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April 27, 2020

Preparing for Your Telehealth Visit

By Joanne Fruth, MD, MA, FAAFP

Everyone knows the drill for seeing the doctor. We drive to the office, check in, sit in a waiting room, are called back to have our vital signs taken, then wait in an exam room for our physician or advanced practice provider to see and evaluate our concern.

When you stop and think about it – it’s a pretty disruptive endeavor.

Telehealth is turning the experience of seeing a provider upside down. Now you can get all kinds of healthcare without leaving your home or office.

It sounds simple and straight forward and usually it is, but there are many moving parts to a successful telehealth visit.

First, trust that your physician or APP will come to the visit prepared with their knowledge, experience, and technology. He or she will be in a quiet, private area. A well-trained telehealth provider will look into the camera, appear relaxed, and be just as engaging as they would be if they were seeing you in person.

Here’s what you should do to make your visit a great one:

As with all visits to your provider, come prepared. Be ready to describe your condition accurately. Your physician or APP wants to know when the symptoms started (“how many days ago?”), whether the condition start abruptly, like with an injury, or start slowly like a cold. Where are all the symptoms located (“headache on the right side” or “my right knee”). If there is pain, what is it like (sharp, achy, dull, knife-like, tingly), how severe is it (1 for hardly any at all and 10 for the worse you can imagine) and is it constant or does it come and go.

Make sure you are in a quiet place, well-lit and free of distractions, curious children, or strangers. If someone else is present in a telehealth visit, you are required to identify that individual to your provider.

Don’t sit to closely to the camera on your computer and speak in a regular voice. Your provider will know how to coach you through the visit to get the information needed to make the right diagnosis. Sometimes creativity is needed to see or hear what is needed.

If your condition exceeds what your provider feels can be handled in a telehealth visit, a face to face visit will be recommended.

The “Old-fashioned” way of seeing your provider in person is always an option. Either way, we hope to “see” you soon.


Joanne M. Fruth, MD, MA, FAAFP
Chief Medical Officer


Dr. Fruth is a family physician with a mission to promote the benefits of primary care and especially Family Medicine (#FMrevolution).  As Chief Medical Officer at Avance Care, Dr. Fruth uses her years of experience and passion for teaching to inspire other clinicians to make each primary care visit one which builds the foundation good health

Dr. Fruth loves hiking, trips to Broadway and seeking adventure (or a quiet evening) with her emergency physician husband. She has three adult children on their own missions to make the world a better place.

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