Whether it’s for a workers’ comp independent medical exam (IME) or treatment of an existing injury, you might soon have your consultation through a telemedicine appointment during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has announced policy changes to allow for these virtual doctor visits to ensure that workers’ comp claims can still be approved, and injured workers will keep getting the treatment they need.
To help our clients make the most of these virtual visits, we offer some tips.
What to Do in a Virtual Doctor Visit
It will feel bizarre at first to sit down at your computer or in front of a tablet for a medical exam, but if you're prepared to make the most of it, it can be a helpful and productive appointment. Taking these steps can optimize your visit:
- Get your technology ready. Your healthcare provider may be using a particular app or website for the visit. Be sure you know what it is and test out your access to it before the appointment. Make sure your computer or tablet is charged and ready to go. You'll need a webcam and microphone, which most computers and tablets already have. Using a cellphone isn't ideal for a telemedicine appointment because the screen is so small, but if that’s all you have, it can work. If you don’t have reliable internet, you may have to go to a family member’s house for the appointment.
- Spend some time preparing beforehand. Along with setting up the technology and finding a quiet, comfortable place to sit, take the time to write down all your questions for the doctor. Also, list your symptoms and describe in detail the limitations caused by the injury and what causes pain. These notes are helpful if you find it hard to focus using an unfamiliar format.
- Treat it like an in-person appointment. Don’t settle for less because you're not in the doctor’s office. Use your notes to ask all your pressing questions. If you can’t hear well or don’t understand the healthcare provider, speak up. Make eye contact through the camera—and expect the same from your doctor.
- Have someone with you. It could be beneficial to have someone with you throughout the appointment. If you struggle with technology, another person can troubleshoot and fix glitches that salvage your visit if something goes wrong. An extra set of ears and eyes is always helpful when you're receiving crucial medical information.
- Take notes and follow up. Take notes during the appointment—or give this job to your assistant—and follow up with an email or phone call if you have additional questions or concerns.
Remember that your telemedicine appointment is replacing a regular, in-person medical exam, and you should get the same service through the computer you would receive in the office. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself if you're not happy with the care you're receiving.
Contact Jim Monast If You Need Help
If you're struggling to get the medical exam or follow-up care you need for a workers’ comp claim because you can’t see a doctor in person, our team may help. Most injured employees in Ohio should have workers’ comp when they're injured on the job, and our team fights to protect those rights. To learn more, request a free copy of my e-book, The Worker’s Guide to Injury Compensation in Ohio.