Telehealth: tips to improve your 'webside manner'

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Handy ways to help keep patients at the centre of virtual visits.

COVID-19 has required health professionals to adapt quickly in the way that they provide health care in Australia. Regardless of whether you have used telehealth before, it is now being used and offered at a much larger scale.

A positive patient experience face-to-face is different from one on-screen via telehealth. The Advisory Board has compiled some tips to help keep patients at the centre of virtual visits, before, during and after appointments.

Before the visit, do you…

  • review the patients’ medical history, symptoms or concerns before the visit?
  • notify the patient if you are running behind?
  • consider leaving a buffer to account for technical difficulties or patient questions about the platform?

During the visit, do you…

  • mute your computer while the patient is speaking and typing your notes?
  • tell the patient that you need to turn away from the camera to take notes or review information?
  • look directly into your webcam to make eye contact with the patient?

After the visit, do you…

  • outline the next steps the patient needs to take such as scheduling a follow-up appointment?
  • Send the patient a follow-up note recapping the key messages from the visit?
  • ask the patient for feedback about their virtual visit?

For further tips, please click here.

Share your experiences with telehealth!

COORDINARE is currently conducting a short online survey to understand people's experiences of telehealth in the time of COVID-19. If you or someone you know has used telehealth services recently, we invite you to complete and / or share this survey. It is open to everyone, including health professionals who have used telehealth services as a consumer.

In addition to the survey, COORDINARE has a team of community interviewers learning more about patients’ experiences of telehealth: what’s worked, what hasn’t and how health care providers might tweak their approach for a better patient experience. Stay tuned for these results to be shared in the coming weeks.