Technology has entered the doctor’s office. These days, doctors can diagnose and treat some minor conditions via virtual methods. Today, you’ll learn what a virtual doctor is, what benefits they provide, and where to find a virtual doctor in Vancouver and other areas of British Columbia.
Telehealth is growing in popularity for those who need the convenience and safety of speaking with a medical professional in their own home.
But believe it or not, telehealth is not a new concept. Even two centuries past our ancestors recognized the use of expediting medical services via telephones. Telemedicine and remote patient monitoring has helped medical professionals to work with their patients at a distance.
Today, medical doctors can use phone or video calling to make the distance even closer. You may feel worried that doctors will have significant limitations because of this lack of physical proximity, but you’d be surprised what they can diagnose virtually.
What Can a Virtual Doctor Diagnose Over the Telehealth?
Doctors are trained to understand symptoms to diagnose whatever condition they encounter. They can’t diagnose and treat everything, obviously, since many conditions will require them to get out the gloves and tongue depressors. But sometimes your issue does not necessarily warrant a drive over.
Virtual care can handle a wide variety of things:
- Seasonal allergies
- Pain from arthritis
- Treatment for STIs
- Cough and colds
- Minor infections
- Strains and sprains
- UTI and/or bladder infections
- Medication refills
This is only a small list of what your virtual doctor visit may be able to handle.
When you schedule your virtual doctor appointment, be specific. Don’t leave anything out! All the information you can provide will lead to a more accurate diagnosis.
To save yourself and your doctor time, write your symptoms down on a piece of paper. This will ensure the virtual visit is thorough, the doctor can quickly assess your symptoms, and you can get back to recovering.
Do I need a Follow-Up Appointment for Telehealth?
Telehealth excels for most kinds of follow-up appointments that your doctor may require. If all they need to do is to update the status of a stable condition, telemedicine can help.
Medication Management via Telehealth
In many cases, you’re just going to the doctor to renew your prescription. If the virtual doctor needs to increase your dose or switch medications, this is also an excellent solution.
In most cases, your doctor is just making sure that there are no adverse side effects and that you are getting the relief that the medication should provide. That means a telehealth appointment is ideal here.
Medical Counselling via Telehealth
If you’re just trying to get advice for your situation, telemedicine is your friend. Doctors can provide reassurance or second opinions where necessary.
Can a Virtual Doctor treat Coughs and Colds?
With the COVID pandemic still in effect, you don’t want to risk spreading the virus – or catching it. A virtual doctor appointment allows you to see a professional before leaving the house and exposing yourself or others to the virus.
For those who need to quarantine, or who are quarantining, a virtual doctor is a perfect way to make sure your health doesn’t suffer from the isolation and inability to visit a clinic in person.
Can I get a Doctor’s Note for Work?
Say you’ve just woken up with a fever or a bad cough. Workplaces will often demand proof before they’ll give you sick days off. You might feel terrible and the idea of taking a trip to the doctor’s office sounds miserable.
With a virtual doctor appointment, you can speak with a doctor, get your note, and prove to your employer that you’re sick without ever leaving home. That means more time that you can spend resting and recovering.
Mental Health Services via Virtual Care
When you’re having a tough day, getting to your therapist might be close to impossible. You might not even have the energy to leave your house.
Virtual therapy is wonderful because you can stay in the protection of your home and get the treatment you need.
Virtual care also excels at regular therapeutic sessions:
- Mental health diagnoses such as depression or anxiety
- Behavioral therapy
- Check-ups with a Psychiatrist
- Updating an existing prescription for depression or anxiety medication
Access to care for Rural Populations
Perhaps driving to the clinic is the issue simply because you live in the countryside. If a doctor hours away, then you can save on gas and time by scheduling virtual appointments for minor conditions.
A virtual doctor appointment in BC or a virtual doctor in Vancouver can reach you anywhere you have a stable internet connection. That being said, it doesn’t replace an in-person assessment or the services of your longitudinal Family Doctor. This is may be an option when there’s barriers to seeking in-person care.
How do I Prepare for a Virtual Doctor visit?
Luckily, a virtual doctor visit is pretty easy, even for those who are not technologically inclined.
Generally speaking, you only need three things:
- A high-speed/broadband internet connection with an ethernet line or WiFi
- A computer or smart device such as a phone
- A free video calling application
After your virtual care is scheduled, make sure you are prepared ahead of time. This can include uploading photos of a rash, updating your pharmacy, or contact information. You will also get an email with instructions. It’s important to read these instructions to be better prepared for your appointment.
Checking your Internet Speed
Check your internet connection speed and then compare it to the minimum speed needed to make a video call. If you use streaming services such as Netflix, and your movies and shows run smoothly, then you likely have plenty of bandwidth.
If the video call is choppy, that can affect how long your appointment takes. Further, a poor connection can make it difficult for a physician to diagnose you and may force them to postpone the appointment. Try to avoid video calls over cellular data as the bandwidth can sometimes be too low.
Checking your Audio
Check to make sure your audio is working. If the doctor can’t hear you, your appointment may not be successful.
Whether you are using your device’s built-in microphone or a pair of headphones/earbuds, make sure the microphone is registering. Call a friend before your appointment and test this. If one audio device doesn’t work, try another until you are ready for your appointment.
Make sure the place where you plan to take the call has a good connection. If you want to take the call outside, then you need to make sure your Wi-Fi or mobile data can reach that far. A poor signal will give you a choppy call.
How to Get Ready Before Your Telehealth Appointment
Technical difficulties always seem to strike in the most inopportune moments. It pays to prepare yourself before your appointment.
Give yourself at least 10 minutes before your scheduled appointment to check your equipment. Make sure your device is powered on and fully charged. Check your internet speed by calling a friend or streaming a YouTube video.
Make sure you are in a well-lit place that allows the doctor to see you clearly. Depending on your condition, set your phone down on a pillow or coffee table so they can see whatever part of your body is pertinent to the treatment. Knowing ahead of time where to position your device can save time.
Further, make sure you’re in a quiet place before your appointment. If you cannot escape the noise, at least find a quieter corner of the house where it won’t impede your visit. And if you need to relocate outside or inside because of the noise, make sure your Wi-Fi reaches that area.
How to find a Virtual Doctor Appointment in BC
Canada is a vast country with a significant population living in rural communities. If you live far from the city centers where your clinics are located, you may benefit from telehealth.
Instead of searching for busy clinics, you can choose one that will serve you right from the comfort of your home. If you haven’t decided yet, keep in mind that a free virtual doctor in BC can consult you if you have coverage with the Medical Services Plan (MSP).
At the end of the day, telehealth makes no distinction about where you’re located. As long as there is a solid internet connection, your physician can reach you.
Now that you know the some of the benefits of telemedicine, it’s time to get yourself your first virtual doctor appointment.
Book a Virtual Doctor visit today
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