You’ve heard of telemedicine before. Long before the COVID-19 Pandemic you’ve heard of doctors and other health care professionals who were already seeing their patients via virtual visits on video calls. Some of these health care professionals were basically seeing some of their patients virtually as well as seeing other patients in person, while some of them had transitioned to practicing online completely. But ultimately it comes to the same thing. Practicing virtual medicine using video conferencing software.
Now the COVID-19 Pandemic rolled around and a lot of you are exploring your own options to practice telemedicine, seeing your patients via video call online. Because you hear the buzz. Virtual medicine is here to stay. Some of you may have already started setting up your virtual medicine clinics and practices while others are still dipping their toes in the water. Regardless, we’ve come to you with a few tips to make your transition into telemedicine via video chat a little bit smoother. Here’s a little of what you need to know about video chatting with your patients.
As a healthcare provider, whether you’re a doctor, a nurse, a physiotherapist or generally a healthcare professional who regularly sees patients, you get comfortable with a certain routine at your physical practice or office. Open wide, breathe in deep, point to where it hurts, move your arm gently to the side, etc. Depending on your patient, you have a developed protocol.
Now you’re starting work remotely for your virtual practice. Don’t panic. The good news is that a lot of those old routines translate. You just need to adjust them a little, and intersperse your old routines with video call related instructions. Center your elbow on the webcam, shine a brighter light on that bruise, unmute yourself so I can hear you.
While you adapt to the new video chatting patient care techniques, it might be useful to keep a list of things you had to say to your virtual patients during any given virtual medicine video call so you can use it later. Place the list near the device you use for telehealth video chats. That way you can sneak a quick look at it if you feel a little off balance. You can call it your video cheat sheet. Eventually, you’ll find ways to work these new things into your routine instructions and you’ll be giving the right instructions without needing to refer to the video cheat sheet.
It’s important to remember that your virtual examination room is only virtual to the patient. To you it’s a physical room which you’re using to reach others virtually. Of course there are differences as to what you would need in a physical examination room. You don’t need a screen for the patient, or an examination recliner or bed to lie patients down, nor do you need to slap a sphygmomanometer on anyone’s arm, but you still need a room you can work virtually out of.
Make sure that you test how your room is lit, and how that lighting appears on your screen. Try a few different experiments with the light sources in your room such as your lamps, curtains, or blinds. Set up your room to have mostly flat surfaces on the inside to avoid too much echoing. The less surfaces you have, the more ideal.
Some video call technology, like Banty Virtual Clinic, allows a certain level of noise cancellation. However it is generally more ideal to select a room with doors and windows you can close to good insulative effect, from an aural perspective. If where you live is unbelievably noisy, perhaps you should think about sourcing noise cancellation gadgets externally and making sure they’re functioning about 10 minutes before your telemedicine video conference call.
Just because you’re using technology to deliver telemedicine visits to your patients remotely via video call, it doesn’t mean your virtual appointments should be impersonal. Virtual visits with a doctor are the same as in person visits. It’s important for the patient to connect with you and trust you so that communication between you is better. This topic is covered in more detail in another blog post from the patient interest perspective, but it bears mentioning regarding the best interests of your virtual clinic as well.
Starting the video call with a few familiar signs would be helpful. For example, you don’t need a stethoscope around your neck for actual usage but it would be useful to show the patients something they’re familiar with. A prop, if you will, but a necessary one. It might even feel more familiar to your patient if your practice’s usual receptionist or medical assistant started video conferencing with the patient then passed the video call off to you.
Don’t worry. You’re already ready for this. You’re embracing the future of healthcare practice and that’s a good thing. To make a good thing even better, you should choose the best medical video conferencing solution possible. Try Banty Virtual Clinic for a free trial period.