Create an Outstanding Virtual Medical Home on a Shoestring Budget

Virtual Medical Home

Preparing for your virtual appointment will give you the ability to think things through more thoroughly in an online environment, better evaluate scenarios while receiving global care on demand. In this article, Patient Better helps you develop a formula for synchronous communication. After reading this article, you and your family will have an in-depth understanding of what it takes to create and what you can expect from a patient-centered medical environment that embraces remote health. Which, by the way, is easier than you think.

 

Keep Records

The key component to any kind of on-demand advanced medical appointment is proper record management. As discussed, without proper record management, you are putting yourself at greater risk of losing vital information. Proper record management protects documents and safeguards your health from mistreatment in case of an emergency. Your goal is to create identical in-person and virtual medical office appointments and organize through record management. Research shows that if you manage remote care correctly you can reduce in-person appointments by 62% while still receiving the best care in the world.

Your Digital Records

Your virtual health assistant is a key player for you to organize and communicate synchronous and asynchronously with physicians, caregivers, and other family members about your health. Your virtual health assistant is a single informational hub that stores records, allowing other care team members to access important updates and documents in both real-time and asynchronous communication. Among the many simplified, patient safety friendly benefits, you will have the ability to transfer protected information that falls under HIPAA compliant guidelines. Also, your digital health management account improves your experience of organizing and making remote healthcare easier.

Your Hard Copy Records

Likewise, your Patient Better Self-Health Manager is a hard copy for in-person medical office visits that helps in places and situations where online access is not always available. Your Self-Health Manager is your storage place to help you throughout both your remote and face-to-face sessions. Turn your Self-Health Manager into a chronological guide of your health journey to help walk you through each appointment or to regroup with other at-home caregivers. Or in cases of emergency, FEMA, Red Cross, or other organizers to get you the help you need quickly.

 

Set the Scene

The online appointment should be conducted in a quiet, private place away from children, pets, and other distractions. Make sure you are ready ten to fifteen minutes prior to the appointment. You’ll likely talk to an assistant for a pre-assessment, and then be connected to the physician for the professional evaluation. Most appointments last about 20 to 30 minutes. Ensure that the phone or computer’s battery is charged and have your health management tools in front of you. Have a pen and paper handy. Gather all related medical equipment such as the thermometer, inhaler, and other devices and equipment if appropriate. If you use an app or electronic device like a peak flow meter to track symptoms daily, have it close at hand. It turns out that many telemedicine appointments fail because of a simple reason such as battery failure or distractions like family or children at play.

Make sure you are in an area with good cellphone reception. If you’re using FaceTime, Skype, or Hangouts, or any other application with video, give it a try before the visit starts. Make a dummy call to a friend or relative to check the quality. That way, you can troubleshoot and remove any obstacles.

***The Office for Civil Rights, the organization that enforces HIPAA, has stated that telemedicine should not be conducted through Facebook live, TikTok, or other public communication services***

 

Plan your approach

Think about what you want to accomplish during the visit. Your goal could be to understand your medications or treatment options, renew a prescription, get training about a specific medical condition, or a Q and A session to better understand symptoms and side effects. You could have multiple goals during your office visit as well, and in those cases, try to prioritize what’s most important for you during the encounter.

Just like an in-person visit, telemedicine appointments will have you talk with a nurse or medical assistant for a pre-assessment before connecting you to the physician. Keep all information in the Self-Health Manager.

The Equipment

The five essential tools that you will need to participate in a successful virtual appointment:

  1. A laptop computer or smartphone– that has two-way video conferencing capabilities along with a video camera – and microphone to up your health communication accuracy.
  2. A thermometer– to check your temperature. A thermometer will inform you if you are feverish or not. It is advisable that you check your temperature orally if you are experiencing body aches or chills. For babies who cannot keep the thermometer in their mouths or there is the risk of them breaking the thermometer with their teeth, check rectally. Forehead and armpit readings tend to be inaccurate and should be completely avoided. A fever is defined as 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above.
  3. A blood pressure monitor– A blood pressure cuff can help you ensure any medication you take for hypertension is doing the job accurately. Your blood pressure objective relies upon your age and medical conditions, so ensure you ask your primary care physician what number you need to focus on.
  4. A digital camera– to take a picture, and if your appointment is a couple of days away, you may want to take multiple pictures. Your camera can be found in your smartphone. Remember to put the date on each one and store them in your virtual health assistant (Google Drive).
  5. A scale– to verify your weight. You will be able to assist the doctor in detecting your weight at the same time every day and keeping a record. This is especially true if you suffer from a condition like heart failure that causes you to retain fluid in your body.

Other devices– that may be pertinent to your condition. This could be a glucometer to help people with diabetes keep tabs on their blood sugar levels. If you’ve been told to use one, track your values so you can discuss those with your doctor during your virtual visit just like you would in your in-person appointment.

 

Final Thoughts

Once the virtual visit is over, providers may send their patients an email regarding patient assessments and instructions. If you are uncertain of this service, make sure that you request an email follow-up. That way it is easier to take notes and then compare them with the email (and share with your home care team) and review at later times if necessary.

For further information of how you can achieve an information driven appointment that will ensure a billable appointment please read The Remote Companion for Self-Health Management.

Paperwork

  • Telemedicine SOAP Note (By Patient Better)
  • Latest medical note from the previous visit
  • List of Medications
  • Insurance ID
  • Driver’s License
  • Patient Better Forms

Communicators

  • Internet connection
  • Email
  • Communication system (Clinic’s portal, Facetime or Zoom)
  • Have your Google health account and Gmail address available and your portal connected to your provider’s health system

About Patient Better

Patient Better is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization developed to help offset some of the new challenges facing patients and their family-member caregivers in navigating throughout the healthcare industry. Our mission is to provide affordable health management knowledge and equip people with unique, lifelong skills to independently manage care efficiently and effectively.

If you want to learn more about how you can become an expert health advocate (for in-person and virtual medical appointments) visit patientbetter.com.

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