A Proposal for the Study of a Conceptual Framework to Inform Optimal Use of Telehealth for Postoperative Upper Extremity Care
Telehealth is a familiar and widely available care-delivery model that is promoted as a solution for access-to-care issues and the rising costs of in-person health care services. Multiple studies report comparable clinical outcomes of telehealth care-delivery with traditional in-person care for many diagnostic conditions and patient groups, including postoperative orthopedic conditions such as knee and hip arthroplasty [1,3,4]. Despite the benefits, there was a slow widespread adoption and acceptance of telehealth across health care disciplines prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Health care insurers did not routinely include telehealth services as reimbursable services in their plans . For postoperative upper extremity musculoskeletal (UE-MSK) disorder care, telehealth services were rarely provided. The rapid adoption of telehealth services for postoperative UE-MSK care, born of necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic, suggested that telehealth is a possible, feasible, and safe alternative to traditional care-delivery for UE-MSK conditions, including for postoperative patients [6,8,9]. As we return to a normalized health care system, we are faced with new possibilities, challenges, and questions regarding optimal care-delivery models for our postoperative UE-MSK care patients.