Even if you can’t see your doctor in person, it’s still important to reach out to them if you have any issues.
Most offices are now offering virtual visits during which doctors can diagnose problems and prescribe medications.
There are some things you should know before your visit, though.
According to Dr. Carrie Kovarik, Associate Professor of Dermatology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, you should find out what type of visit your doctor plans to perform, whether by video or phone, and then reach out to your insurance company to make sure it’s covered.
Once you know your visit is covered, get prepared ahead of time.
Have your medical history ready and write down any questions you want to ask so you can make the appointment more efficient.
If you’re concerned about sharing personal information over the phone or computer, talk to your doctor’s office about their policies.
“Because we just want to get patients care, we’re using some non-secure platforms like Facetime or Skype,” said Dr. Kovarik, “but we also have the ability to use HIPPA compliant platforms, and many doctors are transitioning to those platforms as soon as they can. But it’s also important for there to be a transparent conversation with the patient, so the patients know what type of platforms we’re using and they know what type of security is also being used at that time.”
You may also need to have someone with you during the appointment if you need to show a rash or lesion somewhere such as your back.
Dr. Kovarik says for something like a dermatology appointment, it may be helpful to send pictures in advance since they often show more detail than trying to show something via video chat.
Not every medical issue can be addressed virtually, but many can, and it’ll allow you to keep your distance while still getting the care you need.