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Optimize Your Practice With Virtual Assessment Tools From Bone & Joint Canada
By: Nataliya Zlotnikov, HBSc, MSc

Introducing, Bone and Joint Canada

Have you heard of Bone and Joint Canada (BJC)?

If you haven't, we are overjoyed to introduce you to this great resource. 

So, what is Bone and Joint Canada?

It is primarily a knowledge translation network of people who have an interest in the management of conditions affecting bones and joints, led by Executive Director, Rhona McGlasson.


Let's Transform Healthcare 

BJC's actions are slowly leading to transformational changes to Canada's healthcare system nationwide. 

Over the years, BJC has developed a variety of evidence-based clinical care pathways for injuries, wear and tear conditions related to the musculoskeletal (MSK) system, and most recently, an initiative relating to virtual care technologies for the MSK care provider.

The latter is the subject of today's blog and course upon which it was based, Virtual Assessment of Musculoskeletal Conditions: Helping Clinicians Optimize their Practice, with Bone and Joint Canada Co-Chair Dr. Albert Yee, MD, and Dr. Marie Westby, PT.

Click Here for the Full Course


The Session Highlights Information From Three Tools: 

  1. What is important when setting up a virtual assessment?
  2. How to undertake a clinical assessment?
  3. How virtual assessment can support evidence-based care post-COVID?


Do You Remember a Time Before COVID?

Was there anything before COVID-19? It all seems so fuzzy and distant.

What was the healthcare system like before COVID?


Healthcare Memory Lane 

Although it was a system we were accustomed to, it was frequently inefficient and resistant to change.

Patients often had to take a day off work—if not more—to attend medical appointments. Oftentimes, if the patient had a mobility issue, this would also include family or other caregivers.

Many people were unable to attend medical appointments due to geography, clinical presentations, personal or family social circumstances or lack of access to transportation. 


The Pandemic Digital Healthcare Revolution

The pandemic galvanized and accelerated a new approach to digital health solutions and changed how practitioners and patients think about healthcare service delivery almost overnight. 

Not only were we now forced to perform our visits virtually, but we also learned to think more critically about various digital health solutions such as toolkits, services, and other educational materials. 


Toolkit Full of Goodies

There is a limited but growing body of research in support of virtual care. There is however a large body of clinical experience. 

As clinicians, we need a way to easily share concepts, experiences, and tools - a toolkit. 

The team at Bone and Joint Canada took on this important task of creating a toolkit that will be useful to clinicians. 

This toolkit is interprofessional, and each of us may use it in a different context depending on the patient and our professional background, but it offers a plethora of useful information to us all. 


Where to Find the Toolkit

You can find the toolkit here.

Here is what the toolkit consists of:


Start Here: Virtual Assessment Toolkit

The Virtual Assessment Toolkit consists of 3 well-organized and extremely useful PDF documents:

  1. LOGISTICS: Virtual Assessment for Musculoskeletal Patients, How to Set Up a Program provides an overview of how the HCP can prepare their practice to ensure the success of the virtual assessment including information shared with the patient.

  2. CLINICAL ASSESSMENT: Virtual Assessment for Musculoskeletal Patients, Completing a Clinical Assessment provides information on how to complete a clinical assessment for:

    • Hip and knee
    • Spine
    • Upper Extremity
    • Foot and ankle

  3. POLICY: Virtual Care of Musculoskeletal Conditions: Policy Requirements to Build a Sustainable System provides information on the improvements to care for people across Canada using virtual technology and the policy requirements to ensure the benefits can be optimized into the future.


Take a Page From the Toolkit

Here is a 30-second highlight from our online healthcare course of Dr. Yee showcasing one page from the toolkit that discusses space and equipment required for video assessment for different body parts. 

I can't state enough just how useful such a toolkit could be.

Click Here for the Full Course


Additional Tools 

In addition to the above three documents, BJC also offers additional interdisciplinary healthcare Virtual Assessment Tools, available here.

The tools are organized into two hyperlinked tables. The description for all tools is available in the right-hand column. 

You can also Ctrl+F for your specific healthcare profession to shorten your document search time. 

A segment of both tables is shown in the images below:

Table 1: How to Set up Virtual Care 

Table 2: How to Complete a Clinical Assessment 


More Tools From Embodia: Telerehab on Embodia 

If you would like to get a refresher or learn how telerehab works on Embodia, check out our free course, Telerehabilitation on Embodia.  

You can also take a look at our July Telerehab New Features Blog, Telerehab Updates on Embodia: By Physios for Physios


Until the Research Catches Up

This revolutionary moment in our healthcare system is full of opportunity. 

Even though there is a limited (but growing) body of research in support of virtual care, there is a wealth of clinical experience that has grown exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Until the research catches up to what is happening in the field, we are fortunate to be able to use, learn from, and share clinical experience with our peers and colleagues sooner.

Toolkits such as the one developed by BJC are crucial part of this transformative revolution. 


Date written: 22 July 2021
Last update: 23 July 2021

Dr. Albert Yee
Dr. Albert Yee is an orthopaedic spine surgeon. He is the Holland Bone and Joint Program Chief and Head of the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, where he holds the Marvin Tile Chair in Orthopaedic Surgery. He is President of the Canadian Spine Society and Co-Chair of Bone & Joint Canada. Dr. Yee has over 100 peer reviewed publications and has received numerous academic honours for his work in orthopaedics and oncology

Dr. Marie Westby
BSc.(PT), PhD
Dr. Marie Westby is a physical therapy clinical resource therapist in the Mary Pack Arthritis Program, Vancouver Coastal Health; a research associate at the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI); and a clinical associate professor, Department of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Dr. Westby’s research interests focus on quality of rehabilitation care and exercise prescription in adults living with arthritis and undergoing joint replacement surgery.

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