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Have a virtual doctor's appointment? Here's how to get the most out of your time.

More than 80 percent of Dr. Gutierrez's appointments are over the internet during COVID-19. He shared some tips on how to maximize the time with your provider.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — COVID-19 has changed almost all parts of our lives, from work to family time. It's likely that much of your day is spent communicating virtually. The same applies to doctor's appointments.

Over the last few weeks, Cone Health has completed more than 10,000 virtual visits. Dr. Javier Gutierrez of LeBauer HealthCare at Stoney Creek, a part of Cone Health Medical Group, said more than 80 percent of his appointments are now online. 

"We’re trying to minimize in-office visits. We’ve canceled most of the routine physicals or in-office follow-ups and wellness visits. We’re trying to do as much as we can virtually," Gutierrez said. 

Gutierrez and his colleagues are seeing a wide range of patients on their online platforms, but they want your time to be used wisely. He offered the following tips to maximize your visit.

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  1. Be familiar with the technology. Turn it on and sign in, if you can, to make sure your audio and video is working 
  2. Have a list of questions ready. 
  3. Check vitals with equipment on hand like a scale, thermometer or blood pressure cuff.
  4. If you check blood pressure or sugar levels, have your log ready like you would a regular office visit.
  5. Have a list of medicines and supplements available. 
  6. Wear loose-fitting clothes so you can easily show the provider a concern.
  7. Review a follow-up plan at the end of the visit.

Gutierrez said the staff will walk you through the software, but it's better to troubleshoot before so you don't have that added stress during your appointment. He also said your primary care provider is the best place to turn for any concerns, even if you think it may be related to COVID-19.

"Since primary care providers have long-term relationships with patients, we still want to be the place that you go to to get your questions answered," he said. "So even if you’re having respiratory symptoms, give us a call. We know you and we can tell you when you can safely manage those symptoms at home or when you do need to seek urgent or emergency care."

As far as insurance coverage, most major providers are covering virtual visits like an in-house appointment, but it's important to check with your plan first.

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