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Health Care
Sep 8, 2014

The Times, They Keep A-Changing

Sponsored Content provided by Steve DeBiasi - Chief Executive Officer, OrthoWilmington

Every day of my professional life, I communicate with providers by voice mail, email and text messages, often even when we are able to have a face-to-face conversation. I suspect you do, as well. Today, conducting business without electronic communication using a computer, cell phone or tablet seems inconceivable.

Far from being confined to communications, advanced technology has infiltrated aspects of nearly every industry, including health care. A few recent examples from OrthoWilmington might help illustrate my point. 

This past November, Walter W. Frueh, MD, one of our fellowship-trained, board-certified orthopaedic surgeons, performed the first hip replacement to be broadcast live from southeastern North Carolina. From New Hanover Regional Medical Center Orthopedic Hospital, Dr. Frueh performed the procedure as part of a continuing education series for physicians. More than 300 physicians nationwide viewed the surgery as part of the class. 

During the live broadcast, physicians who were registered for the course were not only able to observe the surgery in real time, but were able to ask questions during the procedure and receive immediate responses. 

Technology also played a role during an in-house training event held just a month later. The clinical staff of OrthoWilmington had the opportunity to observe our surgeons as they tested new joint replacement products and technologies on cadavers using a visiting mobile training lab right in our parking lot.

Several of OrthoWilmington’s sports medicine and joint replacement specialists demonstrated new techniques and technologies for total knee and shoulder replacements as medical support staff looked on. Staff members who are part of overall patient care, but who would otherwise not be able to witness surgery, were able to learn about two common procedures performed by OrthoWilmington surgeons. In both of these situations, technology enabled our staff to share their medical expertise with others in a manner that would have seemed impossible not long ago. 

Not as awe-inspiring, but still a rather dramatic improvement, is the patient portal that OrthoWilmington recently re-launched on our website, and which is now operating with more than 10,000 active accounts. It allows our patients to securely communicate with our office staff electronically for non-urgent issues. It is far more efficient for the staff because it significantly cuts back on phone-tag situations, but even more important is its convenience for patients. They can leave messages to schedule tests, submit payments online, and make or reschedule appointments. With this system, they don’t have to call during office hours – they can go online and make their requests in the middle of the night or on a holiday weekend.

Suffice it to say, the capabilities of technology today may seem impressive, but they will be dated before long, and new advancements we can’t even imagine will come on line and become mainstream. For those of us in health care delivery, keeping up is vital to our ability to serve our customers, and therefore to our success in business. 

Stephen DeBiasi is chief executive officer at OrthoWilmington, PA, which offers the widest range of orthopaedic services, specialties and technologies in Wilmington and the surrounding region. The mission of OrthoWilmington, PA, is to focus on one patient at a time, demonstrate consideration and respect, serve as leaders in quality and education, and support the community's overall health and wellness. 

For more information, visit www.Orthowilmington.com or call 910.332.3800. Like OrthoWilmington, PA, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/OrthoWilmington or follow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/orthowilmington.

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