You can book virtual appointments with your doctor or specialist—all you need is access to the internet and a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Telehealth visits are a way to connect with your doctor online. Rather than going into the office for an appointment, you can have a virtual appointment with a phone or video call. Without leaving the comfort of your home, you can check in with your doctor, go over test results, have a follow-up appointment, or even discuss medication management for chronic health conditions like diabetes.
Here’s what you should do before your first telehealth appointment.
Create an Account
Are you ready to learn how to use telehealth? Call your doctor’s office to book your first appointment. After you’ve booked the telehealth visit, they will send you an email with instructions for how to access your appointment.
To access virtual telehealth, you may need to create an account on your doctor’s telehealth site or download an app on your smartphone. Make sure you do these steps a day or two before your appointment. If you have trouble setting up an account, you can call your doctor’s office for help.
Check Your Wi-Fi Connection
Telehealth visits require a stable internet connection. You’ll need to use a smartphone, tablet, or computer that can connect to the internet. Make sure you have a stable Wi-Fi connection and that you are connected to it before booking a virtual appointment with your healthcare provider. If you do not have access to the internet, check with your local library, where you may be able to book a private room where were your conversation won’t be overheard by others and connect to the internet for free.
Test Your Device’s Camera and Microphone
Virtual telehealth visits often include video. A video call is the best way to recreate that in-person feeling. You’ll be able to see your doctor’s face, and they will be able to see you as well. Most smartphones, tablets, and computers have a built-in camera. Check your devices to see if they have a camera, and use the device with the best camera quality.
Are you planning to use your phone for the visit? Check your microphone and camera, and set the camera to selfie mode. If you’re using your computer, test the camera and microphone, and make sure your volume is turned up.
The best way to test your equipment is to video call a friend or family member. You can have a short conversation to get the hang of video calling, see yourself on screen, and make sure everything is working properly.
Set Up Your Space
Telehealth services are completely confidential, so everything you share with your doctor is private. But since you're not meeting at the doctor's office, you will need to do your part to keep your information safe.
If you’re talking to your doctor from home, set up in a private place where your conversation won’t be overheard by others in your home. Turn off background music, turn off the TV, and close the window if it’s noisy outside. Set yourself up for success in a quiet and private space.
Have Your Device Ready
Whether you plan to use your smartphone or computer, have your device turned on and charged. You may want to have your charger on hand or plug in your device so you won’t run out of power.
Be sure to put your smartphone or computer on a flat, sturdy surface so that you can have your hands free during the call. You may want to look at your notes or go through your papers during the call.
Log In Early
When you meet your doctor in person, you show up a few minutes early. The same applies to telehealth visits. About 10 or 15 minutes before your appointment, log in to the website or app. If you have any issues, call your doctor’s office before the appointment.
If your doctor doesn’t connect with you right on time, be patient. They are probably talking with another patient, and they’ll connect with you as soon as they can.
Have All Your Health Information Ready
With any doctor’s appointment, whether in person or online, having all your information on hand is important. During your call you should have access to:
- Information about your main health concerns
- Information about your health history or your family’s medical history
- A list of your prescription medications and supplements
- The name of your primary care provider
- Your pharmacy information
- Your health insurance card
Write Down Any Questions Ahead of Time
It can be hard to remember all your questions during a telehealth visit. Write down any questions you have to make sure you ask all the important questions during the virtual visit.
Plan for a Follow-Up
Depending on the reason for your visit, your doctor may want to book a follow-up appointment. This could be in person or online. They may also ask if they can follow up with you via email or send you a secure chat in your telehealth account. Let the doctor know what kind of follow-up you prefer.
Does Clover Health Pay for Telehealth Visits?
Many Medicare plans, including Clover Health, now offer coverage for telehealth visits, oftentimes at the same cost as in-person visits. Clover Health Medicare Advantage plans cover telehealth visits with all in-network providers.
If you’re a Clover Health member, you can learn about your plan’s telehealth benefits in your Evidence of Coverage, or call our Member Services team at 1-888-778-1478 to find out more. If you have any questions about telehealth visits or would like to schedule one, contact your primary care provider.
Published on 4/6/22
Photo credit: iStock