2022 HME Business Handbook: Patient Engagement
Improve Your Business With Timely And Proper Follow-Up
- By Sandra Canally
- Jun 01, 2022
As an HME/DME
provider, the value of your
business is directly tied to how
equipment is managed and timely
your follow-up with customers
occurs. Implementing and
maintaining an appropriately
focused equipment management
and follow-up system, according
to the type of equipment provided,
and with the patient’s expectations
in mind, will ensure patient
satisfaction with the equipment
and benefits achieved.
It all starts with the equipment
history record — having complete
documentation on each piece of
equipment in your inventory that
shows where it is located at any
given time. Not only should an
HME/DME provider be able to
link each piece of equipment to a
patient or warehouse, complying
with the manufacturer’s care
and maintenance guidelines is
a key success factor in helping
meet maintenance requirements
and adhere to preventative
The most important action to
take in managing your HME/DME business’s equipment is to
keep it in good working order at
all times. By doing so, equipment
maintenance and replacement
costs can be minimized and
patient satisfaction maximized, as
the equipment will be working at
its optimal level.
SUCCESSFUL SET-UP AND FOLLOW-UP
Initial patient education and
instruction on the product/equipment
should include use and operations,
maintenance, and cleaning. It is
important patients receive this
information at the time of set-up and let
them know when follow-up will occur.
Patients also need to know what goals
and outcomes are anticipated.
Follow-up processes may vary based
on the type of equipment provided
and the patient’s condition. Initial
patient follow-up should be done within
48-72 hours after equipment set-up.
This enables patients to share their
experience with the device; comfort
level; and ease of use. It’s a perfect time
to get customer feedback on service and
determine whether initial expectations
PATIENT TOUCH POINTS AND INFORMATION
- Initial set up with patient instruction
checklist, including when the provider
will follow up.
- Implement a new survey if or when new
products or services are added to the
- Evaluate patterns in survey responses
- The organization has an organized
process and written policy and
procedure in place for equipment-related
follow-up of patients either
by phone or visit. This can be
incorporated into the satisfaction
survey if done by phone.
- Documentation of equipment-related
follow-up is found in patient records.
- As appropriate, the patient’s record is
reviewed to incorporate any necessary
changes in conjunction with the
- In the DME record, each patient’s
device usage is documented from set
up to pick up.
- For equipment such as oxygen
concentrators, the delivery tech will
more than likely change filters and or
do minor maintenance checks while in
the patient’s home.
- Always measure an employee’s
performance based on customer
- If results show a high number of
negatives related to the set-up done
by a certain technician, this presents
an opportunity for more training.
REDUCING COSTS, IMPROVING RESULTS
Look for efficiencies. To keep the number
of deliveries down, evaluate your ability
to give additional supplies, portables,
etc. at each visit. Address these
opportunities during follow-up calls
and by staying in touch with patients to
determine if their needs are being met.
Importantly, during patient follow-ups,
ask questions specific to patients’
expectations and if these met with their
results. When patients express positive
experiences, document the results and
share with the referring physician. These
outcomes lead to more business referrals
from this provider source and potentially
from their colleagues.
POINTS TO REMEMBER
Schedule follow-up calls within 72
hours after setup, with five objectives:
- Does the patient understand how to
use/operate the delivered product?
Are they using it correctly?
- Has the patient been made aware
of who to contact and when if problems
- Was the patient satisfied with their
service? Would they recommend
the company to others
- Patient outcome is directly related
to their level of understanding and
proper use of equipment.
- Use follow-up results to get more
referrals (e.g., 98 percent of ABC
Medical patients are satisified).
To learn how The Compliance Team
can help your business focus on
what matters most to patients, visit
thecomplianceteam.org or call (915)
This article originally appeared in the May/Jun 2022 issue of HME Business.
About the Author
Sandra C. Canally, RN is the founder and CEO of accrediting organization The Compliance Team Inc., which was approved by CMS in 2006 to accredit all types of DMEPOS businesses. For more information, email scanally@TheComplianceTeam.org, or visit TheComplianceTeam.org.