Lancaster Physician Summer 2021 - 15

SUMMER 2021
he novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
pandemic has changed our world.
From the way that we work, provide
education, and interact with
others, the pandemic has affected almost
every aspect of our lives. Healthcare delivery
has also been affected as telehealth visits
have emerged as a platform for healthcare
workers to provide care virtually. Not only
has telehealth been a form of defense to
slow the spread of COVID-19 by limiting
contact with health facilities and
other patients, it has demonstrated to be
a potential solution for patients who have
difficulty with transportation or access to
medical care. Family medicine, internal
medicine, orthopaedics, dermatology,
psychiatry, hospice, and palliative care are
a few examples of specialties that have been
able to successfully incorporate telehealth
visits into their respective practices. Just as
good bedside manner has a positive effect
on patient rapport, screen-side manner
can also influence a patient's perspective
regarding the care they are receiving.
Here are six best practices that can be utilized
to promote high-quality, patient-centered
care during a telehealth visit:
1. Proactive Preparation
Prior to the start of the virtual visit, take
time to review the patient's chart. Make
sure that you are in a private and quiet
location that has great lighting for the
encounter. This location should also have
a strong internet connection and a nearby
power outlet to charge the device you are
using in case the battery level goes low.
To help with the workflow, you may have
your front office staff remind the patient to
be online and available approximately 10
minutes before the appointment.
2. Introduction and
Acknowledgements
Begin by smiling, introducing yourself and
your role. Acknowledge the patient and
anyone else who may be present in the
room. Confirm the patient can both see and
hear you adequately. Taking this moment
to check in at the beginning of every visit
ensures you are both set up properly. Don't
be afraid to begin a little small talk as this
T
Just as good bedside
manner has a positive
effect on patient rapport,
screen-side manner can
also influence a patient's
perspective regarding the
care they are receiving.
will help with first impressions and assist
with the patient feeling more comfortable.
If the patient is in their home during the
telehealth visit, acknowledge and thank
them for allowing you into their personal
space. Inform them to assert themselves if
anything is unclear or if there is a break
in communication due to technological
difficulties. This ensures the patient that
they are being heard. If the patient seems
apprehensive of the telehealth platform,
acknowledge the newness of the situation
and thank them for trying it out.
3. Goals and Objectives
Inquire about the patient's goals and
objectives during the telehealth visit. This
is a great way to build rapport and certify
that the telehealth encounter focuses on
the patient's needs.
4. Mannerisms While Listening
Body language can speak louder than words,
especially in the virtual platform. When
listening, nod your head to acknowledge
understanding. Try to maintain positive
body language such as keeping an open
chest and leaning forward to demonstrate
interest in the conversation. Avoid leaning
back and crossing your arms as this can
come across as defensive or uninterested.
Exercise active listening and refrain from
clicking a pen or tapping your foot as this
can cause a distracting background noise
for the patient.
5. Verbal Communication
Clearly communicating and focusing
on your patient are essential during the
LANCASTER 15 PHYSICIAN
telehealth visit. Instead of focusing on the
projected image of the patient on your
screen, look directly at the camera to make
meaningful eye contact. Acknowledge
that you may be typing during the visit
to take notes, but you are still listening.
This communicates that you are still fully
engaged with the patient. Remember to try
not to interrupt the patient when they are
speaking. By doing so, this gives the patient
space to be heard which conveys kindness
and respect. When technical difficulties
arise, do not be afraid to utilize humor
or incorporate patience to help mitigate a
potential stressful situation.
6. Questions and Follow-up
Similar to an in-person visit, allow time for
questions during the end of the telehealth
visit. This includes asking if there is something
that needs clarification or anything
else you can do for them. It is also important
to thank them for their time. Remember
that telehealth visits have limitations
such as performing a hands-on physical
examination. For challenging diagnoses
that require a more in-depth examination,
have the patient scheduled to be evaluated
during an in-person clinic visit.
Final Food for Thought
As telehealth visits provide advantages such
as convenience and increased access for
patients, it is likely that it is here to stay
and will continue to grow. Using these six
best practices will help patients feel that
they are being heard and understood while
simultaneously building rapport.

Lancaster Physician Summer 2021

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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPSummer21
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPSpring21
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPWinter21
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPWinter20
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPFall19
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPSummer19
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPSpring2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPWinter2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPFall2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPSummer2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPSpring18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPWinter18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/Fall2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/Summer2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPSpring17
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