NAVIGATING HEALTHCARE

11 Tips to Help Prepare for Your Telemedicine Visit

NOVEMBER 2020 | 5 MIN READ

Telemedicine, also known as a digital doctor’s visit, is used broadly by people today and can be a convenient option for people living with myasthenia gravis.

Telemedicine—an interactive doctor’s visit using a computer, tablet or smartphone—has been gaining traction and is being used more due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The option of meeting with a doctor virtually may be useful to people living with myasthenia gravis (MG) in many ways. For example, Lauren, a nurse practitioner who’s had digital visits with her own patients, says that access to doctors is important to people like her who live with MG. “Instead of traveling, they can schedule a telemedicine appointment and bring the specialist to them,” she said.

With telemedicine, I don't have to wait in a waiting room, and my doctor is still able to assess my needs and communicate with me.

Lauren, nurse practitioner and person living with MG
Mount Pleasant, SC

If you are interested in trying telemedicine, talk to your doctor to see if it’s an option for your myasthenia gravis management. Even if your doctor offers telemedicine, they may still want you to come into the office for some appointments, especially if it’s your first visit. It is important to keep in mind that telemedicine visits are not used for emergency-related health concerns.

While online doctor’s visits can be convenient for patients, including those living with MG, it might help to plan ahead. Here are some tips you may want to try for your next telemedicine visit.

  1. Connect with your clinic for help with paperwork or a pre-visit screening. Just like any other visit, you may be asked to fill out forms.
  2. Ask a family member or friend to help you with your telemedicine visit.
  3. Make a list of things you want to discuss with your doctor. For example, do you need a prescription refill or a home-nurse referral? Or maybe you want to discuss a new myasthenia gravis symptom you’ve been experiencing since your last visit?
  1. Track your myasthenia gravis symptoms ahead of time. You may want to use tools such as Myasthenia Gravis Activities of Daily Living (MG-ADL) or Revised 15-Item Myasthenia Gravis Quality of Life Scale (MG-QOL15r).
  2. Take photos of any myasthenia gravis symptoms you can see, such as eye droopiness. Ask your doctor if there is a secure way for you to email the photos before your visit. This can help your doctor understand your symptoms.
  3. If you have concerns with your insurance coverage, be sure to check with your doctor’s office prior to the visit.
  4. Make sure your smartphone or computer is fully charged. Try to find a sturdy place to put your device so you won’t need to hold it during your visit.
    • Place your camera so you are centered and at eye level to your screen or monitor. Your doctor will likely want to see your entire face.
    • Test the telemedicine software with a family member or friend, if the system allows you to do so.
    • Test your device’s camera and microphone and your internet connection.
  5. Overhead or natural lighting works well for video visits. Aim for a quiet, well-lit environment. Avoid sitting near an overly bright window or noisy places in the home
  6. The doctor may ask you to demonstrate your strength or flexibility. Try to allow for adequate space (4 to 6 feet) around you in case you’re asked to move around.
  7. Though not required, some find it useful to have the following items on hand.
    • Your medical records
    • A list of all of your medications, including non-MG ones
    • A charged smartphone and the phone number of your pharmacy or care clinic in case your connection is disrupted
    • Pen and paper to write notes and instructions
    • Your device’s charging cables, in case your battery runs low
  8. At the end of a virtual visit, just like an in-person visit you may want to request a summary of your appointment. You may also want to review specific notes of your visit, if available. And check to see if your provider has information on a portal that you can access.

Sign up for MG United!

Get personalized content and support for wherever you are in your journey with MG. Just enter your email and you’re in.

Want more great content? Follow MG United on social media.

MG United Facebook MG United Instagram