Most home medical equipment (HME) providers are under immense financial pressure due to low reimbursements and frequent audits. In addition, as supply chain challenges continue, keeping track of current assets and getting access to needed equipment remain ongoing priorities.
Digital transformation is an ideal way to update processes and help boost revenue and gains at the same time.
In recent years, industries from education to financial services to construction have undergone digital transformation. However, the HME and device industry largely continues to operate the same way it has for years, using spreadsheets to keep track of equipment and equipment repairs and relying on manual processes to maintain documentation in preparation for audits.
But digital transformation in the medical device industry is not only available, it can also lead to increased efficiency and help boost financial performance.
For example, one HME was using an outside provider for biomedical services but still needed to manually track equipment rentals and service. The HME also relied on a manual process for recycling devices. Staffers were busy updating spreadsheets to manually track equipment and services, leaving them with less time to seek new referral sources.
With a goal of increasing efficiency, the HME switched to McKesson Biomedical Solutions™, a biomedical service with an online platform and tracking system that allows providers to more easily manage where their equipment is at all times, helping maximize their capital investment in equipment while also meeting patient needs.
"Customers who have switched to McKesson Biomedical Solutions have seen significant savings, 6 figures or more, in their operations from reducing lost equipment and increasing utilization," says Dylan Ross, vice president and general manager of Biomedical Solutions, McKesson Medical-Surgical.
In addition, the HME also aced its Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) audit as a result of the streamlined online process, which allows it to easily track and manage every piece of equipment and device. This HME found that digital transformation was likely the key to overcoming its supply chain challenges as well as financial performance crunch.
"Customers who have switched to McKesson Biomedical Solutions have seen significant savings, 6 figures or more, in their operations from reducing lost equipment and increasing utilization."
— Dylan Ross, vice president and general manager of Biomedical Solutions, McKesson Medical-Surgical
So what do HMEs need?
HMEs need solutions that can help solve their biggest challenges, such as:
- Equipment expense: HMEs spend thousands of dollars every year purchasing new equipment and then watching that capital expense depreciate over time
- Equipment tracking: Traditional manual systems make it difficult to keep track of equipment inventory that's constantly traveling back and forth to and from patients' homes. And in the event of an equipment recall, it's important for providers to know where each piece of equipment is that's impacted by a recall
- Equipment service and maintenance: HME providers have to make sure all the equipment they provide to patients is in good, well-maintained working order to comply with payer and regulatory requirements
With a one-stop digital platform, HMEs can easily address all these challenges. For example, McKesson Biomedical Solutions offers a full suite of services that HMEs can manage from a single online portal.
Track equipment more easily
The right digital solution also provides a platform and tracking system that makes it easy to manage equipment and device locations at all times. For example, McKesson Biomedical Solutions builds on an asset tracking and maintenance platform called McKesson OneTrack™, designed to help support compliance and reduce the number of lost devices for HMEs.
To cut costs on equipment expense, McKesson customers can rent equipment such as ventilators and infusion pumps, eliminating the burden of absorbing large capital expenses and depreciation, as well as the burden of locating needed supplies in a hurry.
Reduce time spent on manual tasks
With digital support, there's no need for manual tracking of assets, allowing staffers to focus on more strategic tasks. And by knowing where your assets are at any given moment, you can help enhance your capital investment in equipment while also meeting patient needs.
Finally, a holistic biomedical solution provides a digital platform as well as hands-on services, which eliminate the challenges of equipment service and maintenance.
For example, McKesson Biomedical Solutions maintains your equipment and services when needed to help make sure it's in the best working condition possible for your patients, while also complying with required maintenance schedules. This includes repairing devices that have sustained damage from smoke or bug infestations – because when equipment is in a patient's home, anything can happen to it. All service work gets documented for easy record-keeping.
Be better prepared for audits
A complete digital solution for tracking and managing equipment and devices means you no longer have to rely on manual notes and updates to provide documentation for audits. When you need to prepare for an audit, you can simply pull up all necessary information in your system, which shows where each piece of equipment is, how long it's been in that location and why its presence there was necessary, as well as any repair and maintenance details.
McKesson OneTrack can help here, too.
"We've seen providers in the past using notebooks to manually keep track of when a piece of equipment was serviced. Through McKesson OneTrack, our providers rest easier knowing if they're audited, OneTrack provides them with the documentation they need for their equipment," said Ross. "We've seen successful audits time and time again with OneTrack. With OneTrack in a provider's corner, they have the confidence they need going into an audit."
And when recalls occur, providers can easily and efficiently track down each piece of equipment impacted by a recall through OneTrack.
"OneTrack provides efficiency and gives confidence to providers through our automated system. And even better, it's easy to use – built with the provider in mind," Ross said.
Digital transformation can help "easy and painless"
Change usually requires a learning curve, but digital transformation doesn't have to pose challenges. The right digital solution provider should provide training for new customers and their staff members to get them up to speed.
For example, when a customer transitions to using McKesson Biomedical Solutions, "We make things as easy and painless as we can by offering a biomedical service specialist who will walk through the changes step by step with staff," Ross says. "The specialist will also share best practices to help ensure proper records management helps support compliance requirements."
In addition to training, switching to a new biomedical services provider also requires HMEs to implement new workflows. But when a biomedical provider offers a robust digital solution, new workflows can become simple and intuitive. McKesson's provider portal, for example, is a one-stop platform that enables HME customers to use the company's full suite of biomedical services in one place, even allowing providers to place orders for equipment through the portal.
It may seem risky to select a single-source provider for all biomedical services. However, choosing a provider that has multiple locations and a deep inventory of equipment can help mitigate this risk. That's because a larger company with great buying strength is likely to have better access to supplies that may have limited availability in the market.
"We understand that hesitancy, as many HMEs are concerned about service levels and access to equipment when needed," Ross says. "However, I'm proud to report that McKesson Biomedical Solutions provides exceptional service, and we can maintain and service equipment quickly because we know your end goal is to service patients. And, we've also got a fleet of rental equipment ready and available to our customers to use when they need it most."
About McKesson Biomedical Solutions
When a provider considers a biomedical services provider, they're thinking about equipment rentals, equipment servicing and maintenance and equipment tracking. We're now pleased to offer all of those services under one umbrella – McKesson Biomedical Solutions™.
Through this service, we offer providers an easy-to-use portal to help reduce workflow and minimize change for providers. The portal is self-service and offers providers immediate access to the full suite of biomedical solutions benefits.
We're also pleased to have a national footprint with seven McKesson Biomedical Solutions distribution centers conveniently located across the country. Our centers provide our customers with easy access to devices, which comes in handy when they have a short-notice order from a referral source, whether it's a payer or a patient.
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