Virtual care is an efficient and safe way to connect with your clinic during COVID-19 and beyond. Many patients who have tried it expect it to be the new norm even after the pandemic.
As a patient, it’s important that you are addressing all your questions or concerns with your doctors. According to the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI), virtual appointments are new to many of us and it helps to take time putting thought into your appointment. Digital technology comes with the idea of speed (and virtual care does support better clinic efficiency), but it is important not to feel rushed through virtual appointments without addressing all of your concerns.
New ways of connecting with your providers and their staff make it easier to get all of the information you need before your in person appointment so you can have more in-depth discussions and figure a plan with your doctor moving forward. Using Secure-Mail, you can send questions in advance, collect information about what was discussed in appointments for reference later, and ask follow up questions that occur to you after the fact.
It was found that patients typically recall less than 70% of what was discussed during their appointments and often feel overwhelmed by papers handed to them on the way out. Only about half of patients feel they have all the information they need upon leaving an appointment. That’s why it’s so important to ask for notes, and ask questions through your Secure-Mail account.
Speak up if you have any questions or concerns
Virtual care tools like Secure-Mail help patients be an active contributor when connecting with their clinics. Follow up papers and notes can be sent to them through Secure-Mail for easy reference and follow up later. You can send non-urgent questions as they occur to you rather than having to align your schedule with your clinic’s business hours. And, you can take your time thinking about your answer to questions your doctor may have for you about a condition, so that you are providing more complete information rather than trying to remember everything or giving incomplete answers on the spot.
The CPSI has created a toolkit for patients, on how to better communicate with your doctors and how to make the most of out of your appointment: www.patientsafetyinstitute.ca/Conquer-Silence.