Many physicians are turning to telehealth to meet the needs of their patients. But there is definitely an art (and, of course, science) to being a true telemed pro. We spoke with Dr. Fara Kamangar about how she’s optimized her digital practice over the last few months.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your practice and how it’s changed during COVID-19.
A: I am a dermatologist in Palo Alto, CA at a multispecialty clinic, seeing all ages for medical and cosmetic dermatology needs. Prior to COVID-19, I saw 30+ patients in clinic a day, but with telehealth, I am seeing 10-20 patients. We’re accustomed to a flow in the clinic where our team handles everything prior to the visit. With video calls, a lot of the technical support falls on the physician, which is why it’s so important to have the fewest amount of barriers possible to save time. Our patients love having a telehealth option.
Q: How does telehealth work best for your practice?
Telehealth is an incredible tool and works really well with certain indications such as for follow-up medications. Video can also be challenging and not feasible for certain conditions such as preventive skin exam screenings or to rule out a malignancy. In these situations, video visits still have a role in triage.
Q: Share your tips on how to put your best foot forward in a virtual practice.
I try to maintain the same level of professionalism that I would at the office: wear the white coat, have good placement and lighting, and maintain eye contact. Ensure your phone or laptop is at a good angle and I even have a halo light I will use if I’m in a location that’s not well lit. Once you’re in the visit, it’s important to build the same rapport as you would in the office. I like to start with a script for how the visit will unfold so my patients know what to expect. It’s just as important to set guidelines for what we won’t be able to do in a video visit and will require an in-person consult.
Q: Why do you like Dialer Video?
It’s essential that telehealth is reliable and as easy as possible, both for me and my patients. Shaving even five minutes off a visit means being more productive that day. Dialer Video is so simple that really anyone of any age or tech skill background can do it. It’s the easiest solution out there. It all comes down to whether or not we were able to connect. When I use Dialer Video, I’ve never had a patient unable to connect.