‘You can do only so many lunches’

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

PENSACOLA, Fla.--Elint Technology has a message for HME providers: Forget free lunches; if you want to strengthen your relationships with the nurses in your area, offer them something they can use.

With a new service from Elint, providers can offer nurses continuing education units (CEUs) through their own Web sites.

“It’s a way to get referral sources on their side and keep them there,” said Eric Kline, CEO of Elint, which provides technology and sales management solutions.

Here’s how the new service works: Providers pay Elint an annual fee - “about the cost of buying lunch for a small doctor’s office,” Kline said - to incorporate course material into their Web sites. Nurses go to the site, read the material for a course (it takes about 45 minutes), take a test and print out a certificate of attendance.

Elint updates the course material - developed by nurses and approved by the Florida Board of Nursing - monthly to keep nurses coming back for more, Kline said. A recent course covered managing COPD patients.

Most states and employers require nurses to earn a certain number of CEUs every two years. The number varies, Kline said.

Before Elint began offering the new service, providers had to go to great lengths to offer CEUs to nurses, Kline said. They had to bring in speakers or hook up with manufacturers with approved courses. Then they had to record test scores and process other paperwork.

Provider Keith Blankenship admits Elint’s new service requires a certain amount of “open-mindedness,” but he likes what he hears.

“You can do only so many lunches,” said Blankenship, co-owner of Family Oxygen in Jackson, Ohio. “This would be of more value to our referral sources.”
Providers like Daryl Bowman, however, feel no need to re-invent the wheel.

“I swap food for time and information,” said Bowman, who owns Bowman Medical Supply in San Carlos, Calif. “It has served me well.”