How to prepare for your first online GP appointment: tips and tricks

Woman using her phone
4 minute read

You can get the best out of your online doctor's appointment by following these best practices.

How to prepare for your first online GP appointment: tips and tricks

The healthcare sector has witnessed a revolutionary change with the rise of telehealth, making it possible for you to have consultations with your general practitioners (GPs) from anywhere.

This move towards virtual healthcare is not just about convenience; it’s a reflection of our times, especially in the face of challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic. Achieving digital health services readiness empowers patients to make the most of telehealth opportunities.

Preparing for your first online GP appointment? This online health consultation guide is designed to help you navigate your first virtual appointment with confidence.

Understanding online GP appointments

Online GP appointments are at the heart of telehealth, offering you the flexibility to consult with your doctors via video calls, phone calls, or messaging platforms. These consultations aim to provide you with medical advice, diagnosis, and sometimes treatment, all without stepping foot in the GP's office.

Telehealth is a game-changer for accessing healthcare promptly, especially for those who find travelling difficult or need immediate care for non-urgent issues. Understanding the ins and outs of telehealth, including real-time (synchronous) and delayed (asynchronous) consultations, will help you choose the best option for your needs and set the stage for an effective online appointment.

Steps to prepare for your online doctor visit

Effective online doctor visit preparation involves testing your technology, gathering medical information, and ensuring privacy and good lighting in your chosen space. Follow these key steps for a successful online consultation:

Test your technology

 A smooth online consultation setup begins with ensuring your technology is properly configured and tested. Make sure your internet connection is stable to avoid any hiccups during your consultation. Get familiar with the software or platform your GP uses, which might involve downloading an app or creating an account.

Testing your camera and microphone is crucial because clear audio and video are essential for an effective telehealth appointment. Tackling any software requirements or compatibility issues beforehand will help you sidestep technical troubles, allowing you to concentrate on your consultation.

Gather necessary medical information

Here’s a quick telemedicine checklist to help you gather all the necessary information before your appointment which will help your appointment go smoothly. This includes your medical history, current symptoms, questions for your GP, and any medications you're on. Consider using digital health records apps or printable templates to keep this information organised. Sharing this with your GP during your virtual visit will enable a clearer understanding of your health needs and ensure you receive tailored advice.

Choose a quiet, private space

Choose a spot where you can talk about your health without interruptions or distractions. If privacy is hard to come by, headphones with a built-in microphone can ensure your conversation remains confidential. Good lighting is also important to ensure you're visible during video consultations. A well-chosen space not only protects your privacy but also helps maintain focused and effective communication with your GP. 

Know your appointment details

Keep all the details of your appointment, such as the time, login information, and the platform or link for the session, close at hand. Setting reminders can help you remember your appointment. Having these details ready will help you avoid a last-minute scramble, ensuring a smooth start to your online consultation.

Tips for a productive telehealth appointment

 Here are additional telehealth appointment tips to enhance your virtual healthcare experience:

Communicating effectively with your GP

Seeking remote healthcare advice during your online GP appointment requires clear and concise communication. Speak slowly and clearly, making sure to articulate your symptoms, concerns, and any questions you have. Don't hesitate to ask for clarification if something isn't clear to you. Jotting down important points or instructions during your appointment can be incredibly helpful for later reference.

Follow-up and next steps

 The next steps after your consultation might include scheduling another appointment, undergoing tests, or starting new medications. Ensure you understand any directions given by your GP, such as how to take new medications or changes to your current treatment. If you have any questions or concerns after the appointment, ask about the best way to get in touch. Knowing the follow-up process ensures you continue receiving the care you need post-consultation.

The benefits of being well-prepared

Adequate preparation not only equips your GP with the necessary information for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan but also makes the consultation more time-efficient, allowing you to cover all your concerns. Ultimately, thorough preparation boosts your overall satisfaction with telehealth, affirming its place as a practical option for accessing healthcare.

Preparing for your online GP appointment is key.  By following the advice outlined, including tech preparation, organising your medical information, choosing the right environment, and being clear on your appointment details, you pave the way for a successful online GP consultation.