Tips for Increasing Your Low- and No-Delivery Oxygen Business

Experts chime in on what approaches they think help generate low- and no-delivery success.

We asked the various experts interviewed for our feature what approaches they think have helped generate low- and no-delivery successes and they offered up a number of suggestions worth considering.

Hi-Tech’s Tyson says the following can help improve providers’ low- and no-delivery oxygen business:

  • Require that every patient needing more than five cylinders more than twice a month be required to transition to a low- or no-delivery oxygen model.
  • Promote the LTOT protocols that improve patient quality of life and offer freedom from the tether of the stationary model.
  • The new face-to-face and written order prior to delivery WOPD is not required for stationary oxygen or POCs, so it may make for easier referral out of hospital.
  • The initial investment is costly but equipment costs allocated over the length of the rental period of 36 months can still make oxygen profitable.
  • Patients and referral sources love the small lightweight oxygen options available and the convenience of not having to wait for delivery or have people tracking in and out of their house.

VGM’s Geffert suggests looking at alternative funding, which could include seeking out additional contracts or diversifying into out-of-pocket cash sales. Another way, he says, is to look at your existing referral sources and see if you can grow your referral base.

“There are various physician specialties that prescribe oxygen or direct their patients to new technologies,” he says. “An additional source of low and no-delivery oxygen business may lie within your existing patient population. Dealers can mine their existing database for patients that qualify or may be interested in low or no-delivery options.”

Tips for your oxygen business from Invacare’s Lewarski include:

  • Market aggressively and raise awareness among physicians and referral sources. Despite the growing use of new oxygen technologies, there remain knowledge gaps among the physicians and other referral personnel.
  • Consider patient-focused direct marketing. In the past, direct-to-patient or caregiver marketing was often frowned upon; today, it is a standard of practice in many areas of medicine. Hospitals, clinics, physicians, pharmaceutical companies, and even joint implant companies market direct to patients. Why? Because it works.
  • Monitor and measure patient satisfaction and outcomes. In today’s modern healthcare environment, these elements matter. As hospitals, physicians and other new care models (i.e., ACOs) are monitoring and measured for their performance, key metrics, such as readmission and patient satisfaction and experience are measured elements of performance and have payment incentives and penalties. Measuring and sharing these data are more important now than ever.

02 Concepts’ Kent suggests that to build your low- and no-delivery oxygen business:

  • Know where it fits. You need a basic survey/interview on patient lifestyle to understand and predict their tank usage. Do they visit family regularly? Are they a member of any clubs? Do they drive? We help providers develop these surveys and analyze their current data on tank deliveries. Once you develop a good survey to predict usage, patients using 15 tanks a month should go on non-delivery as a rule of thumb.
  • Know your patients comfort level with technology. Operating equipment at home or on the go can be complicated. For example with POCs, we recommend dealers ask the patient if they have a cell phone. That will give you an indicator of how adept they are at managing battery life on a piece of technology. Patients who are more technically inclined often adapt better.
  • Mitigate risk. When you transition to non-delivery, you have to stand by the equipment for 60 months. Take warranty upgrades to help off set the risk of buying the equipment a second time.
  • Manage cash flow with financing options. Non-delivery equipment can be a significant upfront investment. Most equipment providers will assist in gaining financing. Medicare will reimburse an extra $20 per month on average in CBAs. Smaller providers who aren’t cash-rich can get started a few patients at a time and then reinvest the money to convert more patients.

This article originally appeared in the May 2014 Respiratory & Sleep Management issue of HME Business.

About the Author

Joseph Duffy is a freelance writer and marketing consultant, and a regular contributor to HME Business and DME Pharmacy. He can be reached via e-mail at joe@prooferati.com.

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