Tips to make the most of your health care visits during COVID-19

A virtual or in-person health appointment may seem stressful under current circumstances, but a little planning and communication can help you make the most of every visit.  

Ontario has more than 400,000 regulated health professionals including doctors, massage therapists, physiotherapists, opticians, occupational therapists and more. Regulated health professionals have been following the direction of the Ministry of Health and the guidance of their regulatory colleges to resume appointments and help keep patients safe.  

While some appointments may still be in-person, many health professionals have been using alternatives like virtual visits to help maintain physical distancing and limit exposure to COVID-19.  

Before any appointment, you can visit ontariohealthregulators.ca for a full list of Ontario’s regulated health professions. You can access each regulatory college’s website to find out more about your practitioner and learn how they are protecting you and your loved ones.   

Here are some additional tips to help ensure your appointment runs as smoothly as possible: 

Virtual Visits 

  • Make sure you have all the equipment you need including a laptop, tablet or smartphone, a good internet connection and headphones. You may need to download an app or software. Your health professional will provide these instructions. Test your audio, camera and internet before the appointment to make sure everything is working. 
  • Find a quiet space with few distractions and good lighting – it is important that you and the practitioner can concentrate and be able to see clearly. 
  • Follow the instructions from your health professional and be sure to complete and submit any paperwork before the appointment.  
  • Come prepared with a list of current medications and any questions you would like to ask. Open communication is important and will help your practitioner understand your needs and goals.  
  • Consider having a partner, caregiver or trusted family member or friend join you if it is safe to do so. They can help you with technology, raise concerns that might be missed or even take notes for you.  

In-Person Visits 

  • Consider calling the office prior to your visit to find out what is expected of you before, during and after the appointment. For example, should you arrive no more than a few minutes early and are you allowed to bring someone with you. Note that guidance may vary depending on the profession. 
  • Wear a face mask or face covering to your appointment and wash your hands frequently.  
  • Ask your practitioner if there are any forms or screening documents you can complete before your appointment to limit your time in the waiting area.  
  • Come prepared with a list of questions and any updates to your health so that your appointment can be as efficient as possible. If you forget to ask something, do not hesitate to contact your practitioner after your appointment.