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Preparing patients for telehealth

The transition to telehealth platforms is an adjustment for patients as well as health care providers. By preparing your patients for this new experience, you help ensure their comfort and maintain quality care.

Announcing the availability of telehealth

Once you’re ready to let your patients know that you offer telehealth, you’ll want to communicate this multiple ways to increase visibility. You may consider:

  • Updating your website
  • Sending an email to patients
  • Mailing a letter or postcard
  • Sharing information via social media
  • Announcing services in local newspapers and radio

Prioritizing what to tell patients

Patients are likely to have a lot of questions about what to expect from a telehealth visit. Here are some key things you can cover to help them feel at ease.

Telehealth basics

  • What telehealth is
  • How you ensure personal information is protected
  • What types of care you offer through telehealth
  • Where to find your electronic Notice of Privacy Practices
  • How the visit may be different from an in-person visit

Example of a patient handout: How Patients Can Engage Telehealth exit disclaimer icon (PDF) — from the National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers.

Benefits of telehealth

  • Safety — reduces everyone’s exposure during COVID-19
  • Convenience
  • Time-saving — no need to commute


  • When you offer telehealth visits
  • How patients can schedule a telehealth appointment

Preparing for a visit

  • How patients will connect with you, such as through a video conferencing tool
  • What patients will need in order to use the system — for example, if they need to download an application
  • How to set up for an appointment
  • What to do if they need help troubleshooting
  • What to wear to an appointment — like loose clothing if needed
  • Any pre-appointment instructions — like taking their temperature

Template for a patient handout: Patient Instructions for a Successful Telehealth Visit exit disclaimer icon (PDF) — from Caravan Health.

Supporting patients who can’t afford internet or phone services

One of the biggest barriers that prevents patients from doing telehealth is not being able to afford the cost of internet or phone services. Federal and non-profit organizations may be able to help.

Last updated: September 11, 2020