University HealthCare Alliance

April 17, 2020

Virtual Visits: Connecting with Patients

Sometimes the smallest things can make everything better: the touch of a hand, a smile, an unexpected note from an old friend.  As physicians, we have all these tools at our disposal to make our patients feel better.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, our ability to hold someone’s hand when they are anxious – the reassuring touch is not possible, but we can still virtually “touch “our patients.  Being a family physician, I had the opportunity to see entire families crowd around the screen to say hello; I have seen my patients’ pets, my 5-year old patient’s drawings, I was able to lower my mask to smile reassuringly and provide some comfort to my anxious patients.

In this new era of more virtual contact with our patients, it might be useful to review a few communication tips for virtual visits. The Academy of Communications in Healthcare (ACH) and VitalTalk have both released tools to navigate challenging conversations around COVID-19.