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 10, 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 employee labor.
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 better benefits.
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.
Mike Lorenz is the vice president of resupply software for HME and post-acute software company Brightree LLC. (brightree.com).