Internet Interviews Q&A
I prefer to interview in person, but not everyone has quick access to a homeopath and over the years, I have found that communication over the Internet is good enough. So, I use what I have to reach patients under many different circumstances. Below are some answers to common questions.
Q: Is the Internet a safe place to do homeopathy?
I would not do homeopathy with anyone except a homeopath who I do know through a very trustworthy person. Trust is a major issue in any form of communication. The Internet without a way to check the reliability of both the patient and the homeopath would always be problematic.
Q: How do I communicate over the Internet?
Video interviewing over a high-speed connection is best.
First, the kind of software we use, depends on patient‘s technology. Even if patients have never use Internet to communicate, I find that in general there’s no problem. Generally, I use Google Hangouts ( Mac OS X, Windows), FaceTime( Mac OS X ) and Skype(Mac OS X, Windows). There are also services that we can be borrowed.
But, using video technology requires high-speed Internet. If the patient doesn’t have that, then we have to use the telephone. I like to see the expression on the patient’s face, so the phone is a less effective method for interviews.
I have a patient who does not have a computer. She goes to the public library regularly, so we communicate using their Internet service. She is elderly and can only use Skype because that is what she knows. For those who lack high-speed internet connections, Internet cafes can be used.
Even for patients who live near me, often we use email or instant messaging to confirm appointments, make remedy outcome reports, etc. Phone calls are also fine during reasonable hours.
Q: How do I communicate with families? I like working with families, so I offer a 25% discount for additional family members. We communicate through video internet services.
Sometimes several family members join an interview. Sometimes I see the husband, wife and several children one after the another.
Patients who are frail, infants and children need to be accompanied by an adult. Sometimes patients just prefer to come in with someone else and that’s fine. But, I may ask the other person to leave at an appropriate time during the interview. Often it’s very important to interview other members of the family to confirm details about the patient’s interview. On the Internet, two people in an interview are no different than two patients in the office.
There are some cases where it is very important to work with family members. For example, often when a child or infant has significant problems, if the caretaking parent reaches a higher level of health, they can better help their child. Physical problems in the family can also be related to emotional difficulties.
Q: How are appointments scheduled?
Appointments are made by email or phone.
It convenient for me to schedule the next appointment after the interview. In fact, I usually estimate the timing of the next appointment and then wait to see the remedy outcome. Depending on the situation, checking on remedy outcome can occur in hours, days or even a month or two.
- The Internet communication program that the patient wants to use (Hangouts etc.)
- Their phone number
- The time and date of the appointment
The protocol is one of us call by phone. I use Google and it is free. Otherwise, it costs pennies to call. The call is to prevent anyone from being forced to hang out at the computer. After this "heads up" call, we all go to our computer to open up the Internet communication software of choice and begin our conversation.
We do this for not just interviews, but for any complex communication. For simple matters, or if the internet is not available, I just call the patient. But, sometimes appointment are necessary and sometimes patients just call me without an appointment.
Q: When are appointments scheduled? Because of time zone differences in the USA, appointments need to be scheduled in the late afternoon and early evening.
Appointments on the East Coast are schedules between 5 pm and 8 pm. From the West coast of the USA, between 4 pm and 10 pm. Time zones between the coasts are between those times. I use a scheduling website to check the best times for appointments.
I live in Tokyo Japan which is on the opposite side of the globe relative to the east coast of the USA. So my time is about a half day ahead of the east coast of the USA. That means that the day of the week when the interviews can be scheduled is one day behind the Japanese time zone. So, a Sunday for the patient would take place on a Monday in Japan.
Q: What is the commitment of the patient? Patients have a commitment to report their remedy outcome to me. Usually, they need to talk to me over the phone or using video Internet services.
Q: Why do you emphasize talking to patients and their supporters live. Why not use email? Why is a conversation important? Normally, the patient does not know what to watch out for, so they need to talk to me in person. That is, over the Internet using the video. Short phone calls to report remedy outcomes are also possible. But these are just short check-ups and I do not charge a fee for them.
Patients vary greatly in the way they describe their remedy outcomes. Because of this, I need to interview everyone in some depth to figure out what is really going on.
Often patients describe their symptoms based on emotions. For example, a timid patient will tell me that “nothing happened” because do not want to complain or do not recognize when they are suffering. In contrast, an aggressive, angry patients will say “nothing happened” because they want to prove that their sickness is stronger than my remedy. Of course, these are not descriptions of remedy outcome, they are expressions of emotion. Without becoming emotional, if they say nothing has changed, often I find that they do not notice changes that happen gradually. They need my guidance to remember what happened.
When patients are unable to report their remedy outcomes by themselves, the person who supports them has that task. Children and elderly family members need to come in for an interview with their caretakers. Sometimes in very unusual and difficult cases, I talk to multiple family members or even friends. As always, privacy is very important.
Q: How and when do patients pay?
Patients pay before formal interviews through PayPal.
On the Internet, I only take patients who I already know or who are introduced to me by a person who I trust. I ask to be paid before sessions. So trust should never be an issue in homeopathy.
The timing for the followup varies. I do not charge for short telephone or email followups. Followups are the formal interviews that occur after the remedy has had a chance to affect the patient. I call patients because I need to check that the patient or the caretaker understands what to be watching for and how to take the remedy, etc. When the formal followup occurs, again I ask for payment for the interview.
Patients pay by check or on PayPal. PayPal is quick but PayPal charges the patients for a small service charge. According to the calculations from this site for a $200 fee, the patient would need to pay 8 dollars to PayPal.
The patient does not need to have an account with PayPal. They only need my PayPal email address. Patients can also pay by mail using a check, but mail from the USA can take ten days if they do not live in Japan.