Telehealth (also referred to as “video health care” given the videoconferencing technology used) is a rapidly expanding field of medicine that allows patients to discuss health care issues with their physicians from remote locations.
There was a significant explosion in the use of telehealth in all fields of medicine throughout 2020, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic keeping many people home unless their visits to medical facilities were absolutely essential. It is expected that telehealth will continue to play a significant role in the health care industry moving forward, even as pandemic restrictions continue to relax.
But is telehealth necessarily the best option for patients dealing with orthotic and prosthetic (O&P) care? Here’s some information to consider as you decide how you will seek the treatment you need.
Telehealth and O&P practice
It’s expected that most O&P practices will continue to use telehealth services long after the pandemic is off the radar as a pressing concern. However, it’s also important to remember that telehealth does have some limitations, and that it’s not necessarily the right choice for all patients or every situation.
The big benefit of telehealth is that it improves patient access to care and offers a convenient way for them to have conversations with their providers. It is on providers, though, to ensure the connection is secure, and that the service is compliant with HIPAA and any other applicable regulations.
There are specific types of appointments that simply cannot work with O&P patients in a telehealth setting. For example, anytime there’s a need to conduct measurements for device, physically test the fit of those devices or adjust devices to ensure a proper fit, the patient will have to be present in the facility with the device in question.
However, various types of consultations and checkups can occur virtually. Patients can have conversations with their care providers about their specific needs, or provide simple updates and follow-ups about how their experience with the device is going. They can also use virtual appointments or digital messages to ask questions that aren’t significant, complicated or time-sensitive enough to merit them actually going to the facility in person.
So, when considering whether telehealth is a good option for you as a patient in O&P, you need to consider your specific needs and what your appointment would likely involve. Any physical checkups or adjustments must be done in person, but conversations can happen virtually and still be plenty effective.
Interested in learning more about video health care and how telehealth technology continues to evolve? We encourage you to contact our prosthetic care team at Prothotic Laboratories, Inc. with any questions you have about the services we provide and our O&P capabilities. We’ve been serving area patients for more than 30 years, specializing in pediatric prosthetics but also working with adults in need of devices and services to help them live a fulfilling life. Our caring team looks forward to addressing your issues and helping you in your health care and rehabilitative journey—reach out today to schedule an appointment.