In the past, when someone said the term resupply, it’s safe to say that nearly everybody in the room pictured sleep therapy. It wasn’t until recently that the conversation started to shift as we began to see significant populations of patients requiring other therapy lines to manage new and often multiple conditions. In fact, according to the CDC, about 40% of American adults now have multiple chronic conditions, which has jumped from 27.2% just five years ago.
So how does the industry deal with the influx of these patients requiring multiple therapy lines? To start, we should simply have conversations just like this. As you know, resupply is a complicated process. You already have the basics that you need to manage like insurance, documentation, payers and some sort of outreach process. But add in different therapy lines like diabetic supply, enteral nutrition, and incontinence – as well as the need to manage a patient who has been diagnosed with more than one of these therapies – and the complexity skyrockets. Now you need to double the outreach, double the insurance documentation, double the compliance, and double the follow up.
As a result, building the most efficient workflows to take patients from initial diagnosis and referral through the resupply process becomes more important than ever. And with the right technology, it’s not only possible — it’s already happening. At Brightree, for example, we already offer 11 lines of therapy, and we’re introducing a solution that moves all of them into one fully automated workflow. Regardless of the technology solution you choose, finding one that allows you to manage multiple lines of therapy in one workflow can bring you big gains in the experiences you bring to your patients and your resupply staff and in the revenue you bring to your business.
Let me walk you through an example. Today, most providers deliver bulky experiences for their patients because they don’t have the technology in place to streamline the experience. These patients get multiple deliveries each week and multiple invoices that make it difficult to understand their financial commitments. They’re also getting multiple emails and text messages, and the overall experience feels disjointed to them, especially if there is more than one HME servicing the patient. More importantly, the unique needs of multi-therapy resupply patients can go unfulfilled in this scenario. For example, a patient with diabetic and enteral resupply could get insulin on time but discover that nutrition and sustenance is delayed due to an error in the resupply process, leading to a potentially life-threatening outcome.
With one fully automated workflow for all your resupply patients and their multiple lines of therapy, you can fulfill the patient’s needs up front. A single outreach kicks off the process with your staff collecting all the patient information that’s needed for those diabetic and enteral therapies. It not only makes it easier for your staff to do their jobs, but it also makes it easier for your patients and their family members to stay on top of their health. There’s one order for all the necessary supplies on the dates they’re needed, one outreach to the patient, one delivery ticket for all the deliveries. By improving the overall patient experience, they feel more ownership in their health, which increases therapy adherence for better clinical outcomes.
When you put a technology solution in place that has an automated workflow that encompasses your multi-therapy resupply patients, your HME can expect financial improvements, too. One of the first is in your referral relationships. If your physicians are currently getting multiple calls and faxes, duplicates of documents needed for insurance and complaints because of order delays, then the relationships will obviously be strained. But with an automated process that adds transparency and creates efficient communication for physicians, they will always know the status of their referrals. When a referral source knows their patients are trusted and cared for, that can lead to more referral revenue for your HME.
Patient attrition is another area that impacts your financial gains. Patient experience heavily influences patient satisfaction and engagement in the ownership of their health. The first impression, that initial touchpoint, revolves entirely around the patient’s expectations and is very personal and subjective to each patient. Your workflows and technology options need to match those expectations and include a way to easily interact with your HME in a variety of different ways – like instant text/video chat, apps, automated patient outreach and self-service options. Doing this will provide streamlined, consistent patient care and patients will be less likely to attrit. This translates into more recurring revenue for your business.
At the end of the day, as an HME, you’re very focused on your costs. Instead of a clunky process that requires a multitude of outreach tools, people and technology, you should be evaluating technology options that consolidate your resupply patient processes to lower your costs. In doing so, you’ll be able to redirect your resources in the right direction of providing flawless patient care.
Technology to get you there
When you’re ready to evaluate technology options that can bring these benefits to your resupply business, start with a clear understanding of your workflows today and where the pain points are in your processes that need to be solved. It’s as simple as taking a sheet of paper and writing down all the things you do today, and which processes take the longest. A unified digital platform can solve the problem of inherent challenges in caring for home-based patients due to the de-centralized care delivery process, but you need to ensure that it will also support how you run your business. Make certain during the evaluation process that the technology solution you choose has at least these 3 basic proficiencies.
- Streamline care team collaboration and workflows. As the HME, a lot of information comes at you from many different directions, so you’ll want to make sure you have a robust system to keep all members of a patients care team in sync and collaborating. For example, make sure you can talk with a patient, a caregiver, and a physician throughout your entire workflow instead of requiring users to log into three different systems. You should also ask questions like: Are there reminders? Can I schedule? Can I send documents to the doctor for electronic signature? Can I exchange data with the hospitals?
- Strengthen safety and security. Your resupply solution needs to exchange data with many collaborators. There’s data related to your HME and patient demographics, insurance information and diagnosis documentation, and all of this is protected information. You’ll want to make sure that the company you choose has fail safes and security built in, like HIPAA certification, various firewalls, and authentication, so you know the data that you’re exchanging is protected.
- Increase patient engagement and connection. There’s nothing that can ever really replace the human touch when caring for a patient, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive to automate where possible. Whatever technology options you’re using, you need a way that you can connect all the pieces — like automated patient outreach and on-demand patient education using data-driven insights — into one, so you don’t have to manage a lot of different technologies. You’ll want to choose an ecosystem that allows you to do what you do best, which is providing incredible patient care.
The evolution from resupply programs focused strictly on sleep to those encompassing multiple lines of therapy is already under way. You’ll want to join the conversation early if you’re going to prepare your workflows for this clear market shift.
At Brightree, our industry-leading solutions are already changing to help you manage all your resupply patients in one fully automated workflow. See how.
Director, Product Management, Brightree ReSupply
In her position as director of product management, Amber brings over a decade of healthcare and information technology experience across various customer, sales, product development and strategic roles. She uses that expertise to support and strengthen Brightree’s resupply and e-Referral platforms and is currently focused on enhancing the resupply platforms with multi-therapy workflows and streamlining the physician ordering experience within the HME/DME platforms.