Virtual doctor visits keeping patients happy and healthy

Patients at Midwest Orthopedics at Rush are thriving with telemedicine visits as a new care option.

“It was a first for me, but I welcomed it considering the circumstances we are now in,” said patient John Mazzei, referring to the corona virus-related social distancing now required.

Mazzei, 71, recently had his first telemedicine appointment to discuss his shoulder pain which he did from his laptop at home. Dr. Grant Garrigues, a shoulder surgeon at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR), who diagnosed Mazzei with bursitis of the shoulder in January, was on the other side of the screen and conducted a follow up assessment with Mazzei just as he would in person. He examined his range of motion, asked questions about his pain level and discussed Mazzei’s recent successful return to golf.

“He saw that I had progressed and encouraged me to continue physical therapy,” Mazzei said. “I’m feeling better and looking forward to checking in again in six weeks.”

Another MOR patient, lacrosse player Gavin Bailey, 16, was very comfortable with his recent telemedicine visits right away.

“I’m from the technology age and I’m used to talking to people on screens,” he explained.

Bailey, a student-athlete at Culver Academy, underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum by sports medicine surgeon Dr. Brian Cole two months before the COVID-19 quarantine restrictions went into place. At MOR’s Oak Brook location, he followed up with a member of Dr. Cole’s team and had a physical therapist session before social distancing was recommended.

Now, he is doing rehab sessions with physical therapist Tracy Labahn via telemedicine from his home. During their online visits, Labahn tracks his progress, shows him new exercises and follows up by email with a therapy plan to do at home.

“As an athlete, he’s very motivated to get back to playing as soon as the current restrictions are loosened. I’m not surprised he’s doing so well with the online physical therapy,” Labahn said.

For another MOR patient, Matt Bishop, 64, the telemedicine opportunity has saved him both time and money.

“I live in Alabama, so it was really great to not have to fly to Chicago for a post-operative appointment,” Bishop said. “Thanks to the telehealth set-up, I was able to talk with a physician assistant remotely from my office and didn’t have to really interrupt my day.”

Bishop, who underwent minimally invasive spine surgery earlier this year with Dr. Kern Singh, was due for a surgical follow up so he arranged to do it by telemedicine. During the visit, Dr. Singh’s physician assistant examined his incision on the screen, assessed his range of motion, and prescribed a course of physical therapy to help him recover sooner.

“I feel blessed to have been connected to Rush for my care during this time,” Bishop said.

For more information on scheduling a telemedicine visit, click here or call 877-MD-BONES (877-632-6637).