Telehealth has become increasingly popular in the last few years, and if trend research can teach us anything, it's that telehealth is here to stay. So whether you are living in a rural area, have limited transportation, or are socially distancing, telehealth (also known as telemedicine) is a convenient option.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth is a system which allows you to be treated by a doctor, physical therapist, or even psychiatric health services virtually. The best part is all you need is a reliable internet connection and a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Even though the services are remote, you still have a caring and reliable licensed healthcare professional on the other end of the line. That means you can receive quality care without needing to leave your home, sit in traffic, or wait for an appointment.
To get you started, here's a list of the top seven tips for a successful telehealth session:
1) Before your session, check your tech
It may sound basic, but this step is foundational to making telehealth a seamless and easy experience. Make sure your microphone is working, that your monitor is plugged in, and that your Wi-Fi connection is stable. Double-check that you have the most recent version of Zoom installed on your phone, computer, or tablet. Once you have this basic infrastructure in place, the telehealth world is wide open to you.
2) Be presentable
Even though you are at home, it's important to show up to your session in appropriate clothes for your meeting. Some things that help are clothes that make it easier to see you and show up well on a screen. For example, wearing clothing lighter in color and clothing that doesn't take up too much bandwidth with a busy pattern or too much color. Simple and sensible is the best route here. Try to avoid wearing all black, revealing clothing, or flip-flops, as you may be asked to do some exercises.
3) Wear comfortable, form-fitting clothing
Just like in an in-person appointment, your physical therapist will want to observe you to make the best assessment. That may mean wanting to see how your hips and legs move. We suggest wearing comfortable trousers or leggings that which can be rolled above the knee to make that possible.
4) Good lighting is key
The better we can see you, the better we can treat you. Make sure you have a window nearby or adequate overhead or side lighting. Always remember that more lighting is better, so if there is any question about whether or not the lighting in your space is adequate – turn on another lamp! We want to see your movements to provide you with the most accurate assessment.
5) Consider any outside help you may need
There are many special circumstances that require adequate preparation. For anyone who does not speak English well, properly communicating with the physical therapist will necessitate someone who can help serve as a translator. It's important to make sure well in advance that this person is available and will be present with you to make the experience a seamless one. Remember - since we're talking about telehealth, your translator doesn't have to be in the same room as you, but can connect to your session. Make sure to check with your therapist whether that is an option in advance.
6) Designate your space ahead of time
It's important to remember that you may need to move around during your telehealth session, just like you would in an in-person appointment. Designate a clutter-free space so you can walk and move. Remove any obstacles so you have a clear area to walk. Record yourself in your space beforehand so you can get an understanding of what your physical therapist will see, and if they can see your whole body, clearly.
7) Set up is important!
Your physical therapist may request you bring additional equipment. If so, make sure to have that equipment handy so that it is easily accessible in your space. In addition, keep a mat or towel nearby in case you need to lie down. And finally, maintaining a stable chair for support nearby will help.
Do you have any tried and true tips for a telehealth session? Let's hear them!