successful in a virtual environment.

Slowly Rollout Virtual Medicine Services

At the outset of your virtual medicine experience, it is recommended that you start slow. Identify a small group of patients who you have a wonderful rapport with and see if they’ll help you test drive your online doctor’s appointments.

Relay to these individuals that such appointments may not be flawless, as your clinic is still learning how to best use its telemedicine solution. Furthermore, communicate with them that their assistance here will help you roll the services out at the right time, thus minimizing the number of errors (technical or otherwise) during a call.

The risk you run by widely rolling out virtual medicine services too fast is opening up the possibility of exposing too many warts to too many patients at once. By going slow with a loyal, understanding subset of patients, you will be setting yourself up for better success with online medicine.

Ask for Feedback

Even once you have chosen to broadly offer virtual visit opportunities to patients, encourage them to provide feedback when possible. This can be done anonymously, or – if you have thick skin – ask them for a quick performance assessment during an appointment.

You can seek opinion on how easy or hard a patient is finding the telemedicine solution, whether your audio and video quality is up to par, or if there’s something else you can do to improve the experience.

While some uncomfortable perspectives may appear, hearing them and applying constructive criticism to how you see patients online will help you make necessary adjustments on the fly.

Take Notes and Evaluate Yourself

It is often said that a person is their own worst critic. Even though this often-true sentiment can lead to lots of negative feelings, it can also lead to a lot of personal evolution.

Either at the end of the day, or if you have time between appointments, take a few notes about how you think your virtual appointments are going. If you stumbled with the technology, acknowledge that. If a patient had trouble hearing or seeing you, try to figure out why. Lastly, if your patients’ attention drifted too often, think about how you can be more engaging.

Understanding your imperfections in the virtual medicine space is important, as these lessons will only help you improve over time.

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Adam Grant

Adam has been a professional, published writer for more than 20 years. He has experience writing about technology, business, music, news, as well as many topics in-between. When not banging away at the keyboard, Adam spins vinyl, obsesses over sports, and takes his dog on giant walks.