Observation Deck

An E-Prescribing Solution Comes to the DME Industry

Several factors have slowed DME’s adoption of e-prescription, but a new coalition has kicked things into high gear.

Advancemnets in digital technology are transforming healthcare. Electronic health records, sophisticated wearable devices, remote monitoring systems, and the use of telemedicine and virtual consultations are increasingly valued by clinicians, patients, administrators, and payers. These technologies facilitate better decision-making, improve accuracy in patient records, and make it easier for healthcare professionals and payers to share data quickly and securely.

The homecare sector must not be left behind in taking advantage of leading-edge digital technology, particularly when it comes to the ordering process for our products and services. That’s why leading DME stakeholders have come together to deliver a new e-prescribing platform designed to save time and money for suppliers while capturing patient data more securely.

Say ‘Hello’ to DMEScripts

DMEscripts is a new, independent e-prescription company designed for our industry. I’m excited that AAHomecare is among the founders of this enterprise, along with VGM, AdaptHealth, Apria, Lincare, and Rotech. The solution employs a proprietary e-prescribing software that operates on an open network that any DME supplier can join. There’s no cost for prescribers or patients.

The benefits of e-prescribing are clear. Referrals that start with a fax or a phone call can lead to errors or missing pieces of information that can derail the ordering process or slow down claims submissions and payments. These misfires have the potential to frustrate patients, providers, and physicians alike. Errors or missing documentation components delay equipment being delivered and extend hospital stays. Small mistakes in transmitting an order sometimes have significant consequences.

DMEscripts is designed to prevent these problems, with a solution that results in greater than 95 percent of the orders being accepted the first time. The technology will allow prescribers and suppliers to track orders from submission to delivery and communicate seamlessly and safely. DMEscripts uses protocols that will allow it to integrate with electronic health records and billing systems, as well.

DMEscripts is built on expertise specific to our industry, and will continue to evolve to meet the changing needs and expectations of suppliers and clinicians, as well as new regulations and requirements in the healthcare sector. The company’s Advisory Board will include HME leaders with expertise in regulatory, compliance, and business operations to ensure an industry-leading solution at the start, and also through the years ahead. There’s inherent strength and security in a platform that is designed and managed by DME stakeholders. Leveraging the skill sets of the industry leaders behind DMEscripts is a formula for success.

The founding partners also expect to offer opportunities for other DME participants to invest in the venture. This is a platform for DME, and will be led by DME going forward.

Room to Grow

Broad utilization of e-prescribing for DME has been slow to arrive for a variety of reasons, including unwillingness on the prescriber side of the equation. A strong solution that integrates well with prescriber systems, is intuitive and easy to learn, speeds the ordering process for clinicians, and allows them to track order status all the way through to delivery is needed to encourage more prescribers to unplug the fax machine — at least for their DME orders.

While uptake for e-prescribing for DME has been improving in recent years, there is still plenty of room to grow the adoption of this technology. The potential upside for our industry and clinicians to get on board in embracing e-prescribing is right there for all to see, and that bodes well for DMEscripts.

The value of DME has never been more evident than it is today. The core aspect of what we do — allowing seniors and other individuals with a range of challenges and conditions to be cared for at home — is being recognized as increasingly important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the costs of hospitalizations and other clinical interventions spiral up and our population ages, clinically proven and cost-effective DME will be needed like never before.

To make sure we take advantage of the opportunities ahead, it’s critical that we continue to adopt new practices and technologies to better serve our patients and to increase operational efficiencies in the face of reimbursement pressures and tight margins.

E-prescribing is one of these new technologies that suppliers can utilize now and see a quick return on investment in speeding the ordering process, preventing errors, limiting the need to follow up to find one missing piece of information, and helping get claims in quickly and accurately.

Nobody will miss chasing paperwork. Suppliers, clinicians, and patients will have a better experience. Increased use of e-prescribing will pay dividends for DME, especially with a solution that is made for our industry.

About the Author

Tom Ryan is the president and CEO of the American Association for Homecare (Washington, D.C.), the industry's national association.

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