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Your Healthy Family: What to Know When Booking a Virtual Doctor Visit

Posted at 9:37 AM, Mar 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 11:40:24-04

CLEVELAND, OHIO — The pandemic has changed the way many of us schedule doctor’s appointments. Instead of going to your physician’s office for an exam, you can now meet with them virtually from the comfort of your own home.

“For patients, especially those who are coming from a distance, those who have mobility issues and those that have family members that they want to include in their visit, it can be very, very convenient. And from the provider end of things, it allows us to connect with patients in a very unique way,” said Steven Shook, MD, who is a neurologist for the Cleveland Clinic.

He said virtual visits have grown in popularity over the last year and are quickly becoming common practice.

So how do you know when to book a virtual visit or see your doctor in person? Dr. Shook said it really depends on the type of care you’re receiving.

Virtual visits are perfect for common symptoms like back pain, sore throat, cough, rash or mild fever. They can also be good for counseling, chronic disease management and getting a second opinion from most specialists.

However, you should always go in to see a doctor for urgent medical needs.

“The one visit that is absolutely not appropriate for virtual health is emergency care. If a patient is having chest pain, stroke-like symptoms or a prolonged fever, any one of those emergency-type symptoms, you need to call 911 or take your family member to the emergency room immediately,” said Dr. Shook.

Dr. Shook has a couple of tips to keep in mind for your next virtual visit. He said it’s important you’re in a quiet and well-lit area with no distractions. You should also have enough space to move around if asked.