Does Telemedicine Really Work for Podiatry?

If we’d asked our patients even just a handful of months ago—before this whole COVID-19 crisis really started affecting our day-to-day lives—how they felt about the idea of telemedicine, we imagine we’d have gotten some pretty mixed responses.

Certainly, some of our patients have told us they’ve been wanting to have the option to do virtual appointments for a long time. But others are definitely a bit more unsure.

We get it! If you don’t have much experience with video conferencing, or you’re just very familiar with the rhythms and routine of in-office appointments, the idea of taking the whole process online may seem intimidating. And you may have very real concerns:

  • Am I going to get the same high level of attention and care that I’ve come to expect?
  • What can my doctor even do for me if I’m not in the same room?
  • Is this all going to be worth my time and effort?

Hey, we hear you. To be perfectly honest, adapting our practice to incorporate more telemedicine appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic was something that we were a little nervous about, too.

But our telemedicine service has been up and running at full speed for a few months now. And with the benefit of that extra experience, we have some great news to share with you:

Our patients love it, we love it, and yes it really works! While not every type of appointment can be conducted remotely, you can expect the same lofty standards of attention and care from our doctors for those appointments that can.

The Benefits of Telemedicine

It’s easy to immediately see the drawbacks of a remote appointment, or the cases where it won’t work. Obviously, we can’t give you an injection, or any other direct treatment, over the internet. And considering what’s going on in the world, you might be tempted to think of telemedicine as a “best we can do right now under the circumstances” option instead of something that’s truly on par with in-office appointments.

But don’t let those gut reactions obscure the fact that telemedicine actually works really well when direct treatments aren’t required—and has some extra benefits, too.

Some examples:

  • Just about any visual examination or inspection we would have performed in person, we can perform just as easily over video. If you’ve got a red spot, deformity, healing wound, etc., we can still get a great look at it. If some minor physical manipulation would have been part of a typical inspection, we can just coach you through it.
  • Telemedicine is especially great for follow-up appointments. If you’ve already come in for a previous treatment, we can check up on how things are progressing.
  • Due to the screen sharing function of our telemedicine platform, it’s really easy to share any previous diagnostic testing results with you, too.

Basically, if your appointment is for something where a direct treatment or diagnostic test does not need to be performed, telemedicine works just as well as an in-office visit. Plus, there are many additional benefits:

  • It’s convenient and flexible! You can schedule your appointment during a lunch break, right after or before work, or any other short window of time where driving to the office and back might not have been possible.
  • You can do it from anywhere in the world! Maybe you were a regular patient of ours in years past but moved away. Or maybe during the quarantine you’ve temporarily moved in with relatives in another part of the state (or country). No worries—you can still meet up with foot doctors you already know and trust, no matter where you reside on the globe.
  • You don’t put anyone at risk. Maybe you’re in the “high risk” group for COVID-19 complications. Or maybe you’re a primary caregiver for someone in that category, or have a high-risk individual living in your household. Maybe you’re already self-isolating for precautionary reasons. You can still have a telemedicine appointment!

If telemedicine can get you the attention and care you need today (or at least in the next few days), rather than forcing you to wait a lot longer to find time in your schedule to get to our office, that’s a huge win for you—and your foot health!

And even if you’re not sure whether telemedicine is right for you, what’s the harm in calling and asking us? We’ll carefully consider your situation, discuss your options with you, and help you determine whether telemedicine or an in-office appointment would be the best choice.

For Those Times When You Do Still Need to Come In …

As we said, while it really is true that telemedicine works great for appointments that don’t require in-person procedures, what about appointments that do?

Well, we want you to know that we’re going above and beyond to keep you and your loved ones safe. Among other procedures, we are:

  • Conducting advanced environmental cleaning procedures in all high-touch areas, using disinfectants approved by the CDC for COVID-19.
  • Fully sanitizing your patient room before you enter it.
  • Taking temperature checks for all patients and visitors.
  • Strictly limiting the number of guests and visitors to the absolute minimum necessary (most will be asked to wait in the car, with select identified exceptions).
  • Strictly limiting the number of patients that can be inside the office at any time.
  • Adhering to universal masking requirements for patients and staff.
  • Enforcing social distancing.

The bottom line here is this:

Even during a pandemic, maintaining healthy, pain-free feet and ankles is still critical to both your short-term and long-term quality of life. You should not be forced to go indefinitely without treatment or even answers to your concerns; nor should you have to accept substandard attention or care.

At Austin Foot & Ankle, we are making sure you don’t have to—through telemedicine, and through making our office environment as free from unnecessary risk as humanly possible.

So if your feet are hurting, give us a call. As we always have, we’ll do everything we can to help you. You can reach us online, or by phone at (512) 328-8900.

Visit Us

5000 Bee Caves Rd Suite 202
Austin, TX 78746

P. 512-328-8900        F. 512-328-8903

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