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Background: In response to the disruption that the COVID-19 pandemic caused to our health care system, our institution promptly implemented telemedicine to address the need for non-urgent, yet necessary, musculoskeletal (MSK) care. The aim of this paper is to outline the telemedicine strategies and infrastructure implemented by the Division of Orthopaedics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Our system can serve as an example of how to provide continued access to care in the setting of mandated office visit cancellations.
Methods: The Division of Orthopaedics developed and rapidly implemented new tools to make the transition to telemedicine possible. This involved leveraging existing infrastructure to develop clinical decision support, a centralized training platform, and access to real time data for quality improvement.
Results: Our division now conducts over 50% of visits via telemedicine. In the first three weeks of telemedicine, established patients accounted for the largest proportion of these visits, and knee injuries were the most common diagnoses encountered. To improve patient and provider experience, CHOP distributed hospital-wide surveys. Preliminary results indicated high satisfaction with the telemedicine experience.
Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic has required health care providers to rapidly implement telemedicine on a larger scale than ever before. Our approach allowed us to quickly adapt and continue providing care to our patients. We expect that the expansion of telemedicine will increase access to health care beyond the pandemic.