Like other medical practices, Great Lakes Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, P.C. has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic by offering new options for treatment such as telehealth. When using telehealth, patients can stay at home will still engaging with Great Lakes Orthopedics professionals.
While this adds another layer to care and works better than a phone call, Dr. Keith Pitchford said that a hands-on approach is still best, but doctors can still manage to get an idea of what is going on with patients.
“Even if you’re seeing them on a video stream, you can get can get an impression of the form and function of the extremities: limited range of motion, pain, and other visual clues that help us with our diagnostic abilities,” Dr. Pitchford said.
Dr. Pitchford recommended that when possible, patients should go for an in-person appointment for the best, most accurate results. For those who cannot come to Great Lakes Orthopedics in-person, telehealth is now built into their system and will be available even after COVID-19 loosens its grip on the U.S. Telehealth is also a great option for college students who may not be able to make the trek home for a follow-up appointment.
“We always had to try to craft a follow-up schedule around their breaks and time they can get away from school,” Dr. Pitchford said. “This way, we won’t have to because most college students these days are good with computers. For follow-ups, we’ll certainly be able to navigate telehealth for them.”
Another initiative happening at Great Lakes Orthopedics is an update to their physical therapy. They have engaged with a local therapy group to manage and streamline the therapy process. They have also developed a relationship with the surgery center, which allows them to treat people who may otherwise be hesitant to seek treatment due to fear of COVID-19 in hospitals.
Great Lakes Orthopedics is seeking new physicians so they can expand their service categories. Next month, Great Lakes Orthopedics will be welcoming medical students back to their facilities. Dr. Pitchford has been teaching at universities for the last 25 years and is excited to teach medical students as they get hands-on experience. He said the patients have been asking about the medical students.
“It’s another level of education where the students are being educated and they can engage the patients,” Dr. Pitchford said. “It’s that family-type scenario. The patients actually miss the students.”
The education and relationship Great Lakes Orthopedics has with its patients and medical students is a central theme of the practice and will continue to grow in the future.
“We try to reinvent ourselves while keeping these themes of family-orientation and community education, which are critical,” Dr. Pitchford said. “I always tell students that physician means teacher. That’s what we try to do. We try to teach them about pathology, the recovery process, and how to get back to their previous state of health. People do better if they are empowered and given agency, so they know they are in control. In that case, you’re not helping them with one malady, but for a lifetime.”
To learn more about the new opportunities and future of Great Lakes Orthopedics, visit http://www.glorthopedics.com/.