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As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, providers across the U.S. have rapidly pivoted to use virtual visits for evaluating and treating patients. Effective communication and examination are key to quality care in the office, yet most doctors aren’t formally trained with the best practices for on-camera appointments. 

To help providers successfully implement virtual visits, it is important to follow a few key steps to ensure you and the patient have the best possible telehealth experience. 

As part of its continuing efforts to enhance the patient-provider experience and improve outcomes, NextGen Healthcare has partnered with healthcare media trainer and former CNN reporter Mark Bernheimer to create a short telehealth training for healthcare providers. He offers valuable tips for conducting effective virtual visits and improving your webside manner.

Find out more about clinician coaching services from Webside Manner.

Telehealth challenges to keep in mind before getting started

  • Many patients, especially seniors, are apprehensive about visiting with their doctor virtually
  • Patients with sensory issues have a harder time hearing and seeing the doctor 
  • Clinicians can’t physically examine patients
  • The camera hides gestures, expressions, and emotions, concealing subtle non-verbal cues
  • Background noise distractions

Pre-appointment best practice checklist

  • Switch from a shaky handheld device to a stationary computer or tablet
  • Use an external microphone to ensure good sound quality 
  • Find a proper private setting for the appointment without distractions 
  • Have a fast and reliable internet connection to avoid interruptions and appointment delays
  • Do a pre-appointment technology test to make sure everything works before the appointment

Facial expressions and communications skills count

  • Understand message delivery skills are just as important as the quality of technology 
  • Exaggerate body language and adjust energy level in order to make up for not being in-person
  • Evoke warmth and compassion in your tone
  • Use pediatric-specific techniques to connect with younger patients

Tip: An essential non-verbal cue in telehealth has to do with your eyes. Don’t look at the patient’s face on the screen; look directly into the camera lens.

Every patient is unique and so is every clinician. These tips can foster telehealth best practices and keep positive connections with patients even while they are remote.  

Since March, NextGen Healthcare has enabled providers to deliver more than 700,000 virtual visits to date – 35x more than the previous year. Learn more how you can improve your "Webside Manner" though our new telehealth training video.


Meet NextGen Ambient Assist, your new AI ally that generates a structured SOAP note in seconds from listening to the natural patient/provider conversation.

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NextGen Healthcare is a solutions provider whose comprehensive, integrated technology and services platform supports ambulatory and specialty practices of all sizes.