What is Virtual Care?
Similar to a typical office visit, but using modern video conferencing technology, virtual care is a way for you to connect with your doctor to diagnose problems or discuss treatment plans. Depending on the exact nature of the appointment, it may also be called telehealth or telemedicine. Telehealth is usually the legal term. For OrthoNebraska, this is done with HIPAA compliant secure video chat using Zoom.
Why should I consider Virtual Care? Can it really work for orthopaedics?
At the present time, it’s important that our community practice social distancing to reduce the risk of exposure and spread of COVID-19. This means prioritizing the foot traffic of in-office visits for those who truly need them. We understand that virtual care is not for every person or every situation, but there are also tremendous benefits. Patients receive easy access to a care provider from wherever they are while eliminating barriers such as transportation. Patients can also have other family members or caregivers present without inconveniencing them.
As for orthopaedics specifically, we have protocols for what is most appropriate for virtual care and would be happy to discuss this with you when scheduling an appointment. Additionally, we have modified our practices to optimize your time and experience. This may include, for example, encouraging X-ray and MRI exams be done in advance of the virtual visit to help the provider make a successful diagnosis and treatment plan. We also encourage patients to send us any available previous diagnostic exams that may have been performed at other facilities.
How will I get an X-ray or MRI if that is needed?
Imaging centers, whether at OrthoNebraska or elsewhere, are taking precautions for cleanliness and social distancing, such as expanding hours. If it is recommended that you receive an exam, we will work with you to find the best, most convenient time for you that also ensures your safety.
What type of treatment can you provide?
Treatments can include prescription medications, or a follow up physical intervention such as injections, bracing or splinting. Imaging studies such as X-rays, MRI or EMG are also commonly ordered. For physical therapy, exercise program guidance and assessments of strength, range of motion and more can be conducted to keep you and your physician abreast of your rehabilitation progress.
Will I get an OrthoNebraska doctor or are you using outside doctors?
Only OrthoNebraska care teams (doctors, advanced practice providers and nurses) are conducting virtual care visits. We do not use outside providers.
Are all of your doctors using Virtual Care?
Most are, but some may use it more than others based on appropriate clinical care protocols. Your doctor’s nurse or our scheduling staff can help guide you if you have specific questions regarding your care.
Is Zoom secure? HIPAA compliant?
Yes, it is secure and HIPAA compliant. Zoom has a secure and HIPAA compliant video product that has better security than the free or standard version being used by schools and churches. The nice part about this is it works very similarly to the product many people are comfortable with.
You may have heard some security concerns about Zoom in the news. It should be noted that in the vast majority of these cases, hackers found the links to open Zoom sessions posted publicly on platforms like Facebook. OrthoNebraska will not post links publicly and uses meeting passwords for even greater security.
What type of devices can I use?
iOS and Android devices (phones or tablets) are preferred. You can also use your desktop or laptop computer, provided you have a microphone, camera and internet capabilities.
Can I do it over the phone if I am not comfortable with video?
Video is much preferred. Seeing and hearing each other is important and being able to ask questions and watch motion can also help with diagnosis. If you do not have access video technology, or would prefer only using the phone, please let us know and we will accommodate you.
How much does Virtual Care cost?
A virtual care visit is treated the same as an in-office visit. In light of COVID-19, many insurance plans are waiving out-of-pocket fees for patients.
Will I be billed if there is a technical issue?
If a virtual visit is particularly unproductive based on the need for Imaging or other special circumstances, we may waive the visit fees. All in all, our aim is to be fair and consistent with how we bill for in-office visits.
Will I have to pay to create a login for Zoom?
No – you do not have to even have to create an account for Zoom – just click the link and enter your name.
Can I get prescriptions filled through a virtual visit?
Can I do virtual care if I am traveling or in another state?
Yes, CMS announced that state specific licensure requirements are suspended during the COVID-19 crisis, meaning anyone in the U.S. can see a provider at OrthoNebraska. However, if your problem requires surgical intervention or significant treatment, you may need to travel to one of our facilities to meet with your provider in-person.
Can medical forms (like return to work) be filled out?
Will my primary care provider (PCP) be notified about my visit?
We do not notify your PCP, but you can always choose to share the results of your visit with them.