“The COVID-19 pandemic has upended health care, with telemedicine emerging as a strategy to reduce risk exposures for patients and clinicians. Video visits, in particular, can be effective for many types of clinical care and offer convenience and savings for patients. As care shifts to this virtual modality, however, there is a risk of jeopardizing the meaningful human interaction that is critical to clinical care and impactful to patients and clinicians alike.
The communication challenges of telemedicine, further compounded by COVID-19 related stress, call for strategies to help clinicians forge meaningful interactions with patients during virtual visits. The Presence 5, published earlier this year in JAMA, comprises evidence-based guidelines to foster humanism and connection in clinical care. Reconceptualizing this framework for video visits offers several strategies aligned with the Presence 5 practices: prepare with intention, listen intently and completely, agree on what matters most, connect with the patient’s story, and explore emotional cues. Prioritizing explicit humanistic practices can help clinicians foster meaningful virtual connections with patients amidst this challenging pandemic and in the future as telemedicine becomes more widely integrated into clinical care.”
Megha Shankar is an internal medicine physician.
She shares her story and discusses the KevinMD article that she co-wrote, “Strategies to foster meaningful connection during telemedicine visits.”
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