Videoconferencing Tips for Patients

Spending a few minutes to set up and test your videoconference equipment will help ensure the best results during our appointments. Here are some pointers:

Setting: Choose a private setting where no one else can see or hear us. Some good choices are: a well-lit room with the door closed, your parked car, or a shaded outdoor area with little traffic. Choose a time and place where you won’t be interrupted. Turn off the TV and close any programs or apps on your device that may distract you.

Lighting: Illumination from the front or side helps me see you. If the light is behind you, you will appear as a silhouette, and it will be harder for me to see your expression. If you are outdoors on a sunny day, position yourself in the shade, as the bright sunlight may wash out the picture.

Sound: Use a headset with a built-in microphone such as you would use to talk or listen to music on your cell phone. They are available at the pharmacy for about $20. This will help you hear me better and prevents others from overhearing what I say to you. It also helps me hear you better.

Position: To obtain the best results with your videocamera, place your device on a steady, level surface such as a desk. If you need to hold your camera in your hand, hold it steady and stay in one position. Keep the camera pointed at your face around eye level, at a distance that allows me to see your entire face. Remember, just because you can see my face on the screen does not guarantee I can see yours.

In some cases I may need to see your entire body while sitting, standing or walking (for example, to evaluate gait or tremors). Find a way to position the camera so that I can see you from head to toe.

Technical Setup: Videoconferencing requires a fast and steady internet connection. The best connections are wired (ethernet) connections, followed by wifi, followed by cell network. Before your first appointment, set up a training session with my receptionist to ensure your equipment works. Whenever you change your equipment, for example by getting a new phone, computer or operating system, or a new internet connection, I recommend setting up a training session with my receptionist. I encourage you to ask for as much help as you need.

The Telepsychiatry Consent Form in your intake packet has more information. I encourage you to read it carefully and ask any questions.

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