After a long period of struggling with various health issues, you’ve finally decided to book a telehealth consultation online. You hate going to the doctor’s, and hospitals fill you with dread and smell funny. You decided to give telehealth a try because you’ve heard from others that it can really help people like you.
If this is you right now, congratulations on taking steps to address your healthcare needs and concerns. Telehealth should have a bright future ahead of it, but it’s very important that people using it now can be sure to get the most out of the experience, otherwise we may start to lose faith in this very promising area of healthcare that could help countless people all over the country, and around the world.
If you’re just starting your journey in telehealth, then here are some important points to help you get the most out of it:
1. Create a Quiet, Comfortable Space for Your Session
Perhaps the most attractive thing about telehealth is that you can talk to a medical professional from the comfort of your own home. That means you’re in familiar surroundings at all times, and you don’t have to go out in public or fear being seen by your neighbours, colleagues or friends. To get the most out of your session, however, it is still very important that you choose your space within your home very carefully.
Setting up in the kitchen or on the dining room table might seem obvious, or in the study, perhaps. However, can you be sure that you won’t be interrupted in either of those spaces? Can you be sure that you’ll have a steady Internet connection (see below)? Are there open windows through which outside noise could disturb you? Find the quietest, most comfortable spot in which you can be assured of a productive and uninterrupted session.
2. Test Your Connection, Camera and Microphone
One of the problems that threatens to derail the potential of telehealth for some is the likelihood of technical issues to arise during any session. If your Internet connection is weak, it can create lag that makes conversing with your specialist tough. Equally, poor quality sound can make listening to your specialist very unpleasant, or possibly difficult if the sound is too low or staticky. Even worse, if there’s a camera problem, it could be that you can see the specialist but they can’t see you, or vice versa. Test all this equipment to make sure it’s working properly before you start.
3. Don’t Be Defensive
Even when they resolve to start telehealth sessions, some can become very defensive during them, refusing to answer questions, or asking the specialist why they’re asking something instead of just answering the questions. Another common issue when mental health is the issue being discussed is people thinking that the specialist is trying to trick them. They may think that simple questions are psychoanalytical trick questions, for instance, or think that they’re being scored on their responses. It’s important to shed this mindset as much as possible.
4. Keep Notes or a Journal
One very useful tip that experienced telehealth patients have found is that keeping notes on each session, as well as a journal on the days in between sessions helps them to feel better prepared for sessions, as well as better able to reflect on the things talked about during a mental health session.
5. Be Honest
The best results in telehealth can only come to you when you learn to open up and be honest and frank with your telehealth specialist. If you embellish the truth, conceal important things, or flat-out tell lies, then nothing good can really come of it. The healthcare professional hears your words in good faith, and their ability to do their job depends on you delivering accurate statements of fact.