GUEST BLOG by Dr. Mansur Shomali, Endocrinologist and co-author of the Health & Wellness Series
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have found out that some people with diabetes are more at risk of getting severe symptoms. This is especially true for those who are older, have high blood sugar readings, or are considerably overweight. In order to take care of people but reduce the risk of spreading infections, health care systems began offering video visits. I have done hundreds of these video visits so far this year. These interactions that I have with my patients can be very valuable, but they are definitely different than regular, in-person visits.
Here are some of my thoughts of how you can make the most of a video visit with your doctor or health care provider:
Medications: Gather all of your medications nearby so you can go over them with your doctor, nurse, or medical assistant. Note any refills that you might need sent to the pharmacy. Also write down any side effects or other problems you may have with any of your medications.
Blood Sugar Data: Keep your glucose logs near you so you can discuss them with the doctor or nurse. Reading off one week of data might be useful. One week before your visit, do a few extra blood sugar checks so that you have more information to share on how you are doing. If you have a meter that has an app, you can usually share the data electronically with your health care team. This is particularly useful if you have a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), since there is so much data. Call the office in advance to set up the data sharing process.
Technology: Most calls can be done with a cell phone, computer, or tablet connected to the internet. Find a spot that is comfortable and where the Wi-Fi connection is strong. If you are not familiar with the technology, ask a friend or relative to help you get ready for the visit.
Visit Checklist: Make a list of the most important two or three issues you want to address during the appointment. Stick to this list. Don’t add too many more issues. It is better spending time solving the highest priority issues than superficially discussing many others.