Since telehealth has become a big part of clinical practice, questions about how to do best conduct video calls with patients have become an important. topic.
On another page on this website, we have discussed best practices regarding clothing and accessories for video calls. Please see “Telewear”: What to wear when seeing patients virtually. On this page, let’s discuss what the background behind us should look like.
A virtual background for a virtual visit?
In a Harvard Business Review survey, respondents were more likely to have a preference about the background in a video call than about the person’s clothes (Zandan and Lynch, 2020). So, here are some tips about what kind of background may be best for video calls.
– Let’s avoid using a virtual background, please. The majority of respondents in the business world said they didn’t like to be looking at a virtual background (Zandan and Lynch, 2020). Virtual backgrounds are distracting and make for a less-than-ideal video experience. The boundary between the person and the virtual background looks strange every time the person moves.
– If one was absolutely determined for some reason to use a virtual background (and I don’t know why we would be), then one should buy and use a green screen (physical or digital). A green screen background allows the real background to be cleanly replaced digitally with a virtual background.
What should be behind us?
The options are really the same as they would be in an office setting:
– A bookcase
– Framed diplomas
– A framed photograph or painting
– A lamp
– One or more plants.
Whatever it is behind us, a good rule to follow is that it should not draw the patient’s attention towards itself, because that would distract from the purpose of the video visit. For example, if there is too much clutter in and personal items in the bookcase, it can be distracting. I love books, so I’m always trying to see what books the person has!
Zandan N, Lynch H. Dress for the (Remote) Job You Want. Harvard Business Review (2020).
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