Coronavirus

New Alternative to ER: Speciality Clinics Offering Daily Access to Orthopedic Care

Direct Orthopedic Care will open their sixth location in North Texas before the end of the year.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Hassinger founded Direct Orthopedic Care in 2014 to give patients an alternative to emergency room care for orthopedic injuries. He established his first clinic in Boise, Idaho, and has five clinics currently in North Texas with plans to open the sixth clinic in the region by the end of the year.

DOC provides patients with direct access to orthopedic specialists and allows patients with orthopedic injuries to avoid an ER visit. The clinic is open seven days a week, and patients do not need a referral appointment to be seen.

“We’ve realized that by really getting this model out everywhere we possibly could, it can make a huge difference in the overall cost to the orthopedic healthcare system,” Hassinger, who is based in Addison, said. “It makes a big difference for patients in their treatment times to receive direct specialist access. So our goal is not really just about our practice. It’s about how we can make a difference in the community and save everybody healthcare costs.”

DOC has implemented safety changes to protect staff members and guests. All team members wear personal protective equipment, and all guests are required to wear a mask when they come to the clinic. Surfaces in the clinic also get sterilized multiple times throughout the day, and rooms are sterilized before and after every guest goes in. DOC has also changed its waiting rooms so people can wait in their cars instead of in the clinic if they choose. The orthopedic clinic also offers outdoor seating areas to help maintain physical distancing.

DOC has also been utilizing telemedicine. Hassinger says that telemedicine has been a key component in providing care for patients especially those who may be immunocompromised. “Telemedicine has been great for the practice and great for the safety of our guests. We do have a challenge because orthopedics is a very hands-on specialty,” Hassinger said.”With telemedicine, it can be difficult sometimes to get a precise diagnosis, but it is a great screening tool for us.”

Telemedicine has helped determine if a patient needs to be seen right away, thereby decreasing the load in the clinic by 20% to 30%.When looking at the future of the company, Hassinger hopes to expand DOC further into the DFW, Austin, and Oklahoma communities as well as helping take some of the load off of emergency departments there.

“We looked at the pandemic as a way that we could really help the entire healthcare community by offloading capacity from the ER, so the ER can take care of the sickest of the sick,” Hassinger said. “That focus, along with staying open seven days a week, helps create capacity for hospital emergency rooms. We’ve got a role to play here.”

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