The Museum Practice

Top tips for video and telephone appointments

Top tips for Patients: making the most of video and telephone appointments

The way people access healthcare has changed a lot during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One way of accessing an appointment is by using video and telephone appointments if your GP thinks its clinically appropriate.

We know for some people, speaking to a doctor, nurse or other healthcare practitioner via video or on the phone can be daunting.

To support patients to get the most out their online or phone consultation, we’ve pulled together some top tips on how best to prepare the technology, environment and yourself if your GP suggests a call rather than a face-to-face appointment.

The environment:

  • Find somewhere quiet and private
  • Try and limit the distractions around you. Using headphones can help with this.
  • Have any hospital or GP letters that you may need with you and a pen and paper to write things down
  • Make sure you have a list of your medication to hand in case you are asked

The technology:

  • Test any links you have been sent prior to the appointment and familiarise yourself with the platform
  • Make sure you have enough battery power and your power cable is plugged in
  • When on video calls, check your microphone and camera are working and that you have a good Wi-Fi connection where you are
  • When on phone calls, check your signal and move to a place where it is strongest if possible.
    Switch to hands free, this will make it easier to take notes of the consultation

Before the call:

  • Take the time to write down in advance your symptoms and how serious you think they are, the questions you would like answered and the concerns on your mind. Please mention the most important problem first.
  • Get ready for the call
  • Try not to book anything straight after the call, in case it runs over time or the doctor calling is running behind.
  • Ask someone for help to set up the technology
  • You can ask someone to be with you for support if you would find that useful. This person could even translate or take notes for you
  • Ask for a different appointment date or time if the one you have been given isn’t convenient for you
  • Ask for an interpreter if you need one, as everyone is entitled to one

During the call:

  • Tell the person you’re speaking to what you would like to get out of the consultation
  • Check your questions off the list to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything
  • Look at the camera to show you are listening, there can sometimes be a delay online so leave a pause to make sure the person has finished speaking

Repeat at the end of the call what has been agreed.  If you’re not happy at the end of the consultation, let them know.

A face to face appointment can always be booked you prefer.

Date published: 28th January, 2022
Date last updated: 4th January, 2023