【Telemedicine】Telemedicine Guide: Your first journey to video consultation
Mr. Wong is a chronic patient who needs to have follow-up consultations regularly at hospital or clinic. However, he thinks it wastes a lot of time going out for medical treatments. He has been busy with work recently, so he wants to try telemedicine. He thinks it’s very convenient, and wants to get prepared for his first try.
Is telemedicine right for you?
- Can your electronic device support a video call? You’ll need a reliable and stable internet connection and gadgets like smartphone, tablet or laptop computer to download the video consultation app.
- Will it be a First or a Follow up consultation? If this is your first time to use video consultation, check with the professional first. Your physician will judge whether your condition is suitable to be assessed in a video call. If you need a physical examination, you probably need to attend the clinic in person.
- Check with your agent to see if your insurance will cover the cost.
Choose your location
- You need to stay in a position where you can have a stable internet connection for clear image and sound.
- Choose a quiet, well lit area where you won’t be interrupted or distracted.
- Sit in a comfortable seat, positioned upright and forwards so your doctor can see you clearly.
- If you want someone sitting in with you, please make sure there is room for them. It helps the doctor if they can be seen too. Their reactions and comments give useful hints.
Choose your device
- A desktop, laptop computer, android tablet, iPad or Iphone are devices which you can use for telemedicine.
- Check that the camera is clear.
- Check whether the microphone and amplifier are working properly.
- Allow camera and microphone permissions when using the consultation app.
- Make sure your device has enough power.
Which app or software to use?
- It is better to choose local telemedicine providers in Hong Kong, because they need to comply with local medical laws and conditions.
- Choose the application or software which includes your required specialists.
Prepare what you want to talk about and for what you might be asked
- Think about what you want to talk about. If necessary, make a list.
- Include when your symptoms began and how they developed. For symptoms like skin problems, show them on the screen.
- Jot down a list of any past medical conditions, and provide any relevant medical reports you may have, doctor’s reports, test results.
- Have any medications upset you? Any allergies?
- Have you had any relevant tests, like X Rays or MRI results? When were they done? What were the report results?
- For a follow up consult, consider how things have changed – what has improved and what hasn’t?
- If you are on medication – has it helped or not?
- Do your relatives have similar problems?
- Settle in 15 minutes early.
- Check whether the application or software is working properly.
- Provide your identification document to the doctor as required by the telemedicine law in Hong Kong.
- Check if you are the one to call in or wait to be contacted. When the call starts – check you are speaking to the right person. Introduce anyone else even if they are off camera.
- Check you and the doctor have a clear image and sound.
- Don’t be put off if the doctor isn’t always looking at you ‘eye to eye’ because they need to look down to make notes etc.
- Check your list as you go along to make sure everything you want to cover is discussed.
Winding up the consultation
- Request a summary or ask for clarification for things that you missed out or don’t understand.
- Agree the plan, tests, treatments and the next steps including:
- follow up appointment
- prescription for medication if needed
- what to do if things don’t go as planned
After the consultation
- You should receive a report about the summary of the consultation.
- If necessary, sick leave certificate and referral letter can also be provided.
- If anything has been missed out, misunderstood or if you remember something extra do contact the doctor.
- Let your doctor know how you felt the consultation went and how it could be improved.
- Follow up drug arrival time
If you’ve gotten this far, you have probably become familiar with telemedicine. Just try and see if telemedicine is the right choice for you!