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Is It Safe to Seek Orthopaedic Care During the Pandemic?

Your orthopedic specialist is able to help you in many different ways and can often do so without needing an in-person visit. He or she is a medical expert who can help make the best decisions for your care, even in today’s unusual circumstances.

We spoke with Jason L. Koh, MD, Director, NorthShore Orthopaedic & Spine Institute, Illinois’ only hospital dedicated to orthopaedic and spine care. "Even during this challenging time, you should not hesitate to reach out to your orthopedic surgeon to get the treatment that you need," he says. "He or she will be able to provide safe and effective care."

How is NorthShore using telehealth at the NorthShore Orthopaedic & Spine Institute?

"Many orthopaedic surgeons at NorthShore are now using telehealth methods to see and treat patients in the safety of their own homes. Using either a smartphone or a webcam, your physician can see and talk to you, take a medical history, and perform a virtual physical examination by asking you to show where the pain is."

What can a patient expect during a telehealth visit? 

"You may be asked to do specific movements while your physician carefully watches how they are performed. In many cases, a diagnosis can be made by an experienced physician just by listening and watching carefully, and treatment can start with home exercise, medications, and even virtual physical therapy."

In some conditions, it's necessary for patients to be seen, examined and treated in-person. How is NorthShore keeping its patients safe? 

"Fortunately, it is still very safe to come to the doctor’s office. As a result of their extensive experience in the sterile operating room, orthopaedic surgeons have a high standard of cleanliness and infection control, and orthopaedic offices are set up to allow for screening, social distancing, and the use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect patients."

What else would you like to add? 

"Additionally, patients who come into an orthopaedic office typically have bone, joint, or back issues, and are not actively ill. Orthopaedic offices, including our Orthopaedic Immediate Care sites, are physically separated from where patients with infection are located. So, for many common orthopaedic issues, it is often easier and safer to be seen at an orthopaedic office, rather than at an emergency room."