Gut feelings and patience

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Data has always been a hallmark of the HME News Business Summit. Each year in our Financial Benchmarking presentation, providers see how they stack up against their peers in everything from net revenues to DSO to employee expenses.

At this year’s Summit, data is a thread that runs through nearly all of the sessions, whether the topic is the HME industry’s future, retail sales or marketing:

•  Our lead-off speaker, Everette James, says the most effective way the industry can secure its future is to build a base of evidence that showcases its value in the healthcare continuum. James, who is a former secretary of health for the state of Pennsylvania, will analyze new delivery models for health care and examine how the HME industry can advance its position.

•  Returning speaker Michael Sperduti says an effective store layout isn’t enough to help providers succeed at retail sales. That’s why Sperduti, a business growth expert, has interviewed seniors about their spending and buying habits for home medical equipment.

• First-time Summit speakers Anna McDevitt and Ryan McDevitt acknowledge that determining the ROI on marketing efforts is a mix of art and science. But Anna, a marketing consultant, and Ryan, a provider, are prepared to answer the question, “How much should I spend and where should I spend it?” using statistics and metrics.

As always, there’s another kind of data you’ll get at the Summit—the kind you get from spending two days networking and brainstorming with your peers.

There’s something to be said for a gut feeling. There’s more to be said about a gut feeling backed up by data. The data you’re going to get at this year’s Summit is data you can build your business on.

Reminder: Patience is a virtue

You’ve probably noticed by now that HME News has a new website. We editors think our headshots are a little large, but other than that, we love the look of it. It’s much cleaner. We like clean.

The new website has a number of new features, too, that I’m pleased with. Among them: A tweet roll that features the tweets that we editors make, as we make them (we’re trying to figure out if we can get our re-tweets of your tweets up there, too); a guest blog for all of you who are feeling verbose and opinionated (email me at if you want to post); and a blog roll that lists HME-related blogs (email me if you want to be listed).

Note that, with all of these new features, we’re also trying to help you get up to speed with having more of an online and social media presence. We don’t have all of this figured out, by any means, but at least HME News is on Twitter, etc., and we want to talk to you and interact with you there.

Of course, nothing is perfect, including the new website. I’ve received emails from folks reporting an inability to find stories online and an iPhone app that’s listing wicked old stories.

It turns out both of these have to do with the “re-indexing” of our old site to the new site. Our web guru tells me this process has now been completed, so you should find stories OK again (though web searches aren’t turning up stories in a logical order, with the most recently published stories at the top—we’re still working on that).

As for the iPhone app: Now that the new website has been “re-indexed,” we have to wait for Apple to approve our new app, which should be soon.

In a nutshell: Any pain from this new website, we’re feeling, too—and then some. Just ask Managing Editor Theresa Flaherty, who recently posted the May issue using the new system. In the long run, though, we know, and you’ll learn, that this is a much better website.

In the meantime, let’s all be patient, especially the reader who emailed me saying, about the iPhone app, “It’s annoying to know that I am paying for this.” Our web guru would like your address, so he can mail you your 99 cents back.