Back specialist sees patients through IPad to follow coronavirus social distancing

Published: Mar. 21, 2020 at 11:28 AM CDT
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There are many reasons to call a doctor, not just coronavirus. Here's the problem: small exam rooms don't make for good social distancing.

Sharp back pain had me wondering if I had a screw loose so after x-rays I waited in an exam room.

I'm ready to see the doctor, but today it won't be in person.

Spine surgeon Dr. Timothy Burd examined the x-rays and made a diagnosis from his man cave.

Dr. Timothy Burd, Spine Surgeon said, "I think it just flared up now it will flare down."

Like many of us, Dr. Burd has been working from home. According to a nurse, it’s their first tele-med. This virtual way of medicine allows the doctor to see patients through an IPad.

Dr. Burd said, "People where access to care is very difficult, all they need to do is get to their local clinic or they can honestly do this from home. But if they're doctors there and they have these pads we can interface with them directly."

Nebraska Spine and Pain Center has confirmed several major insurance companies that a patient's tele-health appointment will be covered.

Sue Carlson, with the Spine and Pain Center, said, "You would bill it the same way you would an office visit. The doctor would document in your medical records the same way if you were live with him in front of him. And then we would submit the claim to the insurance company."

Nebraska Spine Center plans to expand video examinations that rely on x-rays.

Pat Kirk, Spine and Pain Center said, "We don't need the patient here to explain to them what that imaging is saying. They can still do an exam form a visual standpoint, while they're sitting at home and the patient never has to leave their house. "

The fusions are solid. Which is a relief thanks to my surgeon's pad side manner.

Dr. Timothy Burd, Spine Surgeon said, "Wipe our phones down afterward right."

So far Nebraska Spine and Pain Center have used tele-med for two appointments and ten more are scheduled.

Under current social restrictions, they expect thirty percent of their patients will consult with a doctor by video.