Medtrade Spring preview: Get creative

Friday, March 16, 2012

LAS VEGAS – Stop thinking "patient" and start thinking "customer," says Susean Nichols, president of Millennium Management Services. It's that fundamental change in mindset that Nichols will encourage in her Medtrade Spring session, fueled by some creative thinking about the products and services you offer. Here's a sneak peek. 

HME News: What's an example of that creative thinking you're talking about? 

Susean Nichols: For example, I live in California. You can find at the grocery store little "earthquake preparedness" kits for $10 a piece. It's a little snack, a drink, other things. Let's take something like that. Could you provide one little niche and package it in a creative way? 

HME: How would that translate to HME?

Nichols: Think about some of the products you're currently providing or supplements to your services. For example, diabetic shoes are also used for people who are on their feet a lot. We don't think people would pay the price for that kind of footwear, so we overlook it as a market. If I'm the person who makes their life easier, they will return to me. 

HME: What kind of response do you get from providers about this topic? 

Nichols: I've heard, "Oh, that's not going to work for me." Others say, "I've never stopped to think about it that way." There are some people who won't even look at providing extra supplies for CPAP customers, even though these are items that can solidify compliance. 

HME: What kind of marketing do you recommend to drum up cash sales? 

Nichols: It's about being involved in your community, like a church or business group, or offering classes. Some providers do advertising in publications, on TV or radio, or make a contribution to their community newspaper or newsletter. Pick up a local newspaper to see what will work in your area.

HME: What takeaway do you want attendees to leave with? 

Nichols: To broaden their thinking about their business model. But I don't want to see a company go into something they're not comfortable with. If they get too far outside of their comfort zone, it's not going to work.

Name: Susean Nichols

Title/company: President, Millennium Management Services

Services provided: Healthcare consulting/training

Session: "Are there New Sources of Revenue in your Home Medical Equipment Company?"

Date: Tuesday, April 10, 2012, 1:45 pm to 2:45 p.m.

Contact: 800.713.7630 /



I totally agree with looking for additional sales opportunities, but totally disagree with the idea of looking for new markets for existing HME products.<br />
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I think it is very important for HME providers to, first, consider the needs of their Patients (not "customers") and then see how they can find additional products to satisfy those needs. <br />
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That&#39;s much different than looking for a new market for existing products (like the earthquake kit and diabetic shoes examples)

Yeah. WTF? Should HME providers sell panty hose too? How about healthy snacks too.

Customer focus is great in about every industry, but if you become too customer focused there is a great chance of losing sight of the patient altogether. Every product, brand, supplement should patient centric more than anything, and if there is opportunity to expand into other segments of the market to increase sales then go for it.<br />
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Slippery slope here.