Getting the most out of Orthopedic Telemedicine

The use of telemedicine in the healthcare industry is growing rapidly, especially with the current COVID 19 pandemic. In fact, the telemedicine market is expected to be valued well over $100 billion by the year 2025. Orthopedic telemedicine has also been increasing significantly and has been found to have excellent benefits for patients who need to see an orthopedic specialist. In fact, certain insurance companies have approached a “virtual first” approach meaning that telemedicine is done before an in-person encounter.

What is telemedicine?

Telemedicine is a simple and secure technology that allows physicians to meet with their patients through a video conferencing platform. Telemedicine is often used to discuss symptoms, review imaging and to follow up with patients after treatment. It can be a preferred option for many patients when a physical office visit is not a good option.

How is telemedicine used in orthopedics?

There are a number of circumstances when telemedicine can be appropriately applied within orthopedic surgery. Patients who have sustained acute injuries such as a tendon avulsion injury (e.g. Quadriceps tendon rupture), ligament rupture and hip impingement (FAI). Telemedicine can also be used in orthopedics for routine post-surgical rechecks. Most of the steps in my orthopedic medicine process can be performed remotely with careful direction through our video conference.

How do I get the best results from my orthopedic telemedicine visit?

Patients can receive easy access to immediate surgical evaluation and consultation through telemedicine. Telemedicine may allow me to discover if an in-person visit is needed rather quickly, saving you time and money. For the best outcomes from your telemedicine visit, I’ve found it helpful to have the following things ready:

  • Have a list of questions ready about your injury or planned surgery.
  • Concerns, progress and new symptoms should be discussed during your visit and it’s helpful to have those on your list.
  • Co-care givers are welcome to “attend” your virtual visit, you should have them ready to listen and take notes if necessary.
  • Wear comfortable clothing, especially if demonstrating range of motion or when performing an exercise.
  • Be prompt for your appointment and have your calendar ready for subsequent appointments if necessary.

When is an in-person visit needed?

It may sound strange to say that the need for an in-person visit can be discovered through your Telemedicine appointment, but that is often true.  In my practice in-person visits are most often needed when a hands-on visit is the best way to appropriately diagnose the issue. If a new injury or condition is suspected, an x-ray or MRI can be ordered ahead of the visit and reviewed on telemedicine. Some follow-up visits need to be done in-person and I can advise you of that during our video call.

As always, if you are experiencing a fever or if the surgical site of your orthopedic procedure is showing signs of infection, you can call our office for further instructions.

While telemedicine in orthopedics may not be right for every visit, a large majority of patients have come to appreciate the ease and effectiveness of doctor visits via video conferencing. Telemedicine can save time, money and can be very beneficial for orthopedic patients.

For additional resources on telemedicine and how to get the most out of your orthopedic telemedicine appointment, please contact the office of Benedict Nwachukwu, MD, orthopedic shoulder surgeon serving Manhattan, New York City and surrounding New York boroughs.   

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610 W 58th Street
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HSS Sports Medicine Institute West Side
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