How to better engage with healthcare provider using telehealth care

Telemedicine electronic medical record patient portals and email provide opportunities for improved communication between patients and healthcare professionals.

As a patient:

As a patient with a chronic condition rheumatoid arthritis, I have found using an email patient portal to communicate with my healthcare providers is highly effective and efficient. Prior to my scheduled appointment, I will write a summary to share with my healthcare provider and include information about my:

  • Current signs and symptoms, not my Dr. Google diagnosis
  • Current medications
  • Expectations or goals
  • Current functional limitations using Patient specific functional scores Patient specific functional scale measures are a good way to communicate about functional limitations associated with musculoskeletal pain syndromes. Patient specific functional score shares how pain is limiting the ability to function. I identify activities I find difficult to perform due to health conditions or pain and rate the difficulty on a zero to 10 scale (zero NO difficulty 10 unable to perform).
  • Questions I wish to discuss.

Have you ever been annoyed during team meetings at work when the agenda has not been shared before the meeting? If the team leader shares the agenda prior to the meeting, team members have an opportunity to prepare and suggest additions to the agenda ahead of time. Not having an agenda before team meetings have always frustrated me.

Sharing information with your healthcare provider before the appointment is analogous to sharing an agenda before a team meeting.

Sharing what I would like to include on the agenda prior to the meeting with my healthcare providers provides assurances that my upcoming face-to-face visit will have a higher level of engagement and address my questions, confusion, and concerns.

I take time to write a draft of an email before posting it in the patient portal. My practice is to put my writing to bed, sleep on it and come back later. I have never written a first draft better than a later draft. Paraphrasing one of my teachers you can divorce and separate from your spouse, but you cannot divorce or separate from your published writing. As the saying goes, write, edit, repeat.”

Writing without revising is the literary equivalent of waltzing gaily out of the house in your underwear. - Patricia Fuller

As a healthcare provider:

As a healthcare provider, I appreciate it when my patient communicates with me via email prior to their scheduled appointment with the above information. It facilitates my preparation. It cues me as to what research or evidence I can review prior to the meeting. It facilitates prioritization and sequencing of the upcoming meeting. It assists in keeping the process patient centered.

Healthcare professionals universally loathe the burden of documentation requirements. As a healthcare professional, I do not find satisfaction in participating in the process of documentation. For me, satisfaction and passion come from helping solve patients’ problems. My desire is to spend time with patients rather than the keyboard. I appreciate it when my patient assumes some of the documentation burdens by providing information in their own words, especially when it is clear and concise.

The information on this website is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You are encouraged to perform additional research regarding any information contained available through this website with other sources and consult with your physician.

Damien Howell Physical Therapy – 804-647-9499 – Fax: 866-879-8591 At-Home, At Office, At Fitness Facility – I come to you, I do home visits

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.