COVID-19 has changed a lot of how we interact with the outside world, and a lot of how we “do business” in our day-to-day lives. In most of the country, we’ve been advised to stay at home and avoid going out whenever possible. That includes some types of medical and dental care, like routine checkups and non-emergent treatments. As long as you feel well, delaying an annual physical or routine dental cleaning is OK. But what if you have a medical issue that falls somewhere between “routine exam” and “emergency care”? That’s when online doctor visits can help.
At OrthoIllinois, Dr. Van Thiel offers online orthopedic telemedicine (online doctor visits) for our patients in Rockford, and the greater Chicago area, providing simple evaluations, medical guidance, and outpatient and follow-up care to help patients stay healthy during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. If you need an orthopedic doctor visit but you can’t or don’t want to leave home, here’s how Dr. Van Thiel and our orthopedic telemedicine and telehealth system can help.
What is orthopedic telehealth?
Telehealth simply refers to online doctor visits. These digital appointments can take place anywhere you have an internet connection – home, office or while on vacation. All you need is a smartphone or a computer with a front-facing webcam — either a built-in webcam or a separate camera that plugs into your computer. Dr. Van Thiel uses Doxy.meⓇ, a state-of-the-art telehealth system that’s easy to use for the patient and the doctor. Doxy.me incorporates state-of-the-art encryption and security software to keep your visit and your personal information completely private and confidential.
2 Big Benefits of Telemedicine at OrthoIllinois
Right now, scheduling an online telehealth doctor visit with Dr. Van Thiel can help you stay healthy in a couple of important ways.
You get orthopedic care without leaving home.
If you have an orthopedic issue that’s causing you pain, driving to our office and sitting in our waiting room can be uncomfortable. With our telemedicine system, you can get a lot of the care you need right from your own living room or bedroom. Our system allows you and Dr. Van Thiel to talk directly, just like you would do during an in-person office visit.
Medical evaluations and diagnoses rely a lot on the conversation you have with your doctor. During your online office visit, Dr. Van Thiel will use a lot of the same techniques he uses during an in-person visit to diagnose and treat conditions. He’ll ask you about your symptoms — what they feel like, when they first began, and similar questions. — to help him narrow down the issue and prescribe treatment.
Through your webcam or mobile phone, he’ll be able to perform a visual exam, as well. He’ll discuss your lifestyle — how active you are and how your medical issue is affecting your activities. And of course, he’ll have access to medical records from previous visits. If needed, he can gain access to other online medical records, as well. These are all the same steps he takes during an in-person exam. Whether your visit is in-person or online, you’ll receive the same one-on-one, individualized care and attention.
You decrease your COVID-19 infection risk
The second way an online orthopedic visit can help you right now is by cutting down on your risk of coronavirus infection. One of the best ways to reduce infection and prevent COVID-19 from spreading is to limit your contact with others.
Most medical offices (ours included) do all they can to keep waiting and exam rooms clean and free of germs. But some pathogens, like the tiny SARS-CoV2 virus that causes COVID-19, are very easily transmitted through the air or by the surfaces we touch. That means if you’re in a room with someone who has the virus, but doesn’t have any symptoms, you can still become infected.
If an infected person sneezes or coughs and droplets land on a hard surface, you can become infected hours later if you touch that surface and then touch your nose, mouth or eyes before washing your hands. That’s why medical institutions and government agencies are asking everyone to stay home whenever they can.
Having an online doctor visit reduces your potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus. And it also prevents someone who has the virus from spreading it to others.
Care where and when you need it at OrthoIllinois
At OrthoIllinois, the health and welfare of our patients has always been — and always will be — our top priority. We’re working hard to make sure our patients get the orthopedic care they need throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Online orthopedic visits with Dr. Van Thiel can provide you with the personalized care you need to stay healthy now and in the future. If you’re ready to schedule an orthopedic telemedicine doctor visit, give us a call at or (779) 774-1110 send us a message using our contact form, and our team will help you get started.