How to Hold Sessions with Social Distancing
With COVID-19 shutting down cities around the world, social distancing and moving work online has become a necessity for people everywhere. As a health-care professional, however, your job revolves heavily around personal interactions. So how do you move your work online?
There are many tools for remote work, used daily by tech professionals everywhere. You can make use of these to continue your work too, so I'll break down a few common options here (they're all free).
For all of these options, you will need the ability to video call. That means one of the following;
- A computer with a camera (this is the best option for quality reasons).
- A tablet with a camera.
- A modern cellphone with a camera.
You and your patient will also need respectable internet connections. Today, a stable 4G (LTE) connection is usually sufficient, but a fibre internet connection is preferable.
This one is well known, and was the first major video calling product for business. In order to use it, both you and your patient will need the Skype app installed. There are apps available for phones and computers. You can go to https://www.skype.com/en/ to download and create an account. With Skype, you can't schedule a call, so you'll have to first add the patient as a contact by using their name, email or Skype ID (which they can provide you), and then start the call at the correct time - just like you would a normal phone call.
If you have a Google account of any kind (such as GMail), then you can use Google Hangouts to hold video calls. Nobody needs to download an app, but there are apps available if you prefer. To schedule a Hangouts call;
- Go to your Google calendar (either on your phone if you have an Android, or at https://calendar.google.com/).
- Create a new event, select the time and date. You can schedule it weekly if you like (by clicking on "more options").
- Click "add a location or conferencing", and select conference. This will automatically add a Hangouts link to the email.
- Add your patient's email address as an attendee.
This will send an invite to the email address you added, and create an event in your calender. Both of you should have a link that reads something like https://hangouts.google.com/call/xxxxxxxxxxxxx, which you can click on at the time to start the call.
Zoom is similar to Hangouts, and generally has the best call quality at the moment. You will need a Zoom account, but your patient doesn't. Start by creating an account at https://zoom.us/. You have the option of downloading an app (recommended). From here, you can click on the "schedule" option, and set up your meeting (it's best not to require a password). Once scheduled, you will be provided a meeting link such as https://us04web.zoom.us/j/123456, which you can send by any means to the patient. Both you and the patient will need to go to this link to start the call.
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- When you start a video call, make sure that your internet connection is good and stable. Otherwise you'll likely be interrupted by poor quality.
- Both you and the patient should be by yourselves, in a quiet room, without any interruptions. No kids or other distractions.
- It's best to use headphones during the call.
- Make sure that your patient also understands how it works and all of these tips in advance.