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Few things are as important to HME businesses as an effective resupply program. And because it’s a time-intensive and sometimes haphazard process, few aspects of the business are as neglected. Fortunately, automation is changing that fast, offering HME providers the power to smooth over inconsistencies and remove roadblocks to get paid faster and more consistently.

Why is automation so important to the resupply process?

By automating certain redundant or time-consuming aspects of the process, providers can significantly reduce time and labor while improving accuracy and efficiency. The result is the prospect of fulfilling every last resupply opportunity, and doing so in much less time, and using much less labor.

Automation also has the potential to more fully integrate with other functions like billing, ePrescribe, and online portals that sync with the physician’s EHR to let them easily review, approve or deny requests without receiving a paper fax. It’s all electronic, all online, and all offered as a quick and easy task for busy doctors—no faxes or written signatures required.

Letting doctors send and receive requests and authorizations digitally is obviously much faster than faxing. It also saves time for physicians who, frustrated with paperwork, can sometimes be bottlenecks in the resupply chain. Accuracy is improved, too: faxes have to be scanned, signed and inputted manually, after all, leaving plenty of room for loss, errors or other oversights.

The efficiency offered by automation extends to other aspects of resupply. Automation can recognize the need for resupply the moment a patient becomes eligible, quickly requesting approval from the doctor, who can provide a fast and easy electronic signature via their EHR portal. That approval then gets sent to the HME for fulfillment.

Although the automation of metadata is based primarily on key fields like expiration and resupply dates, it also makes use of other info like practicing physician, HCPCS, quantity of items, frequency of resupply, and so on. It can also interpret and apply a wide variety of different payer rules, which can vary considerably, especially when Medicare is in the mix.

How does resupply automation help improve staff efficiency?

Memorization has traditionally played a key role in HME fulfillment. The requirements of individual physicians or separate payers has to be kept track of, and the best workers are those who hold this essential knowledge in their memory. It’s a system that’s inefficient and prone to error, and inherently difficult to pass along to new team members.

Automation can help you sidestep these issues with the use of metadata. All memory data is kept within the larger EHR system after the first entry, and then updated as needed, either manually or automatically. Absolving staff of this important but challenging task doesn’t just help boost efficiency and accuracy. It also frees them up for more meaningful work.

An automated resupply system also helps reduce the time needed to ramp up new employees, since the information is stored in an easily accessed database instead of requiring memorization. And other options like task tracking allow for even greater workforce productivity and opportunities for improvement by monitoring each user’s specific productivity.

Because the metadata needs to be entered just once, and is then automatically updated and interpreted as needed, there’s less need for direct oversight by a paid staff member. In this context, it’s a faster, more reliable resupply process that can be managed with far fewer labor hours. And especially for businesses facing workforce challenges, this could be a critical lifeline.

How can businesses leverage automation in their HME resupply process?

When managed properly, resupply can be a valuable source of sustained revenue for HME businesses. Applying automation saves time, reduces error-prone manual processes, and helps providers seize every resupply opportunity—a benefit that also extends to patients, who always have the up-to-date equipment they need to stay adherent and happy.  

At Brightree, we call the process “no-touch resupply”— because it’s a hand’s-off process that largely manages itself. If you’d like to learn more about how our no-touch resupply process can help your business realize the advantages of resupply automation, we’re standing by to answer your questions. Contact us today to connect with a Brightree expert.

Cinthia Wright

Cinthia Wright, Sr. Product Manager, Resupply

Cinthia has more than 13 years of experience in the DME industry, primarily focused on sleep and respiratory care. By utilizing her unique combination of business knowledge and technical expertise, she helped to create a rules-based resupply software that transforms the complicated business and payer requirements into automated and streamlined workflows. Her current focus includes the product management responsibilities for the Brightree Resupply platform and to expand the offering so that patients, and customers beyond sleep and respiratory care, can also benefit from the automation workflows.
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