Does your child need to see a health care provider after hours? Can’t get to the doctor’s office? A telehealth visit may be a good option. You can use technology to have a live medical visit with a health care provider. You’ll see the provider over your smartphone, tablet, or computer, instead of in person. Telehealth visits are also called telemedicine, virtual care, or video visits. Here's how they work.
Do I Need an Appointment for a Telehealth Visit?
You may need an appointment for a checkup or a follow-up visit. But if your child has an unexpected health issue (like an eye, skin, or respiratory problem), and it’s hard to get to the doctor’s office, you might try an urgent care video visit. You don’t need an appointment for this kind of visit, which is why they’re also called on-demand visits.
Where Do I Have the Video Visit?
Most of the time, you’ll have the video visit from your home or another private place. Sometimes a telehealth provider will ask you to schedule your video visit at a nearby doctor’s office. That's because they might need to check your child with equipment that you don’t have at home. When you get there, the office will help you use any equipment that’s needed during the exam.
How Do I Get Ready for a Telehealth Visit?
It’s a good idea to do these things in advance:
- Set up your device. Decide if you’re going to use your smartphone, tablet, or computer. You’ll need a strong Wi-Fi or cellular signal. You may have to turn on permissions to use your camera and microphone.
- Download an app (if needed). Some telehealth systems will need you to use their app and set up an account. They may also ask you to enter insurance information and a credit card for payment.
- Gather a few items. Be ready to tell the provider if your child has any allergies and takes any medicines. It also helps to have a thermometer and scale nearby. The provider may ask you to take your child’s temperature and weight.
- Jot down any concerns or questions. The provider can help your child the most when you can clearly explain what’s going on.
How Long Will the Video Visit Last?
A telehealth visit usually lasts about 10 minutes, but it can run longer if needed.
What Can Help a Video Visit Go Smoothly?
A telehealth visit is a medical visit. Give your child and the provider your full attention just as you would at an in-person visit. These tips may help:
- Go to a quiet and well-lit room for the visit.
- Don’t have the visit in a moving vehicle.
- Have your child with you, so the provider can see what’s going on.
- Try to limit noise and activity in the background (like people, pets, and TV).
What Happens During a Telehealth Visit?
In many ways, your video visit will be much like an in-person visit. Here’s what you can expect:
- After you log in and pay, you’ll be placed in a virtual waiting room until the provider is ready to see you.
- When the provider joins, you’ll share your child’s medical history and symptoms.
- With your help, the provider will examine your child.
- The provider will diagnose and treat your child. If the provider can’t get all the information they need, they’ll recommend where to go for in-person care.
- If a prescription is needed, the provider will send it to your pharmacy.
- The provider will say if you should follow up with your child’s primary care provider.
- At the end of the visit, the provider will send you a summary and may send it to your child’s primary care provider too.