Yes, even some hospitals, crowded with coronavirus-infected individuals, have been increasingly turning to telemedicine and remote devices to perform physical examinations of patients who are at home. The intent is to relieve pressure on emergency rooms and outpatient clinics, while keeping patients safe from contact with other sick persons.
The viral outbreak has resulted in a relaxation of Medicare rules involving reimbursement for virtual doctor visits and caused state governments to call on private, third-party insurers to revise coverage policies related to telehealth.
Dr. Badia, a specialist in treating musculoskeletal disorders of the hand, wrist and upper limb, is an early adopter of telemedicine. He introduced it into his practice – the Miami-based Badia Hand to Shoulder Center and OrthoNOW® — about four years ago. Today he regularly schedules patient “e-visits” via smartphone, iPad and computer, utilizing a software platform that keeps patient information secure, while facilitating two-way patient-doctor communications in real-time using video conferencing. OrthoNOW ultilizes OrthoLIVE for its e-visits.
For patients who develop non-urgent orthopedic problems or sustain relatively minor injuries, such as rotator cuff tears, tennis elbow or carpal tunnel syndrome, we are scheduling video visits by computer or mobile phone. Doing so helps keep our patients at home and safe from the virus, but still allows us to examine their injuries or condition remotely, check the range of motion of their joints and limbs and discuss the best treatment options,” Dr. Badia says.