Remote services in complex rehab: ‘The data will bear this out’

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Friday, June 5, 2020

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Numotion has remotely conducted more than 3,000 evaluations and delivered more than 1,500 wheelchairs during the public health emergency as of June 1, says John Pryles.

The company has an increasing number of partnerships with physician and occupational therapists, including those at Blue Sky Therapy in Ohio, to conduct evaluations and deliveries remotely, he says.

“The telehealth aspect of these partnerships is not unusual,” said Pryles, executive senior vice president of sales. “Well, as of June 1, it’s not usual; we’re doing it with multiple companies. Prior to June 1, it was unheard of. It was a unicorn.”

CMS’s decision to allow PTs and OTs to conduct telehealth services and to add a code used by therapists for “wheelchair management” to the list of approved codes for those services paved the way for Numotion to “shift our mindset,” Pryles says.

Along the way, the company has found there are a number of advantages to conducting evaluations and deliveries remotely, including improving access to patients in remote areas; getting a better sense for how patients use their equipment in their homes; and reducing cycle times by several days.

“As we’ve done more of these, we’ve realized, we can provide the same or better experience for our customers,” Pryles said.

These “mini-light bulbs” have Numotion thinking about how it will continue conducting evaluations and deliveries remotely for certain patients, even after things go back to “normal,” Pryles says.

“There are a high percentage of customers who are still going to need (clinics and in-person services), but there’s a big need (for remote services),” he said. “So depending on the type of customer and where they are, we can incorporate what we’ve learned for better seamless outcomes across the board.”

Speaking of outcomes, Numotion is collecting data not only for its own internal purposes but also for Medicare and other payers, in the event they decide to roll back the expansion of telehealth services, Pryles said.

“We’ve come up with a good way to track that and analyze that, and will present that data in conjunction with (industry stakeholders,” he said. “The data will bear this out.”