Lots of us are used to using video chats to talk to our friends and family, but it's a different matter entirely when it comes to consultations. After all, you want to come across as professional, friendly and in control. So here are the main things to remember.
- Keep it professional. Wear uniform and choose a plain background. Try to keep distractions, such as children or pets, out of the room. A stethoscope around your shoulders can add to the professional image as well.
- Introduce yourself to the client as you would normally, and check that they can hear you. Explain to your client the reason for the video and the limitations so that they understand the process.
- There are likely to be glitches in the video and drops in the sound, especially where internet speeds are low. Don't be afraid to ask a client to repeat themselves, and make sure you summarise regularly, as it's possible neither of you will realise there's been a drop in sound.
- Active listening is more important than ever in a video consultation. Remember, the client may miss small gestures, particularly if they are not in the frame of the camera. Nodding and little 'uh huh' noises help to reassure them that you are listening to them.
- When you do a normal clinical exam with the client present, your client can see what you're doing. Over video, they can't see this, and you're just peering at a screen- so you will need to signpost for them. Try "I'd like to have a closer look at his eyes to see if.... so if you could move the phone closer for me..." or "I can see from the way he's walking that...'. You need to let them know that you're still doing an exam, not just having a chat.
If you want to read more tips on remote examination, see our other help guides here.