Tips for improving bedside manner in telehealth visits

Residency Program Insider, October 1, 2020

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In a recent Massachusetts General Hospital webinar, Neil Naik, MD, emergency medicine simulation education director at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, offered physicians suggestions on how to improve their bedside manner as they transitioned to providing care via telemedicine, which for many, is not a modality they were very familiar with prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Naik stressed that one of the most crucial aspects of a physician’s bedside manner during a telehealth visit is the ability to convey empathy and understanding during the visit. However, Naik notes that many physicians struggle with this because it requires the physician to utilize a different set of skills, a set that they may not necessarily need to draw on in an in-person visit where these emotions are much easier to convey.

In order to have the most success in a telehealth visit, Naik also recommends that physicians make themselves the focal point on the patient’s screen. Physicians should position themselves in the center of the video, adjust lighting to reduce glare, and clear away any items in the background that could be distracting to them or a patient. Physicians should also not hesitate to ask patient to adjust their lighting or positioning in order to complete the exam appropriately.

Additionally, physicians should ensure the visit remains HIPAA-compliant by removing any unnecessary personnel from the room prior to the start of the visit. They should also confirm the location of a patient during the visit to guarantee that the physician has the correct license to see the patient.   

Source: Becker’s Hospital Review

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