CAMP HILL — Until recently, those who sprained or fractured bones would have to endure long emergency room waits to be seen or wait to visit their doctor after the fact.
Now, the Orthopedic Institute of Pennsylvania is working to take away from that stress.
Brett Himmelwright, chief operating officer, said the clinic aims to make patient’s lives easier and getting care more convenient.
“Previously, the medical model was that you had your office hours from here to here, and it was very doctor-focused,” he said. “The new model in business and in medicine is to be more patient and consumer-focused.”
Before clinics started popping up, if someone sprained their ankle at 5 p.m., they would have to go to the emergency room to be looked at because doctors’ offices were closed. With that style of care, the emergency room would give the patient a splint, some crutches and then tell the person to go see a doctor in the morning. But now, Himmelwright said, the doctors took a look at the way they practice, and tried to make it more focused on the patients.
The institute has two Orthopedic Injury Clinics in the Midstate, one in Camp Hill and another in Harrisburg. The Camp Hill clinic, at 3399 Trindle Road, is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. The Harrisburg clinic, at 450 Powers Ave., is open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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The institute also has a 24-hour hotline, 855-OIP-OUCH, that people can call for advice. The hotline allows a patient to speak with an orthopedic doctor, who can advise how to care for an injury.
Himmelwright said the clinics are fully equipped to perform X-rays and MRIs, as well as provide walkers, crutches, braces and casting. Each clinic also has an on-site pharmacy to take care of patients’ medicinal needs. They can care for sprains, strains, minor fractures and acute pain, Himmelwright said. However, the clinic cannot assist with open fractures, medical emergencies or large dislocations.
“People seem to like it,” Himmelwright said. “A huge benefit for patients is also, since you’re going to the end user, you’re going to the orthopedic specialist first, instead of the emergency room or the (urgent care) first, (they’re spending) less money. If you come here first, you’re not paying for the emergency room and then to come here the next day.”
With the increase in urgent care-style facilities, the trend in emergency medical care is leaning toward separating deadly injuries and illnesses from everything else. Himmelwright said the shift makes it easier for emergency room personnel to take care of serious emergencies if people with colds, broken bones or strains are filtered into other facilities.
“If I can help de-bulk the ER or the (urgent care) with that sprained ankle, then … what it does is it allows them to provide better, quicker care for the non-orthopedic stuff,” he said. “I don’t see it as competing with them, I think what it does is, we work well together; I think it’s a relationship. … For years and years and years, the ER has been a dumping ground, essentially. … Because of the way we’ve diluted the emergency room, it’s the way it is. So I think having these (facilities) is the best thing that’s happened to medicine.”
Himmelwright said the walk-in clinic can usually offer care cheaper and more efficiently because they are so specialized in what injuries they are treating. The time it takes for someone to be seen by an orthopedic specialist is about 15 minutes. Door to door the time is about 30 minutes to one hour, depending on the severity of the injury.