Fortunately, there is a way to get more information about your child’s illness without worrying about traffic, waiting rooms or additional diseases: telehealth. Pediatric telehealth visits are fast, convenient and cost-effective. Here are a few tips to make your pediatric online doctor visit a success.
Check Your Internet Connection
To use the video conferencing feature of telehealth — which is exceedingly useful during pediatric visits, as pediatric providers prefer to visually assess their patients — you need an internet download speed of at least 25 megabytes and an upload speed of at least 3 megabytes. You can test your internet connection online. If your internet speeds are too slow, you might connect your device to your modem or router using an ethernet cable, or you can turn off any smart home devices that might be crowding your network.
Carefully Choose Your Environment
A telehealth visit will not be successful if the lighting and sound in your space is not conducive to sharing information about your little one’s health. Before your appointment time, you should find a space in your home that is quiet and well-lit, ideally with natural light. You should position your device away from windows, so that light can illuminate you and your child. If your home is usually filled with noise — from playing children, pets, running appliances or something else — you should find a way to silence the sound for the duration of your appointment.
Have Simple Health Tools on Hand
Pediatric providers, more than other general practitioners, perform physical tests to assess the health of their patients because babies and children cannot always provide accurate information about their own symptoms. During a telehealth visit, you may be responsible for performing some basic tests to help your provider understand your little one’s health status. You should keep a thermometer within reach, and you might dress your child lightly to make it easier to show your provider any concerning rashes or lumps. Your provider might ask you to lay your child down and press on their belly, so you might need to reposition your room to allow space for this.
Talk to Your Little One About the Experience
If your child is old enough to understand the concept of technology and talking to other people through screens, you may want to talk to them about their impending telehealth appointment. You can tell them that both of you will be talking to a doctor or nurse — perhaps the one they are accustomed to seeing, perhaps not — through the computer or phone. You might have them practice sitting still or run them through some of the tests your pediatric provider might want you to perform. Younger kids might benefit from a YouTube video that shows another child experiencing a telehealth visit or a book that shows pictures of talking to doctors and nurses through screens. When kids are told what to expect from unfamiliar experiences, they are more likely to behave as you hope.
Give Older Kids Some Privacy With Providers
If your little one is no longer so little, you might allow them the opportunity to engage with a provider on their own. Once you make introductions and explain current health complaints, you can leave the room to allow your child private, one-on-one care from their doctor or nurse. Of course, you should only do this if your kid is old enough to be trusted on the device by themselves, can communicate honestly and effectively about their health and has an interest in engaging with telehealth on their own.
Telehealth is easier to use than ever before. If you are apprehensive about sending your sick little one into the world when they are feeling so low, you should take advantage of pediatric telehealth solutions.