Colorado Orthopedic News

telehealth

Social Distancing Restrictions Are Easing. Should I still schedule a telehealth appointment?

Even as stay-at-home restrictions begin to ease, we understand that Coloradans want to stay safe and healthy, and it will take time until visits in our office are back to “normal.” Until then, we have options to enable patients to meet with their doctors and continue to make progress with treatment plans and recovery.

One way to stay at home and get orthopedic treatment is through a telehealth appointment, which is a little bit like a one-on-one Zoom conference or a FaceTime session with your doctor.

More people are using telehealth than ever. In fact, three in four Americans say they’re comfortable with telemedicine, which is up 10 points over pre-pandemic times. If you’ve never had a telehealth appointment before, you probably have questions about how it works and if you should invest the time to schedule one.

The short answer is yes! Telehealth is still a great way to see your doctor and keep your treatment moving! To make it as easy as possible, our team of orthopedic specialists came together to answer the most common questions about telehealth.

1) How does it work?

Telehealth uses an app to enable a face-to-face conversation where your doctor can perform a directed examination and work with you to formulate a treatment plan.

Making and attending an appointment is easy. Start by visiting our website or calling our office to schedule an appointment time. Then, from our website, click the link to download the app to your computer or smartphone. At your appointment time, log in and click the button to indicate that you are ready to meet.  When your provider is ready, he or the app will enable a two-way video call where you can see and hear one another.

Your provider can discuss your current situation, ask questions, view your injured joint, and evaluate your range of motion and pain levels. He or she can also recommend exercises and arrange for physical therapy, tele-PT, and more. If your provider determines you need imaging or other treatment, he or she will discuss the next steps with you.

2) What do I need to do to prepare?

Be sure to download the app after you’ve set an appointment and well in advance of your scheduled appointment time, and test your audio and video functions on your phone, laptop or tablet prior to the appointment. On the day of the appointment, plan to be in an area with a strong internet connection or wifi signal. Finally, choose a location where you have the level of privacy and quiet that you prefer and good bright lighting.

Because the appointment is a video chat and your doctor will likely want to observe your joint, wear clothing that is suitable and comfortable and ensure you can expose the body part being evaluated, if practical.

3) What happens at the time of my appointment?

Log in to the app at your appointment time and wait for your doctor to join. Only your doctor can open the video connection. If your provider does not join immediately, please be patient; we are working hard to accommodate every patient’s needs, and delays can occur from time to time.

4) What about my Xrays or MRI?

If you’ve already had an imaging appointment and the information is in or system, your doctor will be able to assess them remotely and review with you on your call. If you have then on a disk – you can mail or deliver them to our office so that they can be uploaded. If new x-rays are needed – we can make arrangements for you to come in, while maintaining social distancing protocols.

5) Is my information secure?

Yes, HippoHealth is a HIPAA-compliant app that allows us to take all reasonable precautions.

6) What do I pay? Will my insurance cover this?

Some insurance companies have temporarily waived copays, but you should expect your appointment to be billed similarly to a normal office visit. Be sure to check with your insurance company to confirm what’s covered under your plan and any associated costs.

7) How long does it take?

Telehealth appointment times are similar to what you’d expect at a regular visit. Each provider will take the time needed.

8) When can I actually see my doctor?

Colorado announced the easing of restrictions for doctors’ offices beginning April 27. This means we will begin to see patients in our office at that time while continuing to follow state guidelines for social distancing. This will include providers and patients wearing masks and waiting room arrangements that maximize social distance.

However, we are continuing to provide telehealth appointments even after our office reopens to give our patients options that work for their preferences and risk level.  If you prefer to meet via telehealth, we’re more than happy to do so.

Call our office at 303-344-9090 or use our online appointment form.

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