Ruchi Kaushik, MD, MPH, FAAP, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics; Medical Director, Complex Needs Clinic
The widespread illness and loss of so many Americans is an absolute tragedy. But one great advancement that has come as a result, and that many of my colleagues and I hope will stay, is the growth in the use of telemedicine. It is a safe, effective, efficient, and convenient method to communicate with your child’s doctor for a variety of health issues. I’d like to share some of my own experiences, both as a leader in telemedicine in our institution and as a parent whose child was seen by one of our specialists over video.
Is it telemedicine or telehealth? Or are they the same?
In a telemedicine video visit, your doctor communicates with you in a two-way video and audio call. Telehealth visits can be for many types of health care delivery, such as physical therapy or medication education.
Telemedicine visits can be by phone or by video. We definitely prefer the video because it gives us the opportunity to see your child so we can get as close to an in-person visit as possible.
Examples of platforms used today for telemedicine visits include Microsoft Teams, Webex, Skype, FaceTime, or Doxy.me. The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio uses Zoom.
Before Your Visit
Before you engage in a telemedicine video visit, be sure to call your doctor to see if the type of visit you need can be done by video. A few other things you will need to participate in such a visit include:
- Electronic device (smart phone, tablet, computer)
- Reliable internet access
- Zoom (either the app or on your internet browser)
- Patient portal account with The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio
Once you schedule the appointment, our staff will send you a link to the Zoom meeting as a message on your patient portal account. Staff will also call you a few minutes before the appointment time to “check-in” your child. Then they will transfer the call to the nurse who will ask you essentially the same questions she asks you when you go to an in-person visit.
Keep your phone near you. My child’s specialist wasn’t too busy (surprisingly!) on the day of her appointment, so they called me a little early to see if we could start before our scheduled time. I definitely appreciated that!
During Your Visit
A few tips to having the best experience:
- “Arrive” on time. It gives us the opportunity to focus on your child for as long as possible!
- Make sure you are on mute and that your video is on.
- Place yourself in a room with few distractions (noise, pets, other children) if possible and safe.
- If you have questions, be sure to write them down ahead of time so you don’t forget during the visit.
- Bring your child! Yes! We definitely need (and want!) to see him.
- Don’t be surprised if we ask to look around your home a bit. There is so much we can learn about your child’s health from their environment.
- Know that you are safe. We take your privacy and safety very seriously and assure you our Zoom connections are secure.
As a parent, I remember sitting on the couch with my 11 year-old daughter wondering if the doctor was going to ask me to show him her belly. And I realized that I wasn’t too comfortable with doing that over a video. We will not ask you to show us parts of the exam that may not be appropriate for video and if there is anything you are uncomfortable doing over video, please let us know. Again, your child’s comfort and safety are our priority!
I have really enjoyed telemedicine video visits, both as a doctor and as a parent. And at this time, it may be ideal for a variety of types of appointments. Be sure to call your doctor to check and see if it is right for you and your child.
To schedule an appointment, check out of webpage https://www.christushealth.org/childrens/services-treatments/primary-care and give us a call!