Here are a few things to think about as you develop your “webside manner” and smooth the transition to telehealth for your patients.
- Have the camera at eye level.
- Look at the camera on the computer as much as possible during the visit. (Most people have a tendency to focus on the eyes of the person on the screen instead of the camera lens.)
- Active listening skills are even more important over telephone or video visits. Paraphrase and repeat what you heard back to the patient with frequency.
- Refrain from using the computer for other tasks during the visit. If computer use is necessary, let the patient know why you are looking away.
- At the end of the call, provide a summary of key points to your patient, including next steps or the treatment plan, and leave time for questions.
To learn more about implementing telehealth, the Massachusetts Medical Society offers answers to Frequently Asked Questions for practices new to telehealth, and the American Medical Association has a Quick Guide to Telemedicine in Practice.