Personalizing the Patient Experience
To maximize revenue, HME providers must create consumer-like patient care while boosting efficiencies with integrated resupply.
- By Michael Lorenz
- Feb 01, 2022
Though his recent journey to space was monumental
news for Amazon, Jeff Bezos’s bigger impact on this universe has been
transforming consumer experiences across the globe. “The Amazon
experience” has been taking e-commerce by storm since the late 2000s.
And with the pandemic shocking every aspect of life, the expectation of
convenient, streamlined service has expanded into healthcare as well,
ushering in a patient-centric outlook that is gaining momentum.
But as patient centricity continues to spread, HME providers are
facing business realities that require them to operate more efficiently
and optimize their finances. It creates the paradox we face today — the
need to provide personalized patient experiences, while running a lean
business that maximizes resources.
Outside Market Forces
This push toward patient-centric care models and consumer-like experiences
within the industry is compounded by the growing number of
online retailers, such as Amazon, and well-recognized vendors, such
as CVS and Walmart, entering into the non-hospital and post-acute
consumer and patient markets.
As these players inch into HME territory, it will be more important
than ever for providers to modernize and digitize their interactions
with patients. Offering a digital experience that empowers and engages
patients will ultimately drive greater financial transparency, predictability
and convenience, improve therapy adherence and enable low-touch
communication for fewer manual burdens on staff.
In addition to the new entrants and competitors, there are a number
of challenges directly affecting HME operations and thus profit margins.
These include regulatory changes impacting reimbursement, competitive
bidding and greater risk-sharing with accountable care organizations
and pay-for-performance models. HME providers need to improve
the experience they’re delivering to patients while also finding ways to
revolutionize their efficiencies so they can create more effective business
processes and maximize financial optimization.
Leveraging integrated technology platforms with analytics and automating
communications and patient touchpoints are two dependable
strategies to achieve this. And with resupply contributing to a significant
portion of most providers’ revenues, it’s the perfect workstream on
which to begin.
Solving the Puzzle
Fully integrated, end-to-end resupply solutions manage all the pieces of
the resupply puzzle, including patient outreach, automated document
retrieval, fulfillment, software automation that connects back to billing
and, importantly, data analytics that provide insights on performance.
If you are taking a week per order, you are losing an order per year —
which can be detrimental to your patients’ health and experience, as
well as your finances.
For patient outreach, sophisticated resupply solutions employ a
variety of modalities, from live calling to an online portal to text messaging,
with many options in between. Allowing patients to choose
the modality that best suits their needs creates an experience that feels
tailored, convenient and transparent. It also improves outcomes and
propels revenue by ensuring a consistent receipt of necessary supplies.
The expenses of multiple work streams can be boiled down to one comprehensive
program, eliminating the usual printer, paper and ink from
the equation and reducing the bill to just the software itself.
Supporting even a few of these patient outreach options in-house
would significantly strain resources, though. Using resupply technology
and services to manage more of these “yes-no” interactions means staff
can focus on more strategic work and meaningful patient engagement
— achieving the balance between personalized patient care, efficient
workflows and optimized financials. Resupply programs streamline
what used to be a time and material-heavy process while using zero
Healthcare is a 24/7-365 operation, and it allows nothing to be left
on the backburner. Comprehensive solutions ensure an “employee
on-call” at all times, saving staff times and expenses while making sure
patients and their loved ones feel they are being cared for at all times.
It lets all stakeholders enjoy their holidays, weekends and, namely, the
provider-patient time while giving consistent, efficient care.
For a successful resupply program, providers must also be able to
measure how they are serving current patients and how well they are
managing patient portfolio growth. Resupply solutions backed by
analytics are able to provide insights into key performance indicators
like net revenue collection, accounts receivable, sales outstanding, sales
orders created and invoices to help better manage revenue and staff
productivity, define trends, shape outcomes and use benchmarks for
At their core, integrated, end-to-end resupply solutions are able to
condense and automate what used to be time-intensive, manual tasks
to significantly increase efficiencies, improve the patient experience and
pave the way for better business performance.
While market forces are demanding change across the industry, neither
Rome nor Amazon were built in a day. Finding ways to automate
communications and touchpoints throughout the patient journey,
such as in resupply, will increase gains, expand efficiency and improve
patient responsiveness and satisfaction, helping providers achieve the
necessary balance to succeed today and in the future.
This article originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2022 issue of HME Business.
Mike Lorenz is the vice president of resupply software for HME and post-acute software company Brightree LLC. (brightree.com).