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.

CPM ReferralProviders 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 daily lives.

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 referral partners:

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 achieve success.
  • Educate physicians and PTs on the CPM technology options available to them.

Learn More:

  • 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.

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.


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