Following the COVID-19 pandemic, many health care providers including gynecologists are now seeing their patients virtually either with Zoom or another web-conferencing platform. Many teens have never had a virtual doctor’s appointment so it’s completely normal to feel a bit stressed the first time. Some teens might assume that since they are not actually going to their provider’s office, they don’t have to take it seriously, but that isn’t the case. It’s actually super important to understand that your virtual visit is just as important and to prepare for it. Being prepared for your virtual visit will make you feel less stressed and more in control.
How can a gynecology appointment be virtual?
You are most likely used to seeing your gynecologist in-person; however, many offices are now offering virtual visits for safety reasons. The good news is that many gynecologic concerns don’t really need to be addressed in person. Examples of some concerns that are perfect for a virtual visit include: birth control pill refills, period problems, and post-operative appointments. Other issues may require an in-person visit for an exam, such as a new vaginal discharge. If you feel that your concerns would be better addressed in-person, ask to speak with a nurse. The staff will figure out the best way for your needs to be met.
What should I do to prepare for my virtual gynecology appointment at Boston Children’s Hospital?
It’s very important that you and your parent/guardian (if you are under 18 years old) are prepared ahead of time for your virtual visit. You should receive an email 24-48 hours before your appointment that confirms the date/time and name of the provider. This email will contain everything you need to know for your virtual visit. It’s very important that you don’t delete the email because it contains: the web address, appointment ID number (similar to a username), and the appointment password. Make sure that you save the email or print it and keep it in a safe place so it’s handy on the day of your appointment. If you are unfamiliar with the web-platform that your provider is using, instructions will be included in your confirmation email.
Here are some helpful tips on how to prepare for your Virtual GYN Visit:
- Check your internet connection – Test out your internet connection with a friend or family member ahead of time. Choose a space in your home (for the visit) where you have a strong internet signal.
- Choose a quiet location – Treat your virtual visit like an in-person visit. Try to avoid any distractions in the background such as loud noises, other people and pets. This is your visit, make the most of it.
- Privacy – Make sure to pick a quiet and private place in your home, before your virtual visit starts. If you are under 18 years old, your Gynecologist may want to speak with you alone, before they invite your parent or guardian to join. Use this opportunity to ask confidential questions. Your provider will tell you when you can invite your parent or guardian to join the virtual visit.
- Bring questions – Just like an in-person visit, it’s a good idea to write down any questions you might have for your Gynecologist before your appointment.
- Be ready – Make sure you are awake, dressed, and ready for your appointment. Your provider may only wait a certain amount of time until you are considered late, or a “no show.”
- Join the virtual appointment early – You should be able to join your virtual visit before the actual start time. Try to log on about 5 to 10 minutes before the appointment. If you have any trouble, call the GYN office right away so they can trouble shoot the issue as quickly as possible.
What else can I accomplish virtually?
Appointments are not the only virtual aspect in healthcare! Many providers are now using an electronic medical record system that includes a patient portal. Through a patient portal, you can look up laboratory or imaging results, your medication list, and healthcare summaries. You can also message the schedulers, nurses, or your providers. If you are interested, ask how you can sign up and access the Boston Children’s Hospital patient portal.