Instead of going through the relative inconvenience of driving to in-person appointments three weeks after undergoing joint replacement surgery, more than 90% of the patients Craig J. Della Valle, MD, operates on opt for remote follow-up assessments. Considering Dr. Della Valle, chief of adult reconstruction at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush in Chicago, performs about 700 total hip and knee replacements each year, that's a lot of time spent virtually with patients.
Although his practice had been using telehealth for pre- and post-op visits — as well as some physical therapy sessions — before the pandemic, COVID-19 pushed more patients to sit in front of their computers instead of behind their wheels in order to be seen by Dr. Della Valle. "Stress on the system definitely leads to innovation," he says, referring to how the upheaval of the last year served as the catalyst for virtual healthcare offerings that have suddenly become commonplace. More patients are not only becoming more comfortable with connecting with providers remotely, they're expecting to have the option available.