Are You Tele-Ready? Making the Most of Telemedicine Visits
Connecting with our children’s providers remotely has become part of life. This fact sheet will get you ready for your next video or phone visit and make the most of your time with your child’s provider.
What is Telemedicine?
While telemedicine and telehealth are often used interchangeably, telemedicine is focused on the clinical part of care, like a video appointment with your child’s medical providers or a virtual therapy session. Telehealth relates more broadly to remote or virtual care and health-related learning.
BEFORE THE APPOINTMENT
Gather Your Information
Medications: Have the containers or a list of what your child’s medicines and note if you need refills.
Numbers: The provider may ask for your child’s weight, temperature or other measures of health, so have this information at your fingertips.
Questions: Write down and prioritize your concerns and a list of questions you want to get answered.
Plan of Care: Be ready to share updates from other providers or specialists, relevant information about school or community supports and changes in your child’s care plan.
Set up for Success
Location: Choose a place in your home where you can sit comfortably and set your phone, laptop or tablet on a stable surface with reliable Internet access. Make sure,
- there’s enough light,
- no glare, and
- there isn’t a window behind you.
Noise Level: Find a quiet space and let other family members know that you will be on a video or phone call with your child’s provider. Also, put your pet in another room so it won’t disrupt the appointment.
Power: Make sure your device is charged or plugged into an electrical outlet.
Download Apps & Have Your Login and Password: Try the telemedicine platform or app before the appointment and have the instructions that your provider’s office emailed to you close by.
Telephone Numbers: Make sure you have your provider or clinic’s phone number available in case you run into technical issues.
Ask for Accommodations: If you need things like a translator or closed captioning, request this before the visit—ideally when you make the appointment or several weeks in advance.
Timing Your Appointment: If possible don’t schedule appointments at mealtimes, naptimes or at the end of a long day.
Prepare Your Child
Let your child know what to expect by using roleplay or social stories to explain the appointment. If possible, have a family member on standby to help if your child needs a break. And, make sure your child has a snack, has used the restroom, is in a comfortable place, and has toys and books close by.
Dress your child in clothing that is loose and can be removed easily in case a virtual exam is needed. And, let your child know if you think the provider may ask to see an area of their body.
Just Before Your Appointment
Test: Make sure the camera, microphone and Internet are all working.
Close Other Apps: To keep your connection strong, close the other apps on the device that you’ll be using for the appointment.
Have a Pen and Paper: You may want to take notes.
Position the Camera: Angle the cameral to let the doctor see both you and your child clearly.
DURING THE APPOINTMENT
Be Patient: Like an in-person medical visit, you may have to wait a few minutes for the provider to join the video.
Be Ready: You may be asked to hold the camera close to your child or take a photo of an area of their body.
Step Away: If you have a teen, you may need to briefly leave the room and let the provider talk with your child alone.
Before Your Appointment Ends
Pause: Check your list of concerns and questions. Make sure you covered everything.
Summarize Treatment Plans: Make sure your provider briefly reviews the treatment plan and next steps for your child.
Your Next Steps: Read back to the provider what you will do after the visit. Will you need to make a follow-up appointment or will the clinic call you? And, will the provider call in refills or a new prescription to your preferred pharmacy?
AFTER THE APPOINTMENT
Advocate for What is Best
Contact the Provider’s Office: Were you able to get what you needed, have your questions and concerns addressed during the telemedicine visit? If not, call or email to follow-up.
Let the Provider Know Your Preference: Tell your provider if you want to continue with virtual visits or if an in-person visit is better for you and your child. Be sure you consider things like exposing your child to viruses, bad weather making driving difficult, and changing schedules at home, school and therapy.
Still Have Questions? Need Help Finding Services for Your Child?
- Regional Centers for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs dhs.wisconsin.gov/cyshcn/index.htm
- Well Badger Health Resource Center wellbadger.org or call 800.642.7837