To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Australians now have access to their doctor and many other health services through telehealth.
But what exactly is telehealth and how do you prepare for an appointment?
Put simply, telehealth consultations are appointments conducted over the phone or using video-conferencing services like Skype, FaceTime, Zoom or WhatsApp. You can speak to your doctor through a phone, computer or tablet, or interact through a screen.
After making an appointment for your virtual consultation, it’s a good idea to prepare before your ‘visit’. For example:
- Have your phone or device ready at the booked time.
- Have a pen and paper handy to make notes.
- Have a list of things you want to discuss or check, such as symptoms. Ask questions.
- Be ready to tell your doctor what medications you are taking. You may need to spell out the names.
- Be prepared to repeat back to your doctor what the plan and advice is, so they (and you) know you have understood everything.
- Know what the plans are for follow up.
- It’s important to speak clearly so your voice can be picked up by the microphone.
- If you’re using a camera, don’t sit with a bright light behind you as this will make it difficult for the doctor to see you.
Of course, there are some cases where doctors will still need to do a physical examination. In those instances, patients will be asked to come into the clinic to be seen in person.
If you are concerned you have the symptoms of COVID-19, which include a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath:
- Call the 24-hour healthdirect help line on 1800 022 222
- Call your GP or
- Visit your local hospital’s emergency department.