Choosing a Urological Provider
How Kristina Rhoades educated herself about her options.
- By Lisa Wells
- Jan 05, 2018
HME Providers who want to grow their urological business should look at their services through the eyes of people who use the products they sell to see how they can improve their offerings.
“I’ve worked with end users in the urology field for nearly a decade. It continues to astound me how common it is for HME Providers and even manufacturers in this space to not have anyone internally who is a firsthand expert on catheters. How can you effectively serve your audience if you’re not actively seeking and responding to the voice of your customer?” Cure Medical vice president of marketing Lisa Wells says.
Successful Urology Providers Seek to Listen to and Educate Their Customers
Mobility industry sales and marketing veteran Kristina Rhoades agrees. A T-5 paraplegic since she was 10 months old, Rhoades has used a wheelchair and catheters for most of her life. Rhoades also has worked in our industry for nearly 10 years at companies like Colours Wheelchair and RevAbility. Despite her broad industry knowledge and lifelong intermittent catheter use, she was shocked at how little she knew about the differences between intermittent catheters in terms of features, chemical content and more.
“I was introduced to my current brand of catheter, the Cure Twist, by my HME provider. I’m so thankful they exposed me to something new, because this product has made my life so much easier as an active, professional mom on wheels,” Rhoades explains.
“That’s why I think it’s so important to choose your urological supply provider carefully to ensure you’re giving your business to a company that has YOUR best interest at heart. Our urological health is not something to play around with,” Rhoades says.
Medical research supports the gravity of her concern too. The incidence rate of bladder cancer in people who have spinal cord injury (SCI) is 16 to 28 times higher than that of the general population, according to a research study published by model SCI center Craig Rehabilitation Hospital.
Your Catheter Customers Might Not Realize They Have Options
“It’s equally important to educate your customers on the options available to them for intermittent catheterization, as so much of their regimen compliance and your resulting customer retention depends on their personal experience and comfort with their daily-use catheter,” Wells explains. “If something’s not working well for them, you as a provider need to know. Ask about their experience, and ask often so you can correct any issues before it costs you a customer.”
Studies have shown that Rhoades isn’t the only catheter user out there who may not be aware of better options for their individual needs or preference. In fact, she may very well represent the majority of your customer base.
Wheel:Life, a digital publication for wheelchair users, surveyed more than 100 readers who use intermittent catheters and learned many have never tried any other catheter than the one they were first shown while in rehab years prior. The majority of the survey participants, especially men who have used catheters for 10 years or more, shared that they aren’t familiar with any catheters other than the one they’ve always used.
More than 30% of Wheel:Life survey respondents said that they are having trouble inserting the catheters they are using today, and 20% reported that they were also experiencing occasional bleeding when self-cathing.
If the Wheel:Life audience sample crosses over to your customer base, upwards of a third of your customers could be struggling with their current catheter. If you aren’t actively helping to resolve those issues, you could be putting yourself at risk to lose those customers to another HME Provider who is.
Distinguish Your Business by Providing Options
That’s why it’s so important to keep the conversation going with your urology customers, on a regular basis, to see how they are doing with the products you’re providing.
“If your customer service team is calling your active customers on a monthly basis to renew their supply orders, add a simple question to the call as standard practice. ‘How is your current catheter working for you?’ takes just a few seconds to ask, but it might make a world of difference in the relationship you have with your patient,” Wells suggests.
Rhoades knows firsthand how much of an improvement that simple gesture can make in your customer’s daily life and routine.
“Before I started using Cure Catheters, I thought that catheters were all created equal - but that’s not the case. The more I learned about Cure Medical and their products, the more I loved them. With unique features like polished eyelets, different lengths available and the fact that they’re not made with harsh chemicals like DEHP and BPA, it’s easy to see that Cure Catheters were designed by someone who actually uses them,” Rhoades explains.
“My hope is that other patients don’t have to go over 30 years, like I did, before discovering urological supplies that really make a difference in their lives,” she adds.
For more advice on ways to improve your urological supply business, feel free to reach out to the intermittent catheter experts at Cure Medical. Visit www.curemedical.com or call (800) 570-1778.
VIDEO: Cure Twist featuring Cure Advocate Kristina Rhoades
“Bladder cancer in patients with spinal cord injury” is a large, broad research document available at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14992333.
Lisa Wells is vice president of marketing for intermittent catheter manufacturer Cure Medical. She has authored four books for the disability and homecare industry. She mentors HME marketing professionals and teaches at health care and disability conferences nationwide. Connect with her on LinkedIn or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.