2022 HME Business Handbook: Patient Engagement

Improve Your Business With Timely And Proper Follow-Up

Patient EngagmentAs 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 maintenance schedules.

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.


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 were met.


  • 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 patient
  • 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 prescribing physician.
  • 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 responses.
  • 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.


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.


Schedule follow-up calls within 72 hours after setup, with five objectives:

  1. Does the patient understand how to use/operate the delivered product? Are they using it correctly?
  2. Has the patient been made aware of who to contact and when if problems arise?
  3. Was the patient satisfied with their service? Would they recommend the company to others
  4. Patient outcome is directly related to their level of understanding and proper use of equipment.
  5. 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) 999-7181.

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.

HME Business Podcast