By Jimmy Miner, Director of Client OperationsHMEBus_Summit_Logo

This past week we participated in the HME News Business Summit, an intimate gathering of forward-thinking HME providers and industry leaders, to learn and discuss how the HME industry can continue to thrive amidst the constant change of today’s healthcare environment. Here are 5 of the most important questions discussed and our responses:

The HME industry has a lot of challenges, but what are some bright spots these days?

The brightest spots we see in the HME industry are the instances of increased focus on running better business operations to combat the challenges HMEs face today. We continue to see a growing interest in using technology and automation to streamline and improve the financial stability of those businesses. We also still see lots of investors interested in the HME market because they see the great potential of an optimized business.

How can providers rise above these challenges?

With all the changes in the HME industry from changing government regulations, declining insurance reimbursements & high deductible health plans, and the ever changing consumer demands on healthcare providers, it’s crucial that HME providers first understand how these changes are moving more financial responsibility to patients. This means that Balance After Insurance (BAI) revenue is more crucial than ever to the financial stability of an HME business.

The good news is that there are advanced technologies focused specifically on helping HME providers optimize their patient payment process to ensure they don’t miss out on those crucial patient dollars.

How can providers adapt their businesses to continue to stay profitable and growing?

Providers can adapt their businesses to continue to stay profitable by utilizing technology to it’s fullest potential to optimize their business. There are lots of successful examples elsewhere in healthcare as well as other industries that HME providers can learn from and use to build strong business processes. Automation in receivables, supply chain, and retail have been in existence for many years and the practices are well honed and ready for providers.

There’s always going to be a need for HME products and services, but how do they see the business model for providing these products and services changing?

We see partnerships with other healthcare providers as the way of the future.  The patient care cycle starts with the physician or hospital and as those two parts of the industry continue to merge and partner this part will follow suit to maintain the referral source and to affiliate with strong brands in the states and communities. A patient’s continuum of care will become seamless and force collaboration and cooperation to better serve patients and remain relevant and financially stable.

How are vendors partnering with providers as we go to the future?

The key word there is partner.  Vendors are typically experts in the field in which they choose to do business. They have a national view of the industry and can use that knowledge to design products/services that help providers to improve their business. By partnering together, there are more synergies and both parties will be able to adapt, change, and optimize processes and technology to thrive in these ever changing times.