The Rapid Recovery Report™ with Michael Miller

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Toree: Hi, I’m Toree McGee, and this is The Rapid Recovery Report, sponsored by ROMTech, the modern technology of rehabilitation.  So, we’ll be doing a weekly series, as I’m sure those of you watching know by now, where we talk to folks every Thursday at 4:00pm Pacific and 7:00pm Eastern.  Different guests, so be it surgeons, patients, insiders at ROMTech to discuss wellness and health, and touch on ROMTech’s PortableConnect.  So, we can pop a picture up here of it.

If you’re new to ROMTech, this right here is the PortableConnect.  It’s pretty fancy-schmancy, if I do say so myself.  It’s a high-tech recovery device that’s geared to get patients moving and on the road to recovery faster from injuries and surgeries.  So, if you want to learn a little bit more about us, visit us at www.romtech.com, and follow us on social media at the handles listed in the description below.  

PortableConnect Distributor Mike Miller

So, today, our guest is a little bit different than some of the other guests that we’ve had on our program here previously.  His name is Mike Miller, and he’s not an orthopedic surgeon, and he’s not an official ROMTech employee, but Mike has been in the orthopedic field for the last 17 years as a surgical first assistant, then in the trauma field, and now he’s in Florida, in the DME world.  So, Mike works with a lot of our surgeons in the Florida area, and acts in place of our field clinicians to service patients.  So, he still does a lot of his work with Gulf Coast Orthopedics and Innovations, doing a lot of cold compression, but now, he’s kind of brought the PortableConnect into his business as well.  

So, Mike, we’re so happy to have you here with us today.  

Mike: Thanks, Toree.  Appreciate the welcome.  

Toree: Yehey, this is going to be fun.  Well, we’ve got a pretty knowledgeable guy here when it comes to the PortableConnect, working with patients, and also working with surgeons.  So, if you guys have any questions that you wanted to ask Mike, you can go ahead, and drop those in the comment section on whichever social platform that you’re on, and they’ll pop up for us.  And time-permitting, we’ll go ahead and address those here when we’re done with our chat.

So, Mike, 17 years in the industry is a really long time.  You don’t look that old, for one, which is good.  So, I don’t think you’ve been living in the Florida sun for that long, have you?

Mike: On and off for about 10 years.

Toree: Okay.  So, what was the first DME product that you were involved with?

Mike: Started about two years ago with compression, cold compression.  It actually opened the door for a lot of other things.  Cold compression, in general, has been around forever.  They’ve had basically the [inaudible 00:03:42] for the longest period of time, and then they added the compression part of it into it, which has been a huge [inaudible 00:03:51] for the industry.  So, cold compression would be my first, and then to follow is ROMTech.

Toree: Awesome.  So, how did you learn about ROMTech then?

Mike: Uh-oh, you’re cutting out. 

Toree: Uh-oh.  Well, I can see you pretty clear and hear you very well.  So, I’ll ask my question again.  Hopefully, you can hear me.  How did you learn about us at ROMTech? 

Mike: Oh, there you are.  You’re back.

Toree: We’ve been battling connection issues, so hopefully, it gets a little bit better.  Did you hear my question, Mike, about where you heard about us?

Mike: I did not.  Oh, actually, yes.  So, I heard about you from one of the orthopedic surgeons that I currently do business with about a year and a half ago.  And at that point, I did some research, and reached out directly to ROMTech multiple times, and had multiple sit-downs, multiple conversations, before they even had a line you could call into.  So, I was talking direct with the powers that be, and we pretty much made a plan together, and here I am, a little over a year later, and we’re about to rock and roll.

Toree: Yeah, absolutely.  Why, I guess, did you want to be a part of what we’re doing here at ROMTech?  What really affected you to want to reach out, and give us a call, and dive in with us?

Mike: The more I looked at the product, there’s so much behind it, there’s nothing like this in the industry.  Myself alone, I’ve worked with patients throughout my 17 years.  I’ve been pulled away from that a little bit.  Now, doing the hands-on, putting Humpy Dumpty back together again.  And here we are, this product came back, and I was more along the lines of that patient interaction, kind of pulled me toward it initially, and to be a part of their recovery.  But once I saw what this machine was able to do and reproduced over and over and over again, it just excites me.  It’s one of those things that I’m so glad I pursued, that I’m persistent on continuing to call, continuing the sit-down with you guys, and have conversations day in and day out, and here we are.  

I mean, there’s a great team.  The team internally has been nothing [inaudible 00:06:26].  It’s truly a family.  I mean, you guys, all the support staff around, every single one of the ROMTech employee is far from that.  I mean, there’s no words to even speak of it. 

Toree: Well, you’ve been really an integral part in our expansion, especially like the northwestern kind of part of Florida, which is where you are, which fun fact, for most of you who think that all of Florida is in the Eastern time zone, that’s not true.  The areas where Mike tends to service is in the Central time zone.  So, how about that for a fun fact?  

Mike: We might have missed a couple big calls because of that. 

Toree: Yeah, I made that mistake, I think, one time in scheduling.  And I was like, oh my gosh, not all Florida is the East Coast time.  Okay, never again am I making that mistake.  

So, with your experience, I guess with cold compression—

Mike: It happens all the time. 

Feedback on the PortableConnect

Toree: I’m sure it does.  With your experience with cold compression and with patient recovery in general, and having the 17-year background in orthopedics, what feedback are you getting now from patients who are using the ROMTech PortableConnect device?

Mike: It’s one of those things where you just want to pinch yourself, because myself is like, I’ve been in the industry that long that you know what the expected recovery time is for patients.  And when you’re seeing people ambulating without a cane in two weeks, I mean I’m picking machines up, and at times at three weeks, and I’m blown away, like completely blown away, where I’m seeing people walk around like nothing even happened before.  And the reason is that early on, getting them active with the machine, and getting their range of motion early on, the pain scale is going down, the patients, in general, love it.  They don’t want it to go.  

The thing I like is they’re so involved with the recovery.  These patients have went through this for so long and suffered for so long, they want to get back to their normal life.  They want to get back, and the thing is they can improve.  They can follow their improvement.  They can increase as their pain scale reduces.  I mean range of motion we’re getting back, the extension we’re getting back is absolutely amazing.  I mean, I’m very grateful to be a part of it.

Toree: Yeah.  And I mean that we’ve seen a lot of things anecdotally with the reduction in narcotics and all of that kind of stuff.  And I know that previously, I’ve been lucky enough, knock on wood, to not have to have any kind of major surgery.  Like the only surgery really I’ve ever had to have is having my wisdom teeth pulled out.  They’ve put me on meds for that.  I think back in the day, I got like Norcos or something, and I hated them.  I totally hated them.  They’ve just like did a number on my gut, and they just make you feel kind of funny.  Some people just doesn’t sit well with them.  

And so, to have an option of something that might help, because of course, in all of my conversations that we’ve had with other surgeons, the number one thing that they say is motion leads to less swelling, less issues.  And swelling, essentially, is what kind of causes pain.  So, if you can get rid of that aspect of it, and kind of start moving and grooving and feeling a lot better, without narcotics, then that’s just a cherry on top of gaining your range of motion back sooner.  So, I’m glad to hear that you’ve had such fabulous patient feedback that just makes us also happy. 

So, the next question that I’ve – oh, go ahead.

Mike: No, I was just going to say, to speak on that, that is 100% accurate.  The pain scales had been minimized so quickly, like within four or five days, these patients are like, I have – I mean, they’re down to like a two.  Some patients are two the whole time.  They’re coming out of surgery, and you get them moving.  The initial thing is to get them moving.  Once you get them moving, the swelling – I mean, the gentleman you spoke with last week on robotics. 

Toree: Right, yeah, Dr. Boghosian.

Mike: I mean, that I’ve seen.  I could talk on that forever and a day, as far as that versus the standard approach.  But from a swelling standpoint, from a pain scale, everything, and then implementing this ROMTech machine device, PortableConnect to assist the patients with their recovery has been – I mean, two weeks, these people are rocking and rolling.  Three weeks, they’re happy as a clam.  And it’s been great.  

Toree: That’s fantastic.  It’s insane for me to think about how far kind of technology has come to not only be able to use robotics in the replacement of a joint.  Like you’ve got a brand-new knee, but after two weeks of having a brand-new knee to be able to kind of just walk around without assistance is insane to me.  I feel like there are no words – you know what I mean – for the progression that we’ve come, because it used to take such a long time for recovery.  

Mike: Right.  No, I agree.  I mean, I could say, years ago, you’re looking at six, eight weeks of recovery for a patient.  And now, to be able to cut that down to three, four weeks, and they’re back at work, I mean it’s a bit much.  

Toree: Yeah, it’s crazy.  It definitely pulls some of, I guess, the fear away from having a major surgery like that in the first place, because you’re not going to be down for as long, which would be the number one thing for me is just downtime.  But I did want to ask you, what was the process for an eight-week recovery?  Like, what did that look like?

Mike: You cut off.

Toree: Okay, I’ll try it again here.  Since we’re talking about longer recovery times, what does the eight-week recovery process look like, or what did it use to look like?

Mike: It’s just extensive.  I mean, it’s one of those things where – I mean, from what I’m seeing now versus what I saw a couple of years ago, you’re cutting it in less – you’re in half or less of recovery.  

Every patient is different.  Every patient swells different.  Every patient’s pain scale is different.  So, what you look at is when you get these patients that you would expect their pain scale to stay at this level for a certain amount of time.  And you could put them on a machine, and you watch them.  First couple of days, obviously, your pain scale is going to go up.  You’ve just had surgery.  But after that, because they’re so active, it drops so drastically, and they’re able to be more active.  It’s because it’s consistent.  Three to five sessions a day versus one PT session, that’s the thing is do the work, and you’re going to see results.  

Mike’s Favorite PortableConnect Stories

Toree: Yeah, absolutely.  I know that you work with patients a lot, and I know that you’ve got a favorite patient story out there, so do you have one that comes to mind as the favorite that you like to share with us?  

Mike: I do.  It actually is great, because it just came up earlier this week.  So, we had a patient, this is one of the first patients.  Not first.  I want to say it’s probably midway through.  I mean, I’ve been onboard, we just got started six, eight weeks ago maybe in total.  So, this is probably about three weeks ago, and it’s great. 

I picked the gentleman’s machine up, and he was excellent.  This guy’s moving around, older gentleman.  And I’m just like, wow, this guy is just – he’s nailed it, I mean all the way around.  I could just tell his personality was like, this isn’t going to hold him back.  He’s got [inaudible 00:15:39].  

So, we’re three weeks out, we’re doing his other knee on Monday.  And for me, for that to happen, the turnaround, yeah, we’re doing his knee on Monday, his other knee.  

Toree: Oh my gosh.

Mike: And he’s going to be right back at it.  Yeah, three weeks out, the guy is absolute…  I’m just floored.  Wow.  I was just blown away.  I was like, what.  And that’s the thing.  It’s like this has been repeated.  We’re repeating it consistently.  And that’s the thing for me, it’s like, this is consistent.  Let’s see.  I want to see it to believe it.  And now, that I have seen it, I’m just like, wow.  

And I’ve reached out to a lot of people I know across the country.  I’m like, don’t pass this one up.  Don’t pass it up.  This is legit.  I mean, what it’s doing for patients, as quick as they’re getting their range of motion back, quality of life back, it’s everything you could ask for and more.  

Toree: That’s amazing.  So, I guess in that same vein, I know we talked about what surgeon feedback is, but do you have any favorite surgeon feedback, or like favorite surgeon stories of those that have kind of like turned into basically a believer like you of the PortableConnect device?

Mike: I do.  My favorite surgeon’s feedback was [inaudible 00:17:15].  So, one of the guys I work with, we’ve done multiple patients.  And I’ve reached out, and I said – just random.  It was random.  I said, “What did you different with this patient versus your prior patients?”  And he’s like, oh, it’s my first robot.  And here we are.  This is what I’m speaking of.  It was the first robot.  And for them, the swelling was minimal, minimal.  I’m so floored by it.  I mean, if you look at age factor and everything else put into it, there’s no reason why everyone shouldn’t be running around in three, four weeks.  I mean, the feedback that I got from that, and I said whatever you’re doing right now, keep doing that, because this guy has been an absolute rock star. And consistently going forward, every single one of them have been on point, every single one.  

Toree: That’s amazing.  It’s just looking to the future.  You know what I mean?  And it’s one of those things as a testament to technology just evolving.  And you’ve got minimally invasive while using robotics.  As I learned from Dr. Boghosian, it’s not necessarily faster with the programming of the robots and all of that sort of thing that you need to do for the surgery to have it take place, but the recovery time to be shortened, and the invasion portion to be minimized with, of course, make for you would think a quicker recovery, and then just add on the new technology of the PortbleConnect just kind of like you’ve got the most high-tech replacement surgery and physical therapy and recovery that you possibly could be in.  And it’s a really exciting place to be.

Mike: I can’t even explain it.  I mean, just where we’re at right now, where ROMTech’s going to go with everything else, I mean they’re definitely breaking the ice, definitely breaking the ice for some really good things to come. 

Toree: Yeah, most definitely.  Well, I think that’s all of the questions that I’ve got for you.  And Mike, I’m sure I’ll be talking to you pretty soon, and booking you with some doctors that we’ve got up in the area.  

Getting Started as a Surgical First Assistant

Oh, we did have a question come in from Gio.  She said, “Mike mentioned that you were a surgical first assistant, so what advice would you give listeners in starting a career like this, and how did you begin your career in orthopedic surgery?”

Mike: It’s interesting, because when I was a surgical first assist, I went into sales after that.  I have a sales background, surgeon first assist, and now jumping on back and forth, and I’ve always wanted to start my own distributorship. Really work for a bigger company, but distribute for these companies that are niche products for or something that is different.  I’m taking this in.  This is going to be my baby.  ROMTech is going to be my baby.  

I would say for advice, is you come in as knowledgeable as you possibly can.  Just take any kind of mentoring that you can get, any kind of feedback that you can get from your surgeons.  Learn from what they like, what they don’t like, what to stay away from.  But at the same time, everything you can always learn.  

Learning facilities are huge, because it’s a teaching facility.  You get into University Hospital, that’s where I came at.  I’m from the University of Pittsburgh.  So, I mean, I come from a huge learning facility, where I took everything I could possibly take in, and just hold it there, and run with it.  I mean, for the most part, it’s just continue to educate yourself.  If you’re in that situation, you want to grow, you want to step outside of being a first assist, and you enjoy that.  I mean, myself, I’ve done full line, so I’m recon, trauma, and DME.  I love it all.  But the way everything is going [inaudible 00:21:56] where DME is, where ROMTech is with what is about to just boil up.  

So, yeah, that’s it.  Take as much in from your doctors that you can take in, educate yourself as much as you can possibly.  And the education process, as much as you think you know as a surgical first assist, when you go down to sales, no, it’s just a smack in face.  It’s a real smack in the face, because it’s [inaudible 00:22:28]. 

Toree: Listen and learn. 

Mike: It’s a lot of those things where [inaudible 00:22:32].  Yeah, you have to swallow your pride.  You set your ego aside, and you just take it all in.  You got to learn.  You got to be mentored.  And you got to set yourself up with scheduling yourself, be consistent.  That’s all I really can say, consistent every week. Make a schedule.  You should have a schedule every week.  You should not be flying off the handle of not scheduling around your daily activity.  You’re just going off a limb.  You’re not going to be successful.  You’re going to fall off the rocker, and you’ll hit a lot of speed bumps along the way.  I’ve been there.  I understand it.  I could just tell you what to stay away from, but yeah.  

Toree: Well, thanks Mike.  I think that’s pretty valuable advice for folks looking to get into the field.  So, I wanted to thank you again for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with us.  

Feel free to check out Mike Miller in Gulf Coast Orthopedics and Innovations, and follow us here at ROMTech on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.  And we’ll see you, guys, next Thursday.  Stay safe and have a great evening.  Thanks so much, Mike.  We appreciate it.

Mike: Thanks, Toree.  Appreciate you, as always.  

Thanks for joining us.  Don’t forget to subscribe below.

Disclaimer: The content discussed on this program is often medical in nature, and is used for informational purposes only.  No content discussed should be taken as medical advice.  Please consult your healthcare professional for any medical questions. 

Privacy is also of the utmost importance to us.  All people, places, and scenarios mentioned have been changed to protect patient confidentiality, unless given explicit written permission to share.  

This podcast should not be used in any legal capacity whatsoever, including but not limited to establishing a “standard of care” in a legal sense, or as a basis for expert witness testimony.

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