Dr. Leaha Neville, DPM, Podiatry eConsult Specialist
Dr. Leaha Neville, DPM, is a Podiatry Specialist in Naples, FL Her sixteen years of private practice was followed by an academic/clinical position in Gainesville, Florida at the University of Florida in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation Medicine.
“I have been very fortunate to work in both the private sector as well as a large university and research setting,” says Dr. Neville. “This experience allowed me the opportunity to treat a diverse patient population with complex medical problems and challenged me to deliver comprehensive and compassionate care alongside a team of outstanding multi-discipline medical peers .”
She has also appreciated the opportunity to give back to a medical specialty that helped her as a youth. “As a child, I had to wear braces to correct my gait as well as have foot surgery,” says Dr. Neville. “That introduced me to the field of podiatry.” I wanted to pursue a role in the medical field from a very young age and I was fortunate to have a podiatric mentor expose me to many facets of the field including sports medicine, surgery as well as limb salvage.
Following my undergraduate education at Youngstown State University in Ohio, Dr. Neville received a Doctorate at Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine in Cleveland, OH. Her Podiatric and Podiatric Surgical residencies were at Western Reserve Care System, Forum Health, in Youngstown. OH.
“I embraced the art of caring for people, especially those that suffered from diabetes with chronic wounds and appreciate the impact a wound has on a person’s daily life,” she says. “I also enjoyed the ability to perform surgery and hold dear the fact that patients trust me with their care.”
Dr. Neville is Board-Certified in foot surgery and as a wound specialist and is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and the College of Certified Wound Specialists.
While at the University of Florida-Gainesville, she helped to lead the development of a limb preservation team – a multidisciplinary approach for the treatment of complex wounds to improve patient outcomes and prevent lower extremity amputations.
Many chronic diseases present in the lower extremity such as diabetes, peripheral vascular disease and neuropathy. “If I can identify these manifestations in my patients early to prevent and treat problems such as foot ulcers, gait impairments and prevention of amputations, it will improve their quality of life,” says Dr. Neville.
She was drawn to telemedicine during the pandemic when eConsults became an important part of day-to-day interaction with her patients. “I think this opened the door to new ways to work with patients and other medical providers for greater assessment as well as to expedite the onset of care,” says Dr. Neville.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to work with AristaMD and the referring physicians who care greatly about their patients,” she adds. “If I can provide a successful care plan, then that is a win for all.”
See a Podiatry eConsult
Fracture of left great toe
COMMENTS TO SPECIALIST
The patient is an 18-year-old male presenting with a great toe injury. He complains of pain, swelling and bruising. The X-ray shows acute intra-articular fracture of the distal phalangeal base. The patient displays:
- Antalgic gait
- Decreased range of motion in the interphalangeal joint (IP)
Common foot problems are appropriate for an eConsult, and often respond well to a conservative treatment plan such as plantar fasciitis, and simple sprains or injuries of the foot and ankle.
Moreover, foot wounds when identified early can improve significantly with the implementation of wound care and offloading strategies via an eConsult, especially if the patient has limited access to see a specialist in their community.
Also, if a patient has a foot deformity like a bunion, she can provide an eConsult with general recommendations and information that they could review with their referring physician before electing to meet with a surgeon in person.
A common complaint is plantar fasciitis, and the patient’s symptoms can often wax and wane, says Dr. Neville. “Outlining a treatment plan may help the referring provider to treat and reinforce a care plan for their patients. This would include a stretching protocol, with a link attached that can be provided to the patient, shoe gear suggestions and pain relief medication such as an NSAID, if appropriate. If there is limited improvement over 3-4 weeks, additional treatment options may include physical therapy or a short course of immobilization.” The information provided by the referring medical provider in order to return a comprehensive consult is very important, for example, weight-bearing x-rays can often provide me with the patient’s foot type and structure, blood work to analysis diabetic control or MRI findings of chronic tendon pathologies may change how I would offer an individual treatment plan for the care provider.
She appreciates the collaborative process of podiatric medicine and respects her patients’ voices during the diagnosis and treatment process. “It is very important to listen to your patients, understand their needs and educate them for successful outcomes.”
When eConsults are Not an Option, a Referring Physician Can Turn to Referral Management Software to Coordinate Care
Streamlining physician referrals benefits the referring physician, the specialists and the patients. This practice boasts a team of board-certified physicians who offer a combination of internal medicine and pediatric services.
Historically, physician referrals were managed by the practice’s nurses, requiring them to fax multiple forms and spend an average of 1.5 hours on the phone each day. This cumbersome process was keeping the nurses from providing face-to-face patient care and was simply ineffective.
Download this case study to learn how one primary care practice:
- Saved $30-40K and stacks of sticky notes each year
- Communicated securely with specialists to improve continuity of care
- Texted notifications help patients get scheduled quickly