With the world focused on the coronavirus, you still have other medical conditions you are dealing with.
Even though you’re allowed to see a doctor under stay-at-home orders, you’re concerned about going out. You’re worried you might be exposed to other sick patients.
Your doctor understands your concerns as well. And they may be using telemedicine platforms like Direct Health so they can keep taking care of you.
To make your virtual visit go more smoothly, here are some tips to get ready.
Answer these questions about your symptoms
When you see your doctor in person or virtually, there are several pieces of information they need to understand your condition.
By gathering your thoughts and answering these questions ahead of time, you’ll help your doctor figure out how they can help you more quickly.
For new problems, the questions might be slightly different than for medical conditions you’ve been dealing with for a while, so let’s start with those:
What is the main reason you need to see your doctor? By answering this question, you’ll help your doctor focus on what is bothering you.
How long has this problem been going on? If this is a new medical issue for you, your doctor needs to know how long you’ve been dealing with it. Or maybe you’ve had this problem before and you’ve been able to deal with it on your own, but this time you need some help from your doctor.
How much is this problem bothering you? Other related questions might include:
- Is this problem making it difficult for you to perform your usual activities? If so, how does it affect them?
- Does it keep you up at night?
- If you are having pain, how bad is it? Is it constant, or does it come and go?
Is there a specific place on your body that you are having this problem? If so, where? You may also want to describe if this problem is changing location. For instance, if you have pain, does it move around? Or if you have a rash, is it in one place or is it spreading?
Does anything make this problem better or worse? For instance, you might feel worse after eating. Or maybe you feel better after lying down. These are clues that may help your doctor figure out your underlying condition.
Have you tried anything to take care of this problem? Have you taken any medications for this problem? If so, which ones and how much? Did they help?
Is the problem getting better, worse, or staying the same? This can help your doctor decide what needs to be done next, what types of treatments you may need, and how quickly you may need these treatments.
Are you noticing any other symptoms that occur along with the main symptom? Some types of illnesses and conditions have a pattern or group of symptoms. Letting your doctor know about these can help your doctor figure out what is going on.
What do you think the problem is and/or what are you worried it might be? Letting your doctor know about your concerns can help your doctor figure out what is going on. Or they can explain to you why there might be something else to consider.
Why do you need to see your doctor about your condition today? Let your doctor know what changed, what is new, or what is different about your condition. Is there something in particular that caused you to decide to see your doctor today?
Even though these questions focus on new onset problems, some of these questions may still apply to longer term or chronic conditions. The main question your doctor will ask in this case is: Have you had any change in your condition since your last visit?
Finally, your doctor may ask you some other questions related to past medical conditions, especially if this is your first visit with them. So make a list of major medical problems you’ve had before, along with surgeries or procedures you’ve had. And your doctor may ask about other things, including whether you smoke or how much alcohol you drink.
Gather all your medications
If you have a virtual visit with your doctor from your home, bring all of your medications to one location before your video call with your doctor.
Or if you aren’t at home, make a list of the medications you are currently taking so you can answer questions your doctor may have about them.
Be sure to include any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and supplements you are taking. This can help your doctor understand how you’re treated for your existing conditions and see if any drug interactions or reactions may contribute to your current symptoms.
Make a list of your own questions
We all hate it when we leave the doctor’s office and think, “Oh, I wish I had asked about…”
Think about the questions you want answered during your virtual visit with your doctor. If you need help thinking of questions, the Cleveland Clinic has a list of questions for patients to ask their doctors.
Now You are Ready for Your Virtual Visit with Direct Health
By taking a few minutes to get ready for your virtual visit with Direct Health, you’ll be confident you can help your doctor understand your condition. And having this information will make it easier for your doctor to decide if they need to order tests or how they can treat you.
Ready to get started? Download Direct Health for patients and connect with a doctor today.
About the Author
Stephanie Kreml, MD is a former urgent care doctor and advises digital health and life science companies. Dr. Kreml also served as Chief Medical Officer for Accordion Health where she worked alongside data scientists to develop machine learning-based tools to enable healthcare organizations more effectively manage their patient populations.
She is an Advisory Panel Member for Dell Medical School’s Texas Health Catalyst program, enabling researchers to translate technologies into commercial healthcare applications. Prior to medical school, she held engineering positions with Motorola and Texas Instruments. Dr. Kreml received her Doctor of Medicine from Baylor College of Medicine and her Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.
About Direct Health
Direct Health is working to change how healthcare is delivered by recreating the doctor-patient relationship. With the secure messaging app, physicians and patients have the ability to connect via text, call, or video, from anywhere and on their schedule. This enables patients to chat with their doctor, vet, or therapist at any time, and clinicians to extend care and get paid without extra overhead or burdensome schedules. With over 20,000 doctors across the platform, Direct Health is leading the way in the future of healthcare. For more information, visit http://www.directhealth.us.
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