Virtual visits are really coming into their own as a convenient way of getting medical care. In light of the current pandemic, it can also be safer. One of the drawbacks, though, is limited objective data from a physical examination. A reliable set of vitals, though, goes a long way in safe decision-making during a virtual visit.
Part of the reason that medical exams are in person is to gather objective data from the patient to help make a diagnosis and triage whether it is safe to wait or not in terms of going to a hospital. Your vital signs are key data points used in making that decision. The big four vital signs are temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and pulse oximetry.
When you have home health equipment on hand to measure those key vital signs you can give your doctor the information they need to make better care decisions for you.
Three key pieces of home health equipment needed for a virtual visit:
Thermometer- to measure your body temperature. There are a few different types of thermometers but I prefer the simple and cheap oral digital type. Just be sure to avoid hot or cold beverages before you use one.
The forehead, temporal, and ear scanning type are nice, quick, and accurate, especially for kids, but they are more expensive.
A rectal thermometer is the preferred choice for infants under one year and children under three in certain circumstances. If you have little ones in your home, make sure to have a rectal thermometer on hand – they’re the same type as oral thermometers, but we recommend a separate thermometer for each use, for what we hope are obvious reasons!
Automated Blood Pressure Cuff– to measure blood pressure and heart rate. Although this is something people relate to doing in a doctor’s office there are quality machines that you can buy for home use. They are simple to operate and provide relevant information for a virtual visit. We prefer the upper arm cuff machines. Measure your upper arm to make sure you buy the correct size.
Pulse Oximeter- to measure how well your lungs are putting oxygen in your blood. This information is particularly important for kids because a lot of times their symptoms for a serious illness can be related to respiratory problems.
Virtual visits are included in your Mission Direct Primary Care membership. With these four pieces of health data in addition to your health history and symptoms, I have the information I need to provide a very thorough virtual visit to access your illness and make a treatment plan. This simple equipment can be purchased at most stores, including Amazon.