Telehealth has provided new opportunities during these challenging times for physical therapists and patients to stay connected and continue essential care. But as many of you may have experienced already, this new opportunity comes with its own set of unique challenges. While you may be able to handle technology like the latest iPhone and your scheduling system, telehealth tech is its own beast. From lighting to camera angles, here are the 4 Telehealth tech issues to avoid and create a better virtual experience.
Great lighting is essential for creating a positive and productive virtual care experience. Lighting assists your patients in being able to properly view their treatment plan. Poor lighting can make viewing access difficult or impossible for the viewer. Here are a few tips for better lighting:
- Don’t put a light source directly behind you. This will blow out the camera and create bad shadowing.
- Use natural light as much as you can. Fluorescent lighting can be harsh on the eyes. If you have limited access to natural lighting, consider investing in a ring light. Ranging from $25 to $150, ring lights are an easy and affordable lighting option.
- Don’t stand directly in front of a window. Unless you have a camera that automatically adjusts the light capturing, you will be lost in the shadows.
One of the biggest blunders we’ve all discovered in The Age of Zoom is how bad poor volume really is. Difficulty hearing is one of the most frustrating aspects of our new virtual world. Poor volume can be especially dangerous for physical therapists when outlining treatment plan specifications. For better audio quality for your virtual PT appointments, here’s what we recommend:
- Buy a cheap clip on microphone. You can get an easy to use and affordable clip mic that can connect to your phone and effortlessly pick up your audio.
- Speak loudly and clearly. With virtual videos we no longer have the luxury of picking up on nuances and subtleties that happen during in-person conversation.
- Test out your audio prior to connecting with your patients. This will help you determine the quality level of your audio and if there are any adjustments needed or necessary.
Everyone thinks they have a decent Internet connection until it comes time to do something important, like provide virtual PT care. If you’re not sure what your Internet speed is, your service provider should have a section on their app or website for you to check. If your service provider does not have this option, there are free websites that allow you to check your speed manually. For reference, your Internet speed for video conferencing should be about 800 Kbps and have a download speed minimum of 2.5 Mbps.
Bad Camera Position
We all have our own bad angles that subjective, but for virtual care there are objectively bad angles. From being too close to being too far away, bad camera angles can mean the difference between a productive virtual PT care session and a bad one. We recommend these tips for better camera position:
- Place the camera at eye level
- Keep the camera about 1 arms length distance from you
- Make sure you have plenty of room to move around while you demonstrate any stretches or exercises
- Have a clean backdrop
- Use a stable surface for your camera like a tripod