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Virtual Health Visits: A guide for what to expect and how to prepare as a parent

What are virtual health visits:

  • Virtual health visits are visits that do NOT take place in the medical clinic, but through a computer, smart phone with a screen, or even just a telephone.Due to COVID19, many people prefer not to go into a doctor’s office, to reduce the risk of potential exposure to the coronavirus
  • Some parts of child-care simply have to be done in the office. For example, if your child needs vaccines, or if they are sick and need a doctor to look in their throat. However, a lot of medical care for your child does not require you to come into the office. For example, discussing lab results or a new treatment option. Or talking about some lifestyle or behavior challenges and working through solutions together.
  • Medical providers usually prefer a video visit over a phone visit. We like to see you and your child! Also, if something comes up that you want us to look at, like a rash, we can do that most of the time by video.

How can I schedule a virtual health visit with my child’s provider:

  • You can schedule a virtual health visit like you would schedule an in-person visit!
  • You can call your child’s provider’s office or schedule online through the patient portal, MyChart.
  • If you had an appointment scheduled for this summer, it may now be online.

How can I prepare:

Some of the things you do to prepare for your child’s in-person medical appointment you can also do for their virtual health visit:

1 week before the appointment:

  • Gather a list of your child’s current medications.
  • Write down questions.
  • Write down any updates about your child’s health.

Right before the appointment:

  • Ensure that you and your child are sitting in a comfortable space.
  • If this is a physical therapy appointment, your child may need to walk or move around so try to find an area in your home that allows for this.
  • Try to minimize noise in your home so both you and your child’s provider can hear each other.

What can I expect:

  • You will receive a reminder call before your child’s appointment to confirm your child’s appointment time and your child’s health information.
  • There are two ways your provider may contact you at your appointment time.
    1. Most likely this visit will be through your child’s Duke MyChart account. At your appointment time: go to visits, appointments and visits, upcoming visits, select the visit under “upcoming visits”. If you have questions about MyChart, need help setting-up a MyChart account, or have a teenage child (12-17 years old) and need to set up a teen MyChart account., please call Duke Customer Service at 919-620-4555.
    2. If it is not possible for you to access MyChart, you will receive a text message or email asking you to join a video call. This message will provide a link that you should click on to take you to the appointment. This call will be very similar to a video call you may have with a family member or friend on a platform like FaceTime or Zoom.

What if my provider doesn’t login at the appointment time?

Remember that your provider is seeing other patients, some of them may be in-person and some may be by video, so they may be running a bit late, depending on the day. Please hang tight on the line and we will join you just as soon as we can.

Virtual health visits are new and different than what we are used to, but all the Healthy Lifestyles providers are committed to making sure you get the best care and you are able to talk about all your questions and concerns from the safety of your own home.

Written by Grace Pelak

MPH Candidate 2021 | Nutrition Concentration

Gillings School of Global Public Health, the University of North Carolina