The State of Art Education Initiative

Can telehealth be useful in addressing sexual health issues?

Reviewed by the medical professionals of the ISSM’s Communication Committee

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Yes. Telehealth can be an effective way to discuss sex health issues with your healthcare provider.

During a telehealth appointment, you and your provider see and talk to each other virtually over the internet, using a computer, tablet, or smartphone. The interaction occurs over a secure platform.
You don’t necessarily have to use video – you can interact with your provider over the phone, e-mail, or text as well, depending on your preferences and the platform used.

Patients use telehealth for a wide variety of sex health concerns. You can discuss:

  • medications,
  • follow up with your provider after surgery,
  • have sex therapy sessions,
  • and more.

Telehealth appointments are convenient. You don’t need to travel to your provider’s practice, which is especially helpful if you live far from their office. You can also have your appointment wherever you have an internet connection, such as your home or workplace.

However, telehealth has some disadvantages, too.

  • For example, not all healthcare services can be provided virtually. If you require a physical exam, lab tests, or imaging tests, you will need to schedule an in-person appointment.
  • Security is another concern. While providers make every effort to ensure secure connections with patients, data breaches can happen.

Here are some steps you can take the get the most out of your telehealth appointment:

  • Ask for specific instructions. Your provider will tell you how to access the telehealth platform, but don’t hesitate to ask questions if you’re unsure about something. Also, ask your provider what you should do if your visit gets disconnected.
  • Use a reliable internet connection. If you have spotty internet access at home, consider having your appointment in another location. Don’t forget to charge (or plug in) your device, too!
  • Sit in a quiet area with adequate lighting. It’s a good idea to test your device’s audio and video settings before your appointment begins. Try to minimize background noise, like the TV or people’s conversations.
  • Consider privacy. Remember that other people might be able to overhear your conversation, depending on where you are. If this is a concern for you, try to find a private location. Using headphones or earbuds might help.
  • Have everything you need nearby. If your provider needs specific information, like your weight or your blood glucose levels, take these readings ahead of time and jot them down. You might also write down any questions you have beforehand, and keep plenty of paper on hand to take notes.

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