#394 Questions runners should ask doctor during a telemedicine visit - DOC

#394 Questions runners should ask doctor during a telemedicine visit

Today on the Doc On The Run podcast, we’re talking about why you need to make a list for your telemedicine visit.

Just this morning I was interviewed on a television program about telemedicine and they invited me to come on as an expert to talk about the changes in telemedicine that have come about as a result of the pandemic. And, I have been doing telemedicine for a little more than 10 years. So, they asked me to come on and they’re asking me all kinds of questions about how more accepted it is, how common it is and how telemedicine may have changed the way that we all go in and receive healthcare.

So we were talking about lots of different things during this discussion and I was explaining that I started doing telemedicine just to make a way for simpler follow-up business to not have a situation where you have to take your kid out of school and take time off of work just to have me look at something that may have already healed after you had a procedure or something like that.

We talked about the way that telemedicine can be one of the best ways to really get a clear answer on whether or not it’s safe for you to run if you have something common in runners like a metatarsal stress fracture. But we were talking about all the different ways that things can be more helpful in telemedicine and then at the end, I was asked an interesting question, and I remembered that I actually created this list years ago for runners to actually take to their in-person doctor visits.

Then, I realized that if you’re a runner and you’re going to have a telemedicine visit with an expert who is going to give you a second opinion on your running injury, the most important thing you can do is to actually make sure that you direct the conversation instead of letting the doctor direct the conversation. I know a lot about running injuries and I’ve been treating runners for a long time, but if you come to me and you say that you have pain and you don’t tell me what your goals are, I’m going to be most focused on fixing the problem as I see it.

But, the point of this list that I created is to help you go into the doctor’s office and then direct their attention in the way that’s most helpful for you. Because if your foot hurts and you’re an injured runner, the problem is not that your foot hurts, the problem is that that foot pain is interfering with your training and potentially interfering with your ability to complete some race or just participate in an activity that you really love like running.

So, when you go into the doctor’s office, you need to have a prepared list to focus that conversation. This is about focusing on the solution and not the problem. It’s really that simple. So, the list of 10 questions I came up with, they basically get your doctor to pay attention to what really is most important to you.

Number one, about your goal and about how to get the doctor to stop for a second and stop thinking about the problem, meaning the Achilles tendon issue or the stress fracture or the shin splints or whatever, and to actually get the doctor to think about what you could do to actually maintain your running fitness and get back to running sooner, and that’s really what you need to do.

The reason that I put this list together and then mentioned it during this interview on telemedicine, is that I realized that a lot of doctors actually they book time for telemedicine visits if they also have a normal practice, but what happens is that you probably don’t realize is that they’re actually really pressed for time, even though it should be simpler. They actually do wind up being pressed for time because not every doctor has a practice like mine. I schedule an hour for telemedicine visits.

So, if you go to the website, and you book a telemedicine visit, whether it’s a phone call consultation or a webcam consultation, it’s booked for an hour, so I have the whole hour blocked off and then it automatically actually blocks additional time before and after that visit, so that I can make sure that I’m set up and ready to go and I have time to wrap up if something happens at the end, maybe if you have problems logging on or something that we have plenty of time to go over, if necessary.

Now, most doctors don’t do that. What you think is when you book a telemedicine visit, everything’s going to go like clockwork, but if you’ve been doing Zoom calls or webcam calls for any time at all, I’m sure you’ve had a circumstance where things didn’t work the way they’re supposed to. The thing wouldn’t load or your microphone’s on mute or something happens that actually delays the start of the conversation, that does happen, and when it happens and your doctor has these things scheduled every 10 minutes or every 15 minutes, well, that cuts into your time, or it cuts into the time for the next patient.

Well, if you’re the next patient, you get the short end of the stick. So, you’ve got to really be prepared to move quickly and focus the doctor’s attention and that is what that list will do for you. It’s really simple. It’s free, you can go get it. It’s the Doc on the Run website. You just go to docontherun.com/questions, and you can print out this list of 10 questions that you should take to your doctor’s office, and then ask the doctor those actual questions. And if you’re doing a telemedicine visit for something else, this will also be equally helpful for you. Just print it out and modify it in a way that you need to make sure that you get the help that you need, so you can get back to running as quickly as possible. Go check it out.