It can help if, just before the visit, you:
- Weigh your child
- Check your child’s temperature
- Check your child’s heart rate or pulse check your child’s respiratory rate (count the breaths per minute)
- Write down all of the medicines your child has been taking
- Write down all of your child’s symptoms, including how long they have had them and if they are getting better or worse
- Write down how your child’s symptoms are affecting their eating, sleeping, and other activities, for example, are they drinking fluids, playful, consolable, or are they just crying all of the time?
- Write down any questions you have, as you might forget them during the telemedicine visit!
- Make sure you have a flashlight handy in case your provider wants to take a look at your child’s throat. Maybe even practice having them open wide before the visit.
- And most importantly, understand how you are going to connect to your pediatric provider for the online visit! Are you using Facetime, Skype, or a website like doxy.me, etc?
Telemedicine Do’s and Don’ts
Are you and your child (yes, you want your child to be with you during the telemedicine visit!) ready for your first telemedicine visit with your pediatric provider?
Do have everything ready at home and be prepared for when your pediatric provider “shows up” to the visit.
It is also a good idea that you:
- Don’t use medical terminology, like lethargic (is your child really hard to wake up?), dehydrated (just mention the last time your child urinated, etc.), or say that your child is having trouble breathing (is your child breathing fast and hard or having trouble catching their breath?) – instead, just describe what your child is doing and how they are acting, which, since it is a telemedicine visit, your provider will actually get to see for themselves!
- Don’t say that you can’t control your child’s fever, if what you really mean is that it goes back up after their fever reducer wears off, and remember that fever is typically just a symptom, like a cough or runny nose, and not a sign of how sick your child is don’t ask for or expect a prescription, especially for an antibiotic, just because you had an online visit with your provider. Studies have found high rates of antibiotic prescribing during telemedicine visits, especially for kids with respiratory infections, and that hopefully won’t continue as telehealth becomes more popular. avoid sitting in a dark or noisy room, as that will make it harder for your provider to see and hear you
- And at the end of the visit, make sure you understand your child’s diagnosis, recommendations for treatment, and most importantly, don’t forget to ask when you should expect that your child should begin to get better and the signs to look for that might indicate that they are getting worse.
“We recognize we are all practicing pediatrics in circumstances we have never encountered before in our careers.”
Sally Goza, MD, FAAPPresident, American Academy of Pediatrics
Are there limits to telemedicine?
We can’t sew up a cut that needs stitches, for example, but you know what? If your child falls and cuts themselves, we can do a telemedicine visit to let you know if they do need stitches, maybe saving you a visit to the office or the ER.
Ideally, we would continue to see kids in our office when they are sick, but until the COVID-19 pandemic is over, telemedicine is a great alternative to help us keep all of our kids healthy and recognize when they are truly sick, perhaps even needing immediate medical attention.