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Telemedicine During COVID-19: How to Make the Most of your Virtual Visit

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, the expanded use of telemedicine services is helping us keep lines of communication open between our patients and providers, while also limiting the spread of disease. Since mid-March, many Penn Medicine physicians and advanced practice providers have been trained to offer telemedicine visits (also known as virtual visits) and are ready to connect with patients.

Tips for one-on-one telemedicine visits

Tips for virtual group visits

Why choose Telemedicine?

Telemedicine is useful in many situations where a patient is practicing physical distancing or is unable to go to a healthcare facility in person, but it’s not appropriate for every situation. Whether you are already a Penn Medicine patient, or a new patient, we have staff available who can help determine what’s right for you.

If you are a current Penn Medicine patient, please reach out to your provider by phone or through myPennMedicine to determine if a telemedicine appointment is right for you. If you are a new patient, please call 215-316-5145 to request a telemedicine appointment.

9 Tips for a Successful Telemedicine Visit

Here are some best practices to make your virtual visit as successful as possible for both you and your health care provider.

  1. Download and test the virtual visit platform you’re using for your video visit on your computer or mobile device. It is important that you do this before your visit so you are ready and able to connect with your provider during your appointment. See instructions to download the BlueJeans application.
    • Are you scheduled for a video visit with Penn Medicine OnDemand? Penn Medicine OnDemand video visits use myPennMedicine. Make sure you have an active myPennMedicine account to receive your video visit link.
  2. Don't share your appointment link with others to ensure privacy and security during your visit.
  3. Plan to be at home when your appointment begins and throughout your virtual visit.
  4. Choose a private, quiet space within your home where you can discuss any issues about your health throughout your visit.
  5. Choose a comfortable space where your provider can see you and you can perform the steps of an examination, which may include standing or walking.
  6. Make sure your Wi-Fi or cellular signal is strong. This will help ensure your appointment is not interrupted by a dropped signal.
  7. Wear appropriate clothing for the type of visit you are having.
  8. Avoid sitting with your back to a window or light source. This lighting can give you a harsh silhouette and make it difficult for your provider to see you. Try sitting with your back to a wall with light reflecting on your face instead.
  9. Avoid distractions during your visit. Consider setting your mobile devices to “do not disturb” during your appointment time to limit cell phone calls, texts and emails.

Tips for Virtual Group Visits

Penn Medicine offers virtual group visits for a range of services, including behavioral health and support groups. In addition to the nine tips above, if you're joining a group visit, please also consider the following:

  1. Mute your microphone. Upon entering a group visit, your microphone may be muted and will remain muted except during question breaks. Please remain muted unless you are speaking during the visit.
  2. Check your video settings. If your device has a webcam, it's up to you if you'd like your video settings turned on during the group visit.
  3. Screenshot of the BlueJeans platform that instructs patients to use the chat function at the top right of the screen during group sessionsScreenshot of the BlueJeans platform that instructs patients to get their providers' attention by using the "RAISE HAND" button at the bottom right of the screen.Hold your questions and raise your hand. The group moderator will make time for questions during the visit. Please hold your questions until that time or type them into the chat box at any time. If you'd like to speak during the visit, please click the button to raise your hand.
  4. Keep discussions confidential. We respect your privacy and ask you to respect the privacy of other patients participating in your group visit. Please remember to treat everything discussed during the visit confidential.
  5. Join the visit by yourself. If you would like to have a family member join your visit with you, please contact your provider or group moderator to see if it is allowed for your specific visit.

Learn more about telemedicine offerings at Penn Medicine.

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Get information on a variety of health conditions, disease prevention, and our services and programs. It's advice from our physicians delivered to you on your time. 

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