pediatric telemedicine visit

General Health & Wellness • Apr 14, 2020

A Parent’s Guide to a Pediatric Telemedicine Visit

My priority during the COVID-19 pandemic is to keep my patients healthy and safe. This means being able to continue to evaluate and treat children for acute illnesses and problems as well as manage chronic medical conditions, all while minimizing a family’s likelihood of exposure to the COVID-19 virus. The fewer times you interact with people outside your home, the lower your risk of contracting the virus and then spreading it to someone else. A pediatric telemedicine visit allows your pediatrician to see and treat your child from the safety of your home.

After talking with you and reviewing your child’s medical history, your doctor will decide if the concern you have can be evaluated and/or treated with a telemedicine visit, usually a video visit. Sore throat, rashes, colds, vomiting and diarrhea illnesses are common conditions that are appropriate for a telemedicine visit. In addition, many common chronic medical conditions needing routine follow-ups can be cared for via telemedicine visits until the COVID-19 risk declines. These may include ADHD, anxiety, depression, weight management, constipation, GERD, sleep disorders, asthma, seasonal allergies, eczema and chronic migraine. I also use telemedicine visits for breastfeeding and newborn follow-up visits for healthy newborns after the initial office visit. Every office is different, so it is best to ask your physician how to best handle after-hours concerns, and if there is any variation from their usual protocols.

How to get ready for your pediatric telemedicine visit:

  • Take any photos (e.g., rashes) and complete any questionnaires (e.g.,  ADHD, depression, anxiety) that your doctor has requested.
  • Get a temperature and weight for your child if you are able.
  • Take your child and device to a quiet room with good lighting.
  • Grab a flashlight and some toys your child likes for distraction.
  • Make sure your child is wearing clothes that can easily be lifted or moved aside to show chest/breathing and tummy, or any skin rashes you are concerned about. If we can’t see it, we can’t tell you what it is!
  • Be prepared to serve as our “assistant” to feel your child’s tummy or check their neck for lymph nodes to help us examine your child.

Telemedicine visits for acute concerns such as ear pain, cough, cold symptoms or rashes can result in your doctor prescribing antibiotics, OTC medications or other prescription medications if needed, or home care advice. Your doctor may ask you to bring your child into the office for further examination if needed. Most well checks, the 1st newborn visit after hospital discharge, breathing concerns, belly pain and injuries will need to be seen in the office.

We understand families are scared right now, and the idea of going into a doctor’s office for anything is more terrifying than going into a grocery store. Remember, we are as interested in protecting you and your family as we are in protecting our own families. We are going to do everything we can to take care of your child while also keeping you safe.

We are all looking forward to seeing our littles and their families back in the office—we miss you!