Treating Orthopedic Patients with Telemedicine

Gabe Gurman, standing in his dining room, is examined by Dr. Michael Greller for a back injury during a telemedicine visit.

Telemedicine visits – a simple and safe option for orthopedic patients

For patients and providers at Avanced Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Institute (AOSMI), telemedicine visits have become a new normal for patient care. Gabe Gurman, a patient at AOSMI, recently had a telemedicine visit with board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Greller for a back injury during the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to coronavirus safety restrictions and the limited mobility caused by his back pain, the telemedicine visit turned out to be a perfect option for Gabe to get the medical care he needed.

The video visit was convenient, simple and safe.

Telemedicine is like seeing the doctor in person

“It was an easy process,” says Gabe, an existing patient with the practice. “The office emailed me the link. I just clicked on it and jumped on. It started right on time.”
According to Gabe, the telemedicine visit was just as good as seeing Dr. Greller in person. “It was like being there one-on-one. It was the same situation and the same questions I would’ve experienced with him at the office.”
Gabe, who had a preexisting back condition, reinjured his lower back when turning the wrong way while getting out of his car. Able to assess Gabe’s condition via the telemedicine visit, Dr. Greller prescribed medication to get Gabe back on the mend.
“Within 15 minutes Dr. Greller determined what was going on with me,” Gabe says. “Now two days later, I’m feeling better.”

The benefits of telemedicine

“We are committed to providing patient care while keeping everyone safe and healthy. Thanks to telemedicine visits, we can continue to do that during the pandemic. We are seeing many benefits for our patients, physicians and staff,” says Dr. Greller.  Additionally, telemedicine visits are flexible and save time for both physicians and patients.
Through the use of “video visits,” the physicians can provide continuity of care for existing patients as well as consultations with new patients. The practice has physicians who specialize in orthopedics; sports medicine; neck, back and spine; podiatry and pain management. They are using telemedicine to followup with patients, provide pre- and post operative care for emergency surgery patients, perform exams and prescribe medications. Telemedicine visits can also be used in conjunction with on site visits for patients who must come to the office for diagnostic exams such as X-rays or for procedures like injections. Physical therapists with the practice are also able to provide online physical therapy sessions.
“Injuries and accidents are going to continue to happen,” says Dr. Greller. “We want people to know that telemedicine is not only available so that we can treat their problem, but it is easier to do than they may realize. They can participate with their computer or cell phone. We try to make it as seamless as possible.”

Another plus for patients is that telemedicine visits are covered by insurance and Medicare. For patients who have Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the insurance company  is waiving out of pocket expenses for telemedicine visits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ironically, Gabe is the co-founder of an HR technology company where his entire workforce is remote. Having led a remote team for the past four years, he says he’s a “big proponent of remote work” and expects more businesses to use it in future. “Everything is remote now,” he says. It certainly is in his household — three of his four grown children are home from college and completing their courses online.

As for his remote healthcare experience, “I’m 100 percent satisfied,” Gabe says.

Dr. Michael Greller watches Gabe Gurman perform various movements to assess his back pain during a telemedicine visit.