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.
During any consultation you have with a patient, one of the goals should always be to maintain their focus so that they walk away from their appointment understanding all that was discussed.
Over the years, you have developed your own ways to ensure this happens during in-person appointments. However, now that virtual medicine solutions are widely available and proven to be effective tools for patient treatment, it’s time to learn how to keep their attention during a video call.
While there are a ton of tactics that can be employed to help keep a patient in the zone during conversations with them, here are a handful of methods worth trying out first:
Don’t Make Patients Wait Around Too Long
As a doctor, you are all too aware that appointments can and will start late. This happens for a multitude of reasons, many of which are out of your control. That said, you also know how some patients can get bothered about this and subsequently focus more on your tardiness than the nature of their appointment.
With that in mind, always do your best to be on time for your online doctor’s appointments. By getting to your patient on-the-dot of their appointment time, or relatively close to it, they’ll still be happy to see you and ready to tackle whatever is to be discussed/checked out during the call.
The longer a patient waits, the better the chance they go into an appointment more flustered than they should be.
Get to the Point
Some doctors have the tendency to over-explain to a patient what might be going on with them. This can involve complex terminology, confusing treatment details, not to mention talk of various prescription options, and possible side effects.
While this information is important to disclose to patients, you need to do it in a way that keeps them focused on what you are saying. During this type of online doctor visit, pay attention to how a patient is reacting to what’s being presented to them.
If blank stares of confusion are greeting you, or if the patient begins looking away from their camera a lot, odds are what you are saying is too complicated for them to comprehend.
At this juncture, take a step back, slow down, and simplify everything as best as you can. Also, make sure patients know questions are welcomed and encouraged.
Further to that point, see that your patients are active participants in the virtual medicine appointments you have with them.
This means not dominating the conversation of the online medicine appointment and leaving space in the session for the patient to be heard. When a patient feels like they will not be able to get a word in edgewise, chances are their mind will wander a bit.
As a physician, you do not want this to happen. You need these patients to vocalize any questions or concerns they have during their video conference so that everyone participating in the call leaves it on the same page.
Be Technologically Sound
There will be instances when some of your patients will be new to the online doctor visit experience. Even if they know how to see a doctor online, that doesn’t mean they will know the ins and outs of the technology.
As such, you should be able to help a patient quickly troubleshoot any audio, video, or Internet issues which may prevent them from having a quality virtual medicine appointment. What’s more, you should be prepared to help a patient successfully navigate the telehealth solution your clinic is using.
Beyond that, be sure the technology on your end is where it needs to be as well. Do regular audio, video, and Internet checks as a way to avoid embarrassing virtual medicine tech glitches.
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