Virtual Clinic Visits Print Page
Your appointment with your rheumatologist may not be in person, but rather, a virtual visit. This means that at your scheduled appointment time, your rheumatologist will contact you by phone, or perhaps through a secure version of Zoom or similar videoconferencing application.
If you are scheduled for a virtual visit, keep in mind these visits are different than a normal in person visit. Here are some tips to ensure you get the most out of your visit.
How can you prepare for your appointment?
- Have your medications nearby, as your rheumatologist may want to review them with you. This includes over the counter medications, particularly those that you may be taking for pain, as well as natural health products.
- Let your doctor know if you are having any problems with your medications, or have any questions about them..
- Let your doctor know if you need a new prescription, or a new bloodwork requisition. Ask if you want to know the results of any recent tests.
- Let your doctor know if there have been any changes in your overall health since your last appointment, even if it does not seem related to your appointment with your rheumatologist. This may include upcoming doctor appointments or surgeries with other specialists.
- Let your doctor know how your joints are feeling. Feel free to be specific as possible about which joints. Your rheumatologist will want to know if any of your joints have been hurting or are swollen. This is very important, as your rheumatologist cannot examine your joints.
- Ask your doctor any questions you have related to COVID-19.
- Be prepared as much as you can be. Write down any concerns or questions you have for your rheumatologist so you will remember to ask.
In some cases, your rheumatologist may still want to see you in person after your virtual visit if there is any uncertainty to how you are doing, or to help manage your condition better.
Who may be involved in the appointment?
Just like an in person visit, at some virtual visits, your rheumatologist may be working with an allied health professional who may speak with you as well. In addition, your rheumatologist may be working with a medical learner, who could range in their training from a medical student to a senior rheumatology resident. We appreciate the ongoing opportunity to educate our learners as their experiences have been interrupted by COVID-19 as well. As always, if you are not comfortable speaking with a learner, please let them know, and your rheumatologist will call you instead. Either way, in most cases and anytime you want, you will still speak to your rheumatologist after you have spoken with the learner.
Similarly, if there is anyone you want involved in your appointment (family or close friend), that is ok. Please make sure to introduce them at the beginning of the virtual appointment.
What are the next steps after the appointment?
By the end of your virtual visit, you should have a clear plan of what the next steps are: when is your next appointment and how will that be scheduled (do you contact the rheumatologist’s office or will they contact you?), how will your rheumatologist get you new or updated prescriptions, or how will tests be organized. If there is any uncertainty, ask your rheumatologist or call their office.