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.
For most patients, they’ve spent the entirety of their lives visiting a brick-and-mortar clinic in order to see their doctor. They’ve gotten used to the routine of travelling to and from the appointment; sitting in a crowded waiting room; and having in-person interactions with healthcare professionals.
When these individuals are presented with the option of an online doctor’s appointment, a faction of patients will be excited about trying something new. Others, though, will be hesitant or downright refuse to give virtual medicine a try. The latter can happen due to a number of reasons.
Firstly, there is the fear of change. Secondly, there is a distrust about how secure an online doctor visit is. Thirdly, some patients will not have the foggiest of ideas in terms of how to use a virtual medicine solution and not feel comfortable learning about such technology.
For the sake of this article, let’s focus on those intimidated and/or confused by telemedicine technology. While their hesitations are understandable, video call appointments with doctors are very easy to participate in. However, in order for patients to realize this, it is up to doctors and their clinical staff to help make them better understand virtual medicine.
Here is what to do when a patient struggles to understand virtual medicine:
Have a Heart-to-Heart
Sometimes the easiest way to get a patient involved in a video conference with their doctor is to have a heart-to-heart conversation with them. This opportunity will create a healthy dialogue in which a patient can express their concerns and seek a better telehealth understanding from their physician.
Now, sometimes these conversations will require the doctor to explain many of the technical elements of their video call solution in a way the patient can grasp. Ultimately, they want to know the step-by-step process of how to get on a call; what the video conference will look and feel like; as well as if they can trust that their information will not leak online.
By-and-large, patients trust their doctors. Thus, these conversations – if done right – can help a patient develop a clearer picture of what virtual medicine is all about.
Go Above and Beyond
We get it. Healthcare professionals are very busy professionals. However, if virtual medicine is of great importance to a clinic, it should consider occasionally walking patients through a video call experience.
By this, we mean showing someone the clinic’s virtual medicine solution when in the building for a medical appointment. A lot of people are visual learners and need to be physically shown what to do.
If a person can see what needs to be clicked to start a call; what permissions need to be granted; and what health information needs to be on-hand, this will help a patient figure out how to see a doctor online.
Make Help Resources Widely Available
To ensure patients have the chance to get wholly informed about how to have a live video chat online with their doctor, consider having a number of help resources available.
In the clinic itself, instructional posters can be displayed on the walls. What’s more, flyers and brochures can be housed in the waiting room for patients to read ahead of their appointment, or once they get home.
Another way to go is by creating a virtual medicine FAQ section on the clinic’s official website, or to provide tutorials via the medical office’s social media platforms.
Having such resources available will allow patients to learn about online medicine at their own pace, as opposed to feeling rushed into changing how they visit with their doctor.