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Speaker Q&A: Dr. Scott Martin

Speaker Q&A: Dr. Scott Martin Use telemedicine as a triage method

PHOENIX - Telehealth for the complex rehab market is never going away, says Scott Martin, MD, MS, medical director of TeleHealth Clinical Evals. Last year, TeleHealth Clinical Evals conducted thousands of wheelchair assessments via telemedicine. HME News recently spoke to Dr. Martin, who will be hosting a session at Medtrade West on telehealth, about its benefits. 

HME News: Why is telehealth the new normal? 

Dr. Scott Martin: Was the need always there for a smartphone? Absolutely. We just didn’t know we needed it. And this is what’s dawning on the DME market. We had no idea how much we needed telehealth. What used to be a method to make it a little easier for doctors to see patients in a timelier fashion became a lifesaving measure for patients with profound functional disabilities. 

HME: What are the main benefits of telehealth? 

Dr. Martin: The main benefit is logistical. We’ve seen dramatic shifts in wealth in the country and most folks haven’t worked in a year or two. Well, maybe it's not the best decision to drive 35 minutes to a doctor's office at $4.25 a gallon, where you’re going to go sit with patients who could potentially give you COVID. The second is an intimate understanding of the patient’s functional limitations in their home. When you’re sitting in an office having a conversation with a patient, you don’t have eyes on their living situation. 

HME: When is it appropriate to use telehealth? 

Dr. Martin: There are some things you have to have eyes on a patient for. Identifying a pressure sore is one thing, but I need blood flow studies, I need to scrape off dead tissue. We’re starting to see people use telemedicine as a triage. If there were more doctors doing telemedicine, you wouldn’t have emergency rooms stuffed with clients because somebody would have talked to that patient, seen that patient and put out a fire.


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