Home Oxygen Company bets on automation

Friday, September 23, 2016

MODESTO, Calif. – Home Oxygen Company, a respiratory services provider, has landed on Inc. Magazine’s 5000 list of fastest growing privately held companies for the first time, taking No. 3343.

The key to the company’s success? Automation, says CEO Andrea Ewert.  

While providers are struggling to reconcile operational costs with two rounds of reimbursement costs, Home Oxygen has grown by 2% year-to-date, as of July 1.

“I don’t know if we’ll be able to repeat that, but what choice do we have?” said Ewert. “We have to make it and using technology is definitely going to give us a fighting chance. If we’re able to automate some positions, that’s what we’re doing.”

Founded in 2007, Home Oxygen accepted Round 2 re-compete contracts for respiratory and mobility equipment and supplies in seven metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). It has employed nearly 20 technologies in an effort to streamline its business, including Brightree’s document management systems, Strategic AR’s patient receivables software and Apacheta’s mobile solutions. 

“Because we’re a paperless company, some of those orders—not all—can be confirmed immediately once the signature is received,” said Ewert. “That’s been a big help.”

The company has been cutting corners internally as well, supplying all employees with desktop scanners and dual monitors at their desks. 

While streamlining has made Home Oxygen more nimble, its non-delivery business model remains the cornerstone of the company.

“We don’t deliver a single tank,” said Ewert. “So that eliminates the need for drivers, techs, lot number tracking, insurance, curating invoices—all that stuff. That saves a lot of money.”

If HME companies want to survive in the current reimbursement climate, they need to make a “mental jump” into the next millennium, says Ewert.

“I’m sure there are providers trying to deliver tanks under the new reimbursement,” she said. “And that’s just crazy because you can’t.”