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How to conduct a practice Telehealth appointment

In order to feel confident and prepared when it is time for your first video appointment, we recommend doing a few test appointments with friends or family. This article will go over how to prepare for and conduct a test appointment. 

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Step 1: Choose a space

Choose a space in your home or office where you’ll have your appointment. Make sure that this space is private and away from household members, coworkers, pets or any other potential distractions.

Things to keep in mind include:

  • LightingYou’ll need adequate lighting during your appointment, so your client can see your face as clearly as they could in person. Try not to sit with your back to any light source (i.e., sunlight), and check your webcam to make sure your entire face is illuminated on screen. This may require bringing in additional lighting.
  • NoiseAdvise others in your home or office that you will need to be undisturbed for the duration of your appointment. Close the door, close windows, turn off radios, cell phones, and televisions. Consider hanging a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door. And if possible, avoid doing your appointment in rooms where external sounds like doorbells and ringing phones can cause a disturbance.

Step 2: Create an appointment

  1. Log into your SimplePractice account.
  2. From the calendar view, double click on the time slot you would like to schedule the appointment. In order to send an appointment reminder, be sure to schedule your appointment at least 30 minutes from the current time.
  3. Click New Client.
  4. Enter your client’s first name, last name, and email, and set the Location to Video Office on the calendar flyout window.
  5. Click Add this Client. You will then be redirected back to the New Appointment flyout window.
  6. Click Done if all the information is correct.

calendar-flyout-telehealth-set-office-to-video-simplepractice.png

Client reminders for video appointments 

When there is a video appointment on your schedule (that was scheduled at least 24 hours before the appointment time), SimplePractice will send your client an appointment reminder. Here are some additional details about reminders:

  • When will my client receive the email reminder? Approximately 10 minutes before the scheduled appointment. 
  • What information does the email reminder contain? The email contains the video appointment time, details, links to the app store (if he or she prefers to use a mobile device), and the URL to join the video chat.

Clinician in-app notifications

You can also be reminded of an appointment 10 minutes before it starts, in the form of in-app notification. In order to receive an in-app notification, you must have: 

  • the SimplePractice app downloaded on your mobile device, and 
  • push notifications enabled for the SimplePractice app (this will allow the app to "push" notifications to you even when you do not have the app open).  

Step 3. Join the call

After you receive the text notification:

  1. Log into SimplePractice a few minutes before the scheduled appointment.
  2. Turn on your camera and microphone when prompted.
  3. Locate the upcoming appointment on the calendar. Click the appointment to open the calendar flyout window.
  4. Click Start Video Session.
  5. If you are prompted, click to allow access to your camera and microphone.
  6. When you are ready, click Join Video Call.

Tips for success

  • We recommend joining the video appointment 5-10 minutes before the scheduled time.
  • Clients might want to cancel or have questions about the appointment. Make sure you are actively checking your email, in case they try to email you.
  • Clients can use smartphones to join a video call, but they must first download the Telehealth by SimplePractice app (available in the app store for iOS or Android)

FAQs

What should I do if my client didn’t get the reminder with the link?

  1. Log into SimplePractice.
  2. Locate the upcoming appointment on the calendar. Click the appointment to open the calendar flyout window.
  3. Click Copy link.
  4. Send your client an email (or secure message) and paste this link into it so they can join the video call. 

Can I share my screen with my client?

Currently we do not offer the ability to screen share during a Telehealth appointment.


What can I do to do improve the quality of the connection?

If you or your client live in an area with slow internet, this can really affect the speed of your connection. Here are some basic steps that can improve the overall quality:

  • Use wired Ethernet instead of wifi whenever possible. Wifi will work, but you may experience a lag and interference, which can make your video and audio choppy. Wired internet will give you a much smoother, more consistent experience.
  • Test your internet connection speed. Google provides an easy way to test your internet connection directly from the google homepage. Simply search: internet speed test. Click the blue button that says Run Speed Test. If it is under 10mbps and you’re using wifi, try using a wired internet connection or restarting your router.
  • Close other programs. If you have several programs running in the background, closing them will almost certainly improve the quality. Also, make sure you’re not downloading large files. 

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