P. Brodie Wood, MD, told Thurston Talk his total joint replacement practice in Olympia, Wash., shifted largely outpatient during the pandemic.
The surgeon said he typically performs about 1,000 total joint replacements annually, and 25 percent of those cases were outpatient prior to COVID-19. Last year, 75 percent of his cases were outpatient.
"The pandemic has created an enormous tailwind for outpatient surgery," Dr. Wood told the Thurston Talk. "It's not unlike the transition to Zoom videos for conferencing. I don't see this trend reversing."
Dr. Wood is a surgeon at Olympia Orthopaedic Associates, which has a surgery center in Olympia. The center developed new protocols during the pandemic to minimize contact between patients, staff and families. The center's nurses conduct patient education courses over telephone and video calls, and streamlined the discharge process so families aren't waiting in the center.
Becki Taylor, RN, BSN, surgical services program manager at the center, said moving the visits and education before surgery to telehealth expanded access for patients who live farther away from the center.