Orthopedic specialist Dr. Aaron Campbell is currently taking part in a pilot project for the Division ofnurse putting a cast on a patient Orthopedic Surgery to evaluate if eConsult is a viable method to address patients’ concerns and needs. He says, “The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our medical system in many ways. Limited access to care and reduced patient resources have become the new normal. In Orthopedic Surgery, it has challenged us to re-evaluate our traditional methods of delivering care and seek to innovative new ways to do that. Requirements for masking, nasal swabs and social distancing have provided an opportunity to consider the impact of a clinic visit on a patient, especially for elderly patients and those with a disability. Parking, mobility, and needing assistance from family or care givers are frequent hurdles to coming to clinic.”
Dr. Campbell says most referrals come from physicians who may be unfamiliar with a medical problem and are seeking help in managing a patient. “Frequently, orthopedic problems are of a non-life-threatening nature and can be managed non-operatively.  By providing a route for discussion and education, eConsult can enable the consulting physician to enact treatment without having the patient wait to see an orthopedic surgeon,” he says. “Even if in person consultation is eventually required, eConsult helps to ensure the patient is being seen at the most opportune time with conservative treatment trialed, appropriate investigations done, and extensive low-impact tests avoided.”
Dr. Campbell adds that eConsults can be very helpful in scenarios such as:
-    Education on treatment of strains and sprains
-    Advice regarding treatment of an injury in frail or elderly patients for whom travel to clinic is difficult
-    Timing of fracture follow up and weight-bearing status
-    Assessment of adequate fracture reduction
-    Providing access to a particular orthopedic subspecialty
-    Determining if a musculoskeletal problem is amenable to surgery