Monday, March 31, 2008

Q. How can the Internet make my company more efficient?
A. When you think about it—and if you haven’t yet, you should—there seems to be almost no end to how the Internet can make your company more efficient. In this age of reimbursement cutbacks and increased regulatory oversight, that’s never been more important. Nevertheless, many providers have yet to grasp the full power of the Internet.
For example, many HME manufacturers offer online ordering and tracking, which cuts down on the time it takes to process an order. Providers can also tap into online education and seminars for their employees.
eCMNs and eFax solutions greatly decrease the time required to retrieve critical billing documents, which, in turn, improves your cash flow. Even something as basic as e-mail, if integrated properly (and this is not always the case), can greatly improve communication and, in turn, increase efficiency.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the Internet is revolutionizing the HME industry the same way it brought economies of scale and productivity gains to financial, travel and other industries in the mid-1990s. Just as online banking and airline reservations are commonplace today, Web-based business management solutions are transforming HME. Web-based software is often referred to as application service providers (ASP), on-demand, or Software as a Service (SaaS).
ASPs allow HMEs to enjoy innovative programs formerly only available to large companies. ASP business solutions increase productivity and savings because they manage the technology, including physical/electronic security and data backups. HMEs own their data and can download it anytime, but the ASP manages it within HIPAA guidelines.
In the end, providers who aren’t leveraging the Internet are at a severe disadvantage in this new, hyper-competitive marketplace. HME
Gary Long is COO of Brightree in Duluth, Ga. He can be reached at or (888) 598-7797.