How to Effectively Communicate with Patients During An Online Doctor’s Appointment

Posted By
Adam Grant

Choosing to welcome a telemedicine solution like Banty Virtual Clinic to your practice will certainly give your clinic more flexibility in terms of how it conducts appointments. What’s more, it’ll provide you with an easy and secure way to openly discuss various medical matters with patients in a virtual capacity. 

To see that these video calls prove themselves to be useful and beneficial to patients, those practicing telehealth services need to understand how to effectively communicate with them during an online doctor’s appointment.

Of course, a virtual health environment will feel different at first for all involved. That said, the more video conferences you have with patients, the better you will become at communicating with them as naturally as you would if they were visiting you in-person.

Be in a Quiet, Distraction-free Room

Whether you conduct telemedicine virtual visits from the clinic, or a home office, always ensure the space is quiet and distraction-free.

Over the years, patients have become accustomed to receiving your undivided attention while visiting your clinic. As such, they will expect a similar experience when participating in a video call with you. If they don’t get it, they could become skeptical about whether or not having online doctor’s appointments is of interest to them moving forward.

From a physician perspective, working within a private space will allow you to stay 100% focused on the conversation at hand, and successfully manage each step of the appointment in a timely, efficient fashion.

Break the Ice Early

Before getting into the nitty gritty of a telemedicine appointment, break the ice early and have a friendly conversation with the patient. You can ask how their home and/or work life is going, or simply chat about the weather, an interesting current event, or how their favourite football team is doing.

A lot of patients are stressed out when attending a doctor’s appointment. Just because you are conducting virtual doctor visits, that doesn’t mean you have to chop down the human element. By starting a session with some friendly banter, patients will be able to drop their guard faster and feel more comfortable talking about the nature of their visit.

Make Eye Contact

During a video call, it is tempting to want to stare at your screen when the patient comes online. However, this technique will in fact eliminate the concept of making eye contact with a patient. 

When not reviewing a chart, test results, or taking notes, you need to be looking at the camera lens of whichever device (i.e., computer, smartphone, tablet) you are using for appointments. While it may seem strange at first, taking this approach will put your patients at ease, knowing you are focusing intently on what they have to say.

While some patients may not know how to properly make great on-camera eye contact after they book a doctor’s appointment online, stick with the technique discussed here. It will serve you well in the long run.

Deliver Pertinent Diagnoses, Opinions, etc., in a Straightforward, yet Friendly Manner 

Just like you would during an in-person visit, don’t get cute when delivering pertinent diagnoses, opinions, and information to a patient.

Since the goal of each live video chat online with a patient is to make them comfortable with the virtual medicine environment, you shouldn’t change how you approach talking about significant matters.

Sure, you still want to be friendly enough to have patients embrace what they’re being told. But, for the sake of keeping your online telemedicine appointment schedule intact, you also want to get to the point as quickly as possible.

When presenting a patient with challenging details, have compassion and understanding. If a patient gets emotional, give them a moment to collect themselves, before offering the best reassurances you can.

Banty Virtual Clinic is an easy and secure telemedicine solution for medical practices interested in introducing virtual health services to patients. Tap here to learn more about Banty Virtual Clinic's offerings.

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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.