3 ways spinal care has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic

Jocelyn Idema, DO, founder of Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center in Pittsburgh, joined "Becker's Spine & Orthopedics Podcast" to talk about how spinal care has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here is an excerpt from the podcast. Click here to download the full episode. 

Question: What are your top priorities for 2021?

Dr. Jocelyn Idema: The medical landscape has changed quite a bit with COVID-19 in the last year. There are three things that have changed most for me going forward:

  1. We're utilizing telehealth a lot more than we used to, and it's turned out very well. Patients are actually quite happy to do follow-up appointments where they don't have to venture out and come into the office — maybe they're following up from some X-rays that I can view online, performing physical therapy, reviewing MRIs or we're seeing how they're doing after an injection. 
  2. Patients are now a lot more amenable to outpatient procedures. These surgeries can be done very safely in an outpatient setting, but pre-pandemic I would have patients that were more used to having overnight surgical procedures. These patients thought that they need to be monitored, but in reality, a lot of the surgeries can be done very safely as an outpatient. Patients are actually looking forward to that, because they're not staying in an environment where they may have to be subjected to an infection or the potential for catching COVID-19. 
  3. We're becoming a lot more comfortable doing certain types of procedures in the office. I am lucky enough to have access to my own fluoroscopy suite and procedures suite. I'm actually performing more injections in the office as well as kyphoplasty, vertebroplasty and even carpal tunnel releases. Patients are extremely happy with the fact that they don't even have to venture to a hospital or a surgery center in and of itself.

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