Alejandro Badia, MD, is a hand and upper extremity orthopedic surgeon and founder of Miami-based OrthoNOW and Doral, Fla.-based Badia Hand to Shoulder Center.
In his practice, a patient can request a telemedicine e-visit online and send medical records electronically, including X-rays, MRIs or other imaging. "Telemedicine is a highly effective method of assessing and managing patients remotely, saving them time both in travel and taking off work," said Dr. Badia.
Dr. Badia uses the Zoom Health communications software to assess the patient's condition and determine next steps. OrthoNOW is implementing telemedicine in its orthopedic care centers through a service called OrthoLIVE. "Some conditions will require an in-person office visit, depending on their seriousness or complexity," he said, "but for many patients it's easy to do follow-up care strictly through telemedicine."
"Patients often spend hours — between travel time and lost work time — driving to and from doctor's appointments, not to mention the appointment time itself," Dr. Badia notes. "And [physicians] can lose money on cancellations or no-shows. Telemedicine is a win-win from a cost standpoint."
Telemedicine is designed to give patients access to high-quality care without requiring them to leave their homes. In some states, prescriptions can be immediately sent to a pharmacy after a telemedicine visit. Since many conditions only require a brief visit to renew a prescription, telemedicine can save time, particularly for those with chronic health conditions.