Pay no mind: people admit to driving, texting, drinking during telehealth visits

Poppy Noor
·2-min read
<span>Photograph: filadendron/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: filadendron/Getty Images

Hello, people of the technologically advanced world. Remember how we all hoped technology would make us better, more evolved? How’s that going for us lately? Great, I suspect – because look at how far we have come! We can now have doctor’s visits from the comfort of our homes, phones and laptops.

The only problem is that we all seem to be having a tough time concentrating. On Wednesday, a survey from a health company found people to be texting, driving, watching TV, playing video games and even drinking during telehealth visits.

The study was small, surveying only 1,000 Americans over the age of 18 – but people admitted to exercising (18%), scrolling through social media (21%) and even smoking (11%) during health visits. A quarter of these people were doing so while in a virtual therapy session. When Forbes expanded on the study through case studies and doctors interviews, they found out it’s not even just patients – it’s doctors too.

Confused? Well, let’s talk it through …

Who decided we should be sober during health visits anyway?

To be fair, I have always thought that conversations about fungal infections, or having to strip off completely naked in front of a complete stranger, are things best done drunk. But if you really want to take your health seriously, perhaps it’s better to start with a clear mind.

Oh, so you mean there are downsides to visiting the doctor from the comfort of our homes?

Yes, the downside is that humans are fickle beings who can’t even look away from Twitter during a therapy session.

Get used to it! This is 2020, people are well versed in the art of multitasking.

Yes. And for us to truly move forward we must constantly disrupt! Or be disrupted! By, er … drinking beers or having a quarantini cocktail.

At least some people were exercising during their health visits, I suppose.

Are there any dangerous behaviors which have been reported?

Some have fessed up to driving during their health appointments. In fact, one doctor told Forbes that she has had to ask patients to pull over on to the side of the road during their appointments so that they can concentrate.

But it’s not just us patients that are feeling distracted – doctors have said that they are also finding it hard to concentrate in this new reality, where the buzzing of our phones, the allure of the television, or the unexpected knock on the door seem to be teaming up against us to steal our attention while at work.

Ohhh, so that’s why my therapist just seems to be absent-mindedly mm-hmming, the whole time while I tell him that my whole life is falling apart.

Yes – or perhaps your life is not that interesting – your therapist might be busy doing more important things, like watching The Sopranos.