Getting your child dressed and out of the house can be a challenge in the best of times, and even more so when they’re sick and need to see a doctor. You can make things easier with telemedicine.
If you’ve never seen a doctor online before, you might be pleasantly surprised at how much easier it is to speak with a doctor and get a prescription from the comfort of your own home. An online doctor visit eliminates travel time and transportation costs, and you don’t have to take your child into a waiting room full of sick people and risk him or her catching something else. And you can often get a telemedicine appointment quickly, even when you can’t get in to see your doctor in person. Here’s how to use telemedicine to get fast medical care for your child.
Schedule Your Visit
If you’re ready to try telemedicine for your child’s care, your first step should be to contact your pediatrician’s office. Your doctor may have telemedicine appointments available. If your doctor doesn’t have any telemedicine appointments, you may be able to use an on-demand online doctor service to schedule an urgent care visit for a sick child. Your insurance will probably pay for a telemedicine visit. You will have to give a credit card number for any copays or portions not covered by insurance.
Get Your Tech in Order
In order to talk to your child’s doctor online, you’re going to need some video calling technology – a smartphone, laptop, desktop or tablet. Make sure it works – test the speakers, microphone, and camera. When you schedule your appointment, make sure you understand how to access the video conferencing platform your doctor will be using. You might need to download a certain app or go to a certain website in order to video conference with your doctor, so make sure you understand how to do that. If you already use a patient portal, you may be able to access the virtual waiting room from within the portal. Test the app and links before your appointment to make sure they all work.
Prepare for the Doctor Visit
Prepare for your child’s telemedicine visit as you would any other doctor’s appointment. Make a list of your child’s symptoms so you can communicate clearly and completely with the doctor when you have his or her attention. Write out any questions you want to ask. If you think your child is sick with something they’ve had before or you think you know what it is, be prepared to communicate that clearly to the doctor.
See Your Doctor Online
Before your doctor’s appointment, find a peaceful, private corner of the house, where there’s a strong cellular or wifi connection. You need to be able to have your virtual doctor visit uninterrupted. Get a thermometer and a bathroom scale and put them nearby. The doctor may ask you to weigh your child, take his or her temperature, or perform other procedures to gather data to make a diagnosis.
You’ll get the most benefit from your child’s online doctor visit if you communicate clearly and directly about your child’s symptoms. Your child should attend the visit with you so the doctor can examine him or her through the camera. If you’re wondering how to get antibiotics or a prescription refill online for your child, don’t be afraid to ask the doctor for a prescription. He or she can send a prescription to the pharmacy you normally use.
If you’re using an on-demand doctor service, the doctor you see may ask you to follow up with your child’s primary care provider. Doctors can treat a lot of things over the internet: rashes and other skin problems, pink eye, colds and flus, and even vomiting and diarrhea. But sometimes, you’re going to need to take your child in for a diagnosis. That will be the case anytime the doctor needs lab work done or imaging performed in order to make a diagnosis – so if you think your kid is going to need blood work or X-rays, you might as well skip the telemedicine appointment.
Telemedicine can be a fast and relatively painless way to get medical care for your child, especially when you can’t bring him or her to the doctor’s office for whatever reason. With telemedicine, you can access medical care wherever you are, and get your child feeling better fast without a trip to urgent care.