IMPROVING PATIENT CARE
Geriatric patients who have been hospitalized for surgery or after a fall or other acute episode often need orthopedic follow-up care after being released to a skilled nursing facility or long-term care setting. Transporting these patients for follow-up can be difficult for families and may even delay needed care.
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center launched its orthopedics mobile outreach program, Ortho CONNECT, in early 2018 to provide care and consults on-site at several local facilities or through telehealth, and orthopedic surgeon Carmen Quatman MD, PhD, reports that the program is working well.
“We partner with several sites where we actually provide on-site musculoskeletal care with one of our amazing physician assistants, Caitlin Boulger,” Dr. Quatman says. “She sees postoperative patients within these facilities to provide splinting, injections or other needed care to try to avoid any hospital readmissions. Especially in the COVID-19 environment, we want to avoid moving patients from their existing environment whenever possible.”
The orthopedics team also provides care and consults to local skilled nursing or rehab facilities through telehealth, using technology to communicate electronically with staff and residents. As COVID-19 continues to complicate health care across the nation, telehealth is proving to be a vital resource.
Ortho CONNECT can also help keep musculoskeletal problems from becoming a barrier to recovery and discharge for patients with a wide range of health care needs. For instance, after heart surgery, a painful musculoskeletal condition or injury can interfere with physical therapy and recovery. Because geriatric patients in particular may have arthritis, past injuries or a high risk for falls, their recovery can be complicated and delayed without specialized orthopedic care.
Besides ensuring prompt, professional care, Ortho CONNECT helps families avoid the expense of ambulance services or missed work to transport loved ones. It’s one way the orthopedics team is working to improve care for all patients and reduce stress and inconvenience for families.
While the program name describes the linkage between provider, patient and health care, it was developed as an acronym for Comprehensive Outreach Network for Novel Exceptional Care Transformation. “We’re working to create a new paradigm of care, and Ortho CONNECT is part of that effort,” Dr. Quatman says. “We want to make sure each patient gets the right care in the right place—when and where they need it.” While the program name describes the linkage between provider, patient and care, it was developed as an acronym for Comprehensive Outreach Network for Novel Exceptional Care Transformation.