Why Have Online/ Telehealth Orthopedic Consultation During COVID-19?

Before the current COVID 19 crisis, many health care practitioners admit that they had not fully embraced the idea of online consultation. This is now rapidly changing, especially for orthopedic consultation during the lockdown. A lot can be done during an online visit, e.g. a patient can be asked how much they can move their arm, and observations recorded. Or, if someone is worried about an incision site, that can be shown to the doctor.

This experience with online or telehealth consultation has made practitioners realize that there will be going forward be a greater place for it in orthopedic care. The best part is that an online visit can be much more hassle-free rather than waiting for an in-person appointment. Many doctors globally have now started offering online orthopedic consultation during Coronavirus disease which will provide patients with a thorough assessment and treatment plan while they remain in the comfort of their own home.

Why Would You Need Orthopedic Consultation?

An orthopedic doctor is someone who specializes in issues, injuries and diseases relating to the musculoskeletal system. They play a pivotal role in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and restoration of musculoskeletal conditions. Orthopedic doctors work in both hospitals as well as specialized practices to treat sports injuries, infections, joint problems, broken bones (e.g., arthritis), bone tumours, congenital conditions and degenerative conditions (e.g., osteoporosis). They are well equipped to take care of minor issues, such as a sprained ankle to complex surgeries and procedures e.g. a hip replacement.

Different Symptoms With Different Orthopedic Issues 

If any type of pain is experienced in the ankles, knees, shoulders, hips, or back, one should immediately consider seeing an orthopedic surgeon. Symptoms can cover any of the following:

  • Difficulty in performing daily functions using that particular body part (e.g. carrying grocery bags or walking up the stairs)
  • Pain in tendons, muscles or joints that prolong for a period of more than a few days
  • Joint pains that keep intensifying, even during periods of rest
  • Bruising or swelling around the joint or over the area of an injury
  • Limited range of motion, e.g. being unable to straighten the back
  • Deformity in joints
  • Signs of infection comprising of inflammation, heat, fever, and/or redness
  • Any unusual symptoms in the region of the pain

What About Surgeries?

Surgery is only used as a last resort by orthopedic doctors for musculoskeletal issues. They try to delay it as long as possible and for this do everything that they can e.g. less invasive treatments such as physical therapy and medication. Surgery is only recommended once they are sure that these treatments no longer provide relief from pain or other symptoms. Some very common surgeries performed by orthopedic doctors include ankle, knee, hip and shoulder replacements as well as back surgery. A variety of arthroscopic procedures are also performed by them. This enables them to visualize, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint.

Usual Issues That Need To Be Tended To?

Usually, it has been noticed that the earlier advice has been sought about a musculoskeletal issue; the sooner the treatment of the problem can be started. Starting the treatment at an early stage prevents further progression of the issue. During an initial consultation, an orthopedic doctor will isolate the problem, narrow down the cause of the issue, and provide treatment options. Further, they may also advise pain management through medication and/or injections along with rehabilitation and physical therapy. This will always be accompanied by a potential time frame with every Orthopedic Consultation During Coronavirus disease.

What Is Online Consultation Or Telehealth?

Telehealth is the modern way of making use of technologies like the internet or telephone to deliver orthopedic and other health services (such as GP consultations or physiotherapy). Telehealth consultations via the internet normally use a secure, online platform, which is simple to use and also provides a video consultation. All a patient will need is a computer with a camera, a good internet connection along with a compatible internet browser. Alternatively, in most cases, a smartphone will suffice or most doctors are happy to arrange for a simple telephone consultation. If you look around, you’ll agree a lot of patients and doctors are tending to Orthopedic Consultation During COVID 19.

What Does A Telehealth Consultation Provide?

Let us start with just how an Online Orthopedic Doctor During COVID-19 will assess your symptoms and discuss your bones-related issues:

  • A thorough assessment and diagnosis of an injury via phone or online video
  • Advice on the best possible management of a condition
  • Physiotherapy treatments can be referred to after the appropriate online/telehealth examination
  • Potential referral for imaging (e.g. x-ray, MRI)
  • Progress reviewed and management plans updated with follow up consultations

How Does Online/ Telehealth Consultation Benefit The Orthopedic Practice?

More often than not, the scepticism is heard; “how can an orthopedist practice at their best without physically touching a patient?” Now would be the right time to rethink this question considering these fundamental truths that are found in the orthopedic practise today:

  1. Most visits to an orthopedic surgeon after an operation are simply to check how well a wound is healing. The process involves visual examination, and mostly ends with either, “Your healing is well-paced,” or, “I’m going to prescribe an antibiotic.” Most of these visits hardly last longer than five minutes.
  • Telehealth consultations cut the time patients spend on their visit to an orthopedic doctor. Because the technology allows doctors to see more patients, this means a significant overall decrease in the overheads, allowing the savings to be transferred to the patients.
  • Online orthopedic consultation during COVID-19 also allows patients to cut the travel costs and time. It is associated with seeing their specialist for a mere five-minute consultation without which they couldn’t have gone by. Moreover, patients suffering from orthopedic injuries face the discomfort of getting on and off from their vehicles.
  • A trip to an orthopedic doctor during COVID-19 with the hassle of parking. The risks of exposure to the virus involved during the stay in the waiting room makes the quick, online consultation seem a blessing in disguise.
  • Patients are very less likely to skip a virtual visit. This means that naturally the quality of care provided to the patients has been upgraded while the virtual visit might even eliminate their use of the ER for an infection or any other issues. 

Conclusion To The Thought?

Hence, it can be deemed that the below summary of the benefits of an Online Orthopedic Surgeon During COVID-19 makes it imperative to have such a facility available for patients:

  • The need for travel is eliminated
  • A comprehensive orthopedic consultation is provided to patients from within the luxury of their own home
  • Scheduling flexibility allows patients to arrange for an online orthopedic consultation during COVID-19 at a time that suits them
  • Patients can enjoy follow-up consultations along with ongoing online support

Use of Online/ Telehealth Consultation in the Orthopedic Practice

Orthopedics Today mentions, “Telehealth opportunities include ease of subspecialist access. Its easier postoperative evaluations, decreased travel burden for patients, marketing and an increased proportion of actual in-office patient visits being surgical in nature.” Telehealth consultation is being widely used in the orthopedic office today. Its daily routine as well as post-surgical rechecks, for EMG, MRI and test follow-up appointments. This works as an excellent supplement to “brick and mortar” urgent care. 

While we know online consultation doesn’t replace every visit, technology is an excellent platform to provide routine care for established patients. In the new patient setting, the initiation of the first touchpoint with a patient is all that is needed to ignite a relationship that will last a lifetime.

Hence, it would be safe to say that telehealth consultation improves an orthopedic doctor’s ability. It care for his/ her patients amidst the COVID lockdown and helps to set their practice at a par above from the competition. Dr Wajid is one such Online Orthopedic surgeon During COVID-19. He is ready to treat you, in case you may need a consultation. You can easily book an appointment via our website or through our Facebook page. 

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