WHAT IS TELEHEALTH?
Telehealth technology allows us to communicate remotely with medical and mental health providers—a valuable resource in this unprecedented time of social distancing, self-isolation and quarantine. This technology allows us to “meet” with our providers on a virtual platform from the comfort of our own homes. Despite telehealth’s many redeeming qualities, the idea of a video chat or phone call with a professional may spark anxiety for clients.
Suggestions to help ease the transition from in-person counseling to a telehealth platform:
*Explore your provider’s telehealth system on your own before your next session
*Visit the website for your provider’s virtual sessions. Many sites offer written and video instructions for
how to access the telehealth portal for your appointments—as well as guidance on how to use the
features of their software. Zoom and Doxy.me are examples of platforms your provider may use to
meet with you virtually.
*Try a video chat or a phone call with a close friend or family member.
*Consider increasing your comfort level by having video calls with your friends, family or colleagues.
*Sometimes how we see ourselves on camera can be distracting, it helps to become familiar with this
experience while interacting with someone we know and trust.
*Ask your provider for a test call.
*Perhaps the pressure of talking for forty-five minutes or an hour on a video call sounds intimidating, but
a 5 minute test call may feel more manageable. Your provider can walk you through the features of
your telehealth platform while you get acquainted with seeing him or her on camera. This is an
opportunity to test out the different options you may have for video or audio settings, too!
*Make adjustments during a call if you begin to feel anxious.
It’s possible to customize your virtual session experience, including camera and microphone settings.
You can turn off your camera or focus it on an object in the room if you become uncomfortable with
seeing yourself or being seen by your provider. There are also options to mute your microphone, or to
have a meeting with audio-only.
*Be kind to yourself if you feel anxious, be proud of yourself for trying something new. We can experience a lot of satisfaction when we try and succeed in a new experience. Anxiety is often an unwelcome intrusion to meeting our personal and social goals. Set small goals for yourself, start with something simple and take little steps. Soon you’ll master telehealth and your anxiety.
DOES INSURANCE COVER TELEHEATH?
While BCBS and Tufts Commercial Plans often cover telehealth services, coverage must first be confirmed by the subscriber. This can be achieved by placing a phone call to their respective insurance carrier.