HME News

DEC 2018

HME News is the monthly business newspaper for home medical equipment providers. This controlled circulation publication reaches 17,100 home medical equipment services providers, including traditional HME dealers & suppliers, hospital- and pharmacy-o

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HME NEWS / DECEMBER 2018 / WWW.HMENEWS.COM 11 Let's destroy our comfort zone together We are evolving to be in front of challenges providers face and to develop needed solutions Guest commentary CLINT GEFFERT I T'S HARD to believe that 2018 is quick- ly coming to an end. In this industry, we blink and another year is behind us. At VGM, we experienced many examples this year that truly illustrate productive change—forward movement in technology, providers dipping their toes in the waters of opportunity, and engagement at all levels to continue to come togeth- er to take care of America's post-acute patients. We l a u n c h e d a s e r i e s of playbooks in 2018 as a resource for both provid- ers and manufacturers that highlighted and addressed issues, trends and opportunities facing the durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthot- ics and supplies (DMEPOS) industry. We entered the year with continued uncer- tainty due to consolidation, competitive bidding and the regulatory environment dominating the headlines. With this landscape, however, came new oppor- tunities. These opportunities and more will carry over in 2019. Projections by the Census Bureau estimate the number of adults ages 65 and over could increase to more than 71 million in 2030 and hit 88.5 million by 2050. The market for treatment of obesity, COPD, obstructive sleep apnea, BY STEVE ROGERS W HILE WE can all appreciate the importance of getting a good night's sleep, we know there are millions of peo- ple who need assistance catching some "ZZZs." Age, obesity and a greater pub- lic awareness of the importance of sleep has led to a steadily growing number of Americans who are tested and treated for sleep apnea. In fact, a recent study convened by ResMed found that sleep apnea affects nearly 1 billion people worldwide. With so many people affected, treatment is moving out of the specialized arena and into more mainstream discussions. As a result, there will be more people diag- nosed, more people looking to research their options and more potential custom- ers for the savvy HME provider. Success within the sleep therapy mar- ket—a growing, highly competitive and compliance-driven area—hinges on data collection, patient outcomes and compli- ance. By making data the heart of your operation, you can drive business deci- sions that lead to a higher rate of compli- ance and repeat referrals and customers. But you must first find the right tech- nology partner that offers the tools and resources needed to handle all of these challenges, as well as help you maintain and grow referrals, which are the back- bone of any sleep therapy business. So how can technology help boost sleep therapy referrals? Below are four ways providers can leverage technology to do just that, all while ensuring stellar patient care. MONITOR COMPLIANCE Compliance is crucial to any sleep therapy practice. It's critical that providers lever- age technology that automates patient compliance via real-time integration with leading sleep therapy manufactur- ers. With robust technology, providers can access compliance and therapy reports to deliver meaningful information to the post-acute referral sources. Technology can also help determine non-compliance earlier so those patients who need help can be identified early on. And by helping more patients comply with home therapy protocols, you're aiding referral sources in avoiding readmissions. OPTIMIZE RESUPPLY Providers should be utilizing technol- ogy to launch automated, intelligent patient contact campaigns to reach the right patient at the right time with the right products. Beyond just increasing communication with customers, certain technologies can help track patients who are eligible for resupply, which helps to reduce denials and increase sales orders. By eliminating human touches, you can cut down on the number of staff mem- bers working on each order, which saves the practice time and money, as well as facilitates a better patient and referral experience. AUTOMATE ORDERING PROCESSES Every provider's objective should be to make the reordering process as seamless for the patient as possible. This means letting the patient reorder in the way they want, such as being able to call-in, visit a brick-and-mortar store, or order online via a portal. Finding ways to automate processes is an important driver in operational excel- lence and exceptional customer service. It's also important to leverage technol- ogy that helps move inventory out of your warehouse and into the hands of the patients. Certain technologies allow you to order supplies directly from leading vendors and perform direct-to- patient shipping, which helps to relieve the mounting pressures of reduced reim- bursement rates, additional compliance regulations and higher shipping charges. INTEGRATE WITH MANUFACTURERS AND EXTERNAL REFERRAL SOURCES Finding a solution that allows your orga- nization to integrate with top manufac- turers will allow you to better track and manage therapy compliance of sleep- disordered patients. Communication is key in any sleep therapy business. With integrated technology, you can seamless- ly communicate with acute-care referral sources, as well as exchange informa- tion and receive referrals from external sources. Sleep therapy is becoming a major component of the HME provider's busi- ness. As more providers look to boost their sleep therapy practices, technol- ogy is a key factor in helping to inform business decisions and increase referral sources. With healthcare moving to an out- comes-based reimbursement model, it's more important than ever that sleep therapy practices utilize technology to improve patient care, keep accurate patient records and regularly share out- comes with physicians to limit readmis- sions and increase reimbursements. S o , w h a t 's t h e s e c re t w e a p o n i n s l e e p t h e r a p y ? R o b u s t , i n n o v a t i v e technology. HME Steve Rogers is vice president of product man- agement of Brightree. diabetes and other chronic conditions continues to expand. This uniquely posi- tions our industry to help improve the quality of life for more patients than ever before. To quote the great Wayne Gretzky, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." Let's make 2019 the year we all strategically step out of our comfort zones to grow, capitalize on the big- ger opportunity for DMEPOS and beyond, and see where the magic happens. To be quite honest, I con- tinue to challenge my team to step out of their comfort zones and think differ- ently about how we bring maximum value to VGM members and partners. We are evolv- ing to be in front of the challenges providers face day in and day out and develop the solutions needed for pro- viders to stay relevant in the future. Below are some of our focus areas as we head into the New Year: COMPETITIVE BIDDING In recent years, there has been plenty of instability in the DMEPOS market due to many regulatory unknowns and "we'll wait and see what happens" with reimbursement relief from the legis- lative and executive branch (CMS) of the government. VGM and industry stake- holders will continue to strategize and pursue much-needed reforms to protect suppliers and the patients they serve. PAYER RELATIONS Providers will need to engage in more active dialogue with payers. It is impor- tant to know what their goals are and what's important to them. Ultimately, providers can best prepare for these changes by doing the very thing many of them got in the business to do in the first place—be the support for patients. GROWTH POTENTIAL IN THE MARKETPLACE We've identified the markets below as growing most rapidly and aligning best with DMEPOS providers, no matter their current business mix: 4Home modification 4Women's health 4Complex rehab 4Retail/cash products 4Respiratory 4Wound care 4Cannabis TECHNOLOGY ECOSYSTEM FOR DMEPOS Providers know there is value in auto- mation and gaining efficiencies, but how does everything fit together? We are working to illustrate the technology ecosystem for DMEPOS. CUSTOMER LOYALTY Understanding your customers and their lifetime value (LTV) will become paramount. One of the most effective ways to boost LTV is to increase cus- tomer satisfaction. Research has found that a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25-95%. Online review tools, as well as a closed-loop feedback process to address issues and personnel training, are areas to invest. Be on the lookout for the launch of "Industry Snapshots: Forecasting 2019" in late January. Industry experts will again weigh in and get deep with the top post-acute health care initia- tives providers and manufacturers should focus their time and resourc- es on to realize the most impactful results. If you felt uncomfortable in 2018, be prepared to take that to a whole new level in 2019. Let's destroy the walls of our comfort zone together (not only in business, but in life) and see the difference for patients, profits—and ourselves. HME Clint Geffert is president of VGM & Associates. CLINT GEFFERT What's the secret weapon in sleep therapy?

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