'It's survival of the fittest'

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

LONG BEACH, Calif. - If there were ever a time to harness technology-whether it's implementing software or revamping a Web site-it's now, say Medtrade Spring organizers and speakers.
Due to national competitive bidding and other reimbursement cuts, "we're trying to give attendees the tools they need to make money off thinning profit margins," said healthcare attorney Jeff Baird, a member of the show's Education Committee. "So we're focusing on bringing them not only basic education on technology but also advanced education on cutting-edge technology. We're confident that, in the years ahead, we're going to focus even more on technology."
Medtrade Spring will include a smattering of technology-related seminars, including "Enhance Your Profitability and Control via Inventory Software and Management Reporting" by industry consultant Miriam Lieber.
Inventory software, Lieber said, helps providers "be alert of their purchasing power."
"I think the look-and-see approach of walking out back to see what's left isn't going to work forever," she said. "If providers plan on sticking around, they have to better gauge where their biggest bang for their buck is."
Management reporting, Lieber said, helps providers introduce accountability to one of their biggest assets: staff. For example, providers who have embellished their billing software to keep track of how many signed CMNs employees process each day.
"It's so exciting to watch competition breed better productivity," she said.
Another technology-related seminar at Medtrade Spring: "How Technology and the Internet are Changing how you Generate Business" by Mike Mallaro, CFO of The VGM Group.
Providers need to use the Internet to build better relationships with their consumers, because more and more consumers make their own healthcare decisions based on online research, Mallaro said.
"The physician is no longer in the center of the ring with everyone else outside the ring," he said. "So providers need to ask themselves, 'What does our Web site communicate to consumers?'"
Providers also need to use technology like e-mail to follow up with patients on the fast and cheap, Mallaro said.
Only a small percentage of providers use technology to its fullest, both Lieber and Mallaro said, but competitive bidding and reimbursement cuts demand they take the plunge.
"It's survival of the fittest now," Lieber said. "Those who remain standing will be those who have embraced technology." HME