Dr. Goofy Gettwell eases parents' minds with house calls, telemedicine

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by Catherine Holland

GMAZ segments by Heidi Goitia

Posted on July 22, 2014 at 2:04 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 22 at 2:04 PM

PHOENIX – Ask any parent who has had a sick child and he or she will tell you that hauling the poor kid to the doctor is difficult at best, especially where there are siblings along for the ride.

What if you could get your child the care he or she needs without ever leaving your home? Would you do it?

Dr. Mark Gettleman of Dr. Goofy Gettwell Pediatrics is betting you would and has launched a mobile pediatrics practice to give you exactly that option.

Gettleman, who has lived in Phoenix since he was 5 years old and graduated from Central High School in 1984, believes the health care system as it is now is unsustainable.

“Medicine has become a broken system where the government and insurance companies call the shots and determine what treatment is best for you, how you will get it, and how much you will pay for it,” he explains on his website. “The days of doctor-patient relationships have all but disappeared.”

That is what he is trying to change.

“There are too many limits placed on us by insurance and the government to actually practice good medicine,” he told 3TV’s Heidi Goitia. “I was getting frustrated and patients were getting frustrated.”

In order to get out from under the seemingly endless paperwork and return his focus his patients, Gettleman left the practice he founded in 1999 to try something new. He left the traditional doctor's office behind and took his practice on the road.

Gettleman describes his venture as “a practice that takes the best from the past, like home visits, personal connection, and open communication, and adds the most advanced research, technology and innovation from the 21st century. Together, we can recreate health care the way it was meant to be.”

Not only does Gettleman make house calls, he also offers telemedicine and e-appointments.

“I can provide almost any service that’s provided in a doctor’s office,” he told Goitia.

Gettleman only sees between six and eight patients face-to-face each day in his GoGo Mobile, an RV he that he converted to a mobile clinic. He also does online virtual visits and phone appointments.

He said there are some things, such as a rash, that do not require an in-person visit to diagnose. He set up E-RID, a HIPPA-compliant online communication system that allows parents to send him photos and details about a rash. He can then make a diagnosis and prescribe treatment.

Gettleman says parents love the telemedicine option.

While he does not accept insurance, Gettleman said his services are affordable, often cheaper than a traditional practice.

“If I can do it online, I don’t have to charge you what I would if you came in,” he said.

“I’ve had people, especially after hours, not have to go to the emergency room,” he continued. “The money it saves not going to the emergency room is huge.”

Gettleman’s model is both a throwback and, thanks to technology, cutting edge.

“It sort of reminded me of ‘Little House on the Prairie,’" mom of two Dee Rich said. “The doctor comes to you and he cares. He gives you his time.”

Gettleman says his new practice allows him to give his patients and their parents the time, care and peace of mind that they deserve.

"That's what medicine is supposed to be about," he said.

In addition to pay-as-you-go services, Gettleman offers three membership options.

For more information, check out DrGoofyGettwell.com.

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