2016 HME Handbook
How to Cement Solid CPM Referral Relationships
CPM providers can better educate their referral partners and coordinate with them in order to improve patient outcomes.
- By David Kopf
- Jun 01, 2016
Providers of continuous passive motion
(CPM) devices have a lot of value to offer their partners and patients. CPMs help patients
regain their range of motion after joint surgery. If the devices are set up correctly and the
patients follow their treatment, they can recover more quickly so that they can return to their
And CPMs can help save money for those involved in the patient’s care, as well as the patient
and funding source. CPMs help speed up recovery which can help reduce care-related costs, since patients most likely will not have to undergo as much physical therapy. This is clearly a win-win-win
for everyone concerned.
So, with such an obvious therapeutic benefit, providers of CPMs have a lot to offer. The question
is, how do they ensure that their referral partners know about what they can provide, and
how can providers work better with those referral partners to ensure that they get their business,
and help improve patient outcomes? Let’s take a look at some key ways providers can work with
Forge the right relationships well in advance. It’s key to remember that
CPMs aren’t home medical equipment in the strictest sense of the term, as patients
typically go onto CPM therapy while still in the hospital. So the timing of when the
equipment gets deployed is different. Often patients are often put on hospitalissued
CPMs right out surgery, while they are in the hospital, with the treatment
continuing when they get home.
Because this treatment is such a high priority and is administered so quickly, it
is essential that the HME provider establish solid relationships with physicians and
other key referral partners far in advance, so that they play a role in that patient’s
initial, post-surgery treatment. This means that the provider doesn’t just have to
make a relationship with discharge planners, but with the physicians who are doing
the actual CPM ordering.
A good way to accomplish that is for the provider to educate the physician on
passive motion machines in terms of options and set-ups. This allows the provider
to start sharing expertise and demonstrate that it is more than just a provider of
equipment. By giving physicians product information that they would otherwise
consider the domain of physical therapists, the physician will feel more inclined to
work directly with the provider. Act as an expert and partner in the patient’s care,
and ensure physicians know your business offers a range of options that they can
leverage as part of the treatment program.
Partner with physical therapists. The physician isn’t the only healthcare
professional with whom the provider must coordinate. Partnering with physical
therapists is just as important, because CPM therapy must involve them as they are
just as involved in the patient’s recovery. A good way to do that is to work in concert
with PTs and doctors to develop programs that help the patient stick to an entire
post-surgery therapy. The program can remind the patient to do their exercises,
as well as their CPM therapy. It can also ensure that the patients log their activities
in terms of duration and frequency. This sort of program helps get the patient
involved in the care and take every aspect of their therapy seriously, because they
are invested in improving. But that’s not the only benefit. Besides ensuring that the
patient is sticking to his or her CPM therapy, such a program ensures that everyone
involved in the patient’s care is working in concert. It creates a team approach that
makes the provider an essential player on the squad.
Highlight detailed communication. Once you work directly with a physician, it is
essential that you come up with policies and procedures that ensure that you ensure
complete understanding of the physicians orders. Your communications must check
and double check with the physician to ensure the correct frequency, length, range of
motion, the right amount of progression, etc. This is especially important given that
not all treatments and patients will require the same CPM requirements. Moreover,
different physicians might have different opinions on the best CPM therapy specifics.
The provider must ensure that the CPM set up follows the specifics to the letter for
each patient. By doing so, you will establish solid trust with the physician.
Focus on follow-up. Providers must establish policies and procedures that not
only help the patient transfer their CPM therapy from the hospital to the home, but
they must ensure that the patient sticks with that therapy. The HME provider must
help set-up the equipment at the patient’s home. Then it must follow-up several
times to ensure the patient is sticking to treatment plan, and the inform the physician
on how well the patient is progressing, and whether or not the patient needs
direction or support from the physician and physical therapist. This not only helps
ensure optimal outcomes, but demonstrates to the doctor that the provider is a
partner in care.
Develop an educational program. As an equipment expert, you have a solid
opportunity to help the physicians and physical therapists that you work with better
understand the devices available, and how they should be used. Create education
programs to make your partners are aware of the options that your business
provides. Take care to highlight new products that are available and the features
they offer. These kinds of programs will help establish your business as a key
resource with a range of solutions to everyone involved in the patient’s care, and
keep your services front of mind.
Points to Remember:
- Develop relationships with physicians well in advance of patient care,
because patients are often put on CPM devices right out surgery.
- Providers must also create bonds with Physical Therapists. Consider
creating post-surgery therapy programs with PTs.
- Always highlight communication with physicians to ensure that CPM set up
and therapy objectives are clearly understood.
- Follow-up with patients after they start home CPM therapy to ensure they
- Educate physicians and PTs on the CPM technology options available to
- If you’re curious about the development of continuous passive motion and
the personalities behind its therapeutic proliferation, check out continuouspassivemotion.org. To stay on top of the latest CPM offerings on the
market, visit HMEB's CPM product directory.
This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of HME Business.
David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.