Audio-Video Connection Tips
Tele-health Connection Tips
The research about tele-health, or telemedicine as it is sometimes called, as well as my experience doing tele-health tell me that tele-health works as well as in-person therapy as long as the audio and video quality don’t interfere. I put together some tips about how to make sure the connection does not get in the way of our work together.
So how do we connect? I use a HIPPA compliant tele-health video platform called Doxy and it is really easy to connect to. You simply go to https://doxy.me/mcourterlcsw or click on a link for that website. You will be asked to put in your name and then I will see that you are in my virtual waiting room and I can then start our video call when I’m ready or when I finish my previous session.
Will my insurance company pay for this? California law requires insurance companies to pay for therapy through tele-health. The Telehealth Advancement Act of 2011 mandated private payer reimbursement for telemedicine services and removed limits on the locations for tele-health.
You need to insure your own privacy. Please make sure that you have a quiet private place to have your appointment. Minimize distractions by ensuring no one comes in the room where we are meeting.
Make sure we can hear and see each other well. The biggest factor for how well our video call looks and sounds is your internet connection. You can test your connection speed here: If your speed is slow (less than 5mb per second download speed and 1.5mb per second upload speed) it could impact the quality of our call. If the connection is slow please follow these suggestions:
Don’t overload your internet with other tasks. Close any unnecessary programs, specifically those that are using your internet, and you might find that the call quality increases dramatically.
Try to plug your computer directly into the router with an ethernet cable. This is the best way to ensure a good connection. If you can’t, try to get closer to your router, and try different rooms to see if interference from other Wi-Fi networks or other devices is a problem. If your router supports two frequencies, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, try switching between them and running speed tests on each. The 5 GHz channel can be faster but has shorter range; 2.4 GHz generally offers better reception over longer distances, but a lot of devices (and neighboring routers) use 2.4 GHz, so trying both is always worth it
Make sure we can hear each other well. Audio problems are a much bigger obstacle to communication than video issues. Here are some ways to improve how you sound:
Use an external microphone: Almost any plug-in device, a desktop USB mic, a USB headset or wireless headset, or the built-in microphone on our USB webcam pick, will sound better than the built-in microphone on a laptop. Just make sure your add-on mic is selected in your meeting software’s settings as the input source.
Place your microphone 5 to 6 inches from your mouth: If you can’t get that close or don’t want to use a separate microphone, try to place your microphone in the path your voice normally projects.
Consider using headphones if an echo is an issue.
Have a phone available as a backup option. If the computer audio won’t work it is a good idea to have a phone as a back-up option for the audio portion.
Make sure we can see each other well. Follow these tips to get better video quality in our sessions:
Don’t use blinds behind you: The light streaming in through the slats will wreak havoc on many a camera’s automatic light adjustments.
Adjust your light. Make sure you have a lamp or other light behind your monitor, pointing toward you, and that you don’t have too much light behind you. If you’re on a laptop, make sure the camera is at eye level and not pointing up at the ceiling lights, or down at the floor.
Keep your webcam slightly above your eye level: Have your gaze falling about 2 inches below the top edge of the screen—this means you’ll be looking straight ahead at people on the call, which feels more like an in-person meeting. You should also shrink your video window for the call and move it to the top of your screen, near your webcam, to keep your gaze there.
Consider connecting your computer to a bigger screen. You can can an HDMI cord or other technology such as a screencasting to project your computer onto a bigger screen with better picture quality, especially if there is more than one person in the session. If you do that you will probably have to use an external camera and microphone so you can position the camera in the correct place and we can hear each other.
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