Clinical support, efficient deliveries define CRT

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

As a complex rehab technology (CRT) provider, one important avenue to grow your business is to maintain and increase clinician referrals for rehab orders. You should aim to build relationships with new potential referral sources, while ensuring your current referral sources continue to see the value in working with you.

Demonstrating that you understand the market and your referral’s needs can help a clinic or doctor feel more comfortable making your company the first company they recommend to patients. Some things clinicians may consider include product selection, clinical support, and delivery/service and repair.

There is no “one size fits all” when providing CRT equipment. In addition to the basic requirements, many CRT users have personal preferences for their power or manual chairs.

Some things to consider are:

Do you offer a robust product selection to your clinical referral sources?

Do you have good relationships with multiple manufacturing partners, or have access to a GPO with a diverse portfolio of business partners that you can utilize?

Do you have access to manufacturers to demo and evaluate equipment at the initial evaluation and/or for a loaner closet use?

One way to impress clinicians is to be able to process a patient’s order quickly and correctly. Ensuring that you are providing comprehensive clinical support at all levels may benefit your company and your clinical relationships. 

When reviewing your clinical support services, ask yourself:

What programs do you offer to your clinical referral sources? Are seating and positioning technicians available outside of an assistive technology professional (ATP) evaluation and delivery time for support, adjustments to equipment, and possible changes to the client’s equipment needs?

Are tools in place at the initial ATP evaluation period to ensure all clinical criteria is captured at the beginning, including utilizing customer relationship management (CRM) evaluation software and measuring time frames between evaluation and delivery of the client’s equipment?

Are employees fully engaged in the documentation and funding process to ensure a timely delivery of equipment to the user? Is there follow up and proactive communication to let both client and clinician know where they are in the process?

Do you have visibility to where additional support may be needed to move an order forward in the system? There are many tools out there for this, but ultimately, having trained employees to recognize when and how an order can be held up in the system and the proactive steps to take to get things moving again is important.

Having a quick, seamless delivery system benefits you, your customers, and your referral sources. Being able to handle any potential delays and having a reputation for speedy and accurate delivery will most likely give you a competitive advantage with your referral sources.

When evaluating your delivery services, consider:

Can you speed up the documentation process with a well-trained, knowledgeable staff that understands the billing and coding needs of CRT equipment, especially for users who may have a need that must be met expeditiously?

Are you able to track the process times of receiving equipment from the manufacturer to delivering the equipment to the client? Tracking such key performance indicators can help identify areas for process improvement or may show that you are better than your competitors.

Do you have a dedicated service and repair team that can quickly respond, diagnose, and correctly repair equipment, either in the field or at your facility?  A coordinated effort and a dedicated service repair team available to your clients is important to your clients and your clinical referral sources.

The areas above are a good starting point for a self-evaluation, but the needs of clinicians in your area may be different. It is important to do research and know what’s important to those you wish to serve.

Your next step is to remind your current referral sources about the value of working with you, and use these points to market yourself to potential new referral sources.

Ways to market your company include:

Invite people for a tour of your facility and show off your product selection and service repair area. Follow up with an occasional phone call, e-mail, or direct mail piece to help you stay top of mind.

Let referral sources know when you have a new product or announce when an employee becomes certified.

Keep your website up-to-date and be active on social media.

Taking the time to understand the market, designing a business to help answer the needs of your customers, then letting them know how you are different is an important step in helping to impress both current and potential referral sources.

Ted Metcalf has been the National Account Manager at The MED Group for the last three years, covering the Southeastern region. Reach him at tmetcalf@medgroup.com.