Take it seriously.
Telemedicine is serious business.
A doctor whom you don’t know and who doesn’t know you is going to evaluate your medical problem and possibly prescribe a medication for treatment.
She doesn’t know your history, your values, or your preferences except for what you tell her.
And you’re doing it over the phone or on video.
Your doctor can’t smell you or check out your body language. They can’t see many of the subtle signs of illness that to them is so ingrained it’s like a sixth sense. They really are working with one hand tied behind their back.
Prescription medicine is prescription for a reason. It can seriously harm you if you take it the wrong way—or for the wrong reason. Ever seen someone lose their skin from taking an antibiotic? I have. It’s not pretty, especially when they might not have needed the antibiotic in the first place.
Even more concerning, you could have a serious medical problem that needs immediate attention and the doctor on the other end could miss it completely.
Yes, telemedicine is serious, serious business.
To stay safe you have to treat it that way.
Don’t do a telemedicine visit “on the fly” while going to the store or in between customers at work. That’s just asking for trouble. For one thing, the doctor on the other line will sense your distraction and will see that as evidence that you’re not really all that ill.
For another, you might forget an important detail. And before you know it, you’re taking a medication that you might not need.
Sit down with a piece of paper and collect your thoughts. Write down what’s wrong and what questions you have. It should take all of a minute or two. If you don’t have the time for that, you don’t have time for a telemedicine visit.
Keep that piece of paper in front of you while you call. Use it to take notes and write down the answers to you questions.
The doctor at the other end will be able to tell you’re taking the visit seriously—and they will take you seriously too.