If scheduling a virtual doctor's appointment sounds great — except for figuring out the technology involved — know that a few key tips can make the process a lot less daunting. First, you'll need to decide if you want to do so with a mobile phone, tablet or computer. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, and with any, you'll want to do a trial run a few days before your appointment. Here's the basic 411 on each.
1. Using a smartphone
Pros: It's a mobile device, so you can easily show your doctor a rash, for instance — or take a picture of it and easily send it to your doctor prior to your appointment. In addition, you can “see” your doctor when you're away from home. Since video and audio components are built in, a mobile phone is pretty simple to use. “You don't have to worry about the microphone settings because the audio is always on,” explains Matthew Faiman, M.D., medical director of Express Care Online at the Cleveland Clinic.
Cons: You'll need to download an app or two, which can be a little more complicated. You might need to download the Zoom (videoconferencing service) app, the MyChart electronic medical records app or your hospital's app. In some cases, your doctor's office will send you an email with a link to download an app that they use for videoconferencing or medical records. Otherwise, you can go to your hospital's website and click on a link to download the app.
You can also search for the MyChart app or other apps you need in the App Store (for Apple devices) or Google Play store (for Android devices). If you have an iPhone, you'll click the Get button to download the app. Depending on your phone's settings, you may need to log in with your Apple ID to start the download. Afterward, you'll click the Install button. If you have an Android device, you'll click on Install, then on the Open button. The first time you use a MyChart app, you'll be prompted to select your hospital and create an account. Once you have an account, you can use the app to launch a video visit, schedule an appointment and view your medical information.