ATG Rehab fast tracks paperwork

Friday, July 31, 2009

ROCKY HILL, Conn.--ATG Rehab plans to arm all 70 of its rehab technology suppliers (RTSs) with customized tablet PCs by the end of the year, after beta testing showed the technology significantly increased their productivity.

As part of RTS Express, about 30 of ATG’s RTSs already use the tablet PCs to complete documentation in the field and upload it wirelessly. As a result, RTSs like Brian Edwards now provide wheelchairs - from evaluation to delivery - in about 65 days. (The industry average, by the way, is 90 to 100 days.)

“My main interest in using the technology was getting equipment to my clients sooner,” said Edwards. “The faster I can get them out of their beds, the better.”

The tablet PCs, which are loaded with everything from evaluation forms to ABNs, look like small laptops, but they have pivoting screens that allow the RTSs to write on them using a special pen. They’re manufactured by Lenovo, a brand of IBM.

In addition to fastracking the paperwork process, the tablet PCs allow the RTSs to have information like manufacturer catalogues and order forms right at their fingertips.

“In the old days, I had a big rolling box with all my binders it,” Edwards said.

RTS Express is only the most recent way ATG has tried to harness technology to improve productivity. It also uses an accounts receivable and inventory management system called Smart, and an order mapping and scheduling tool called Rehab Logic.

“It seems like every payer is looking to give us a haircut,” said Jerry Knight, president of ATG’s northwest region. “So we know that we have to become more productive. Technology is one way to get there.”