PolyMedica: Predictions for 2006
WOBURN, Mass. - As you might expect of someone who oversees the nation's largest provider of blood glucose testing supplies and related diabetes services, PolyMedica CEO Patrick Ryan is a hard guy to track down. In December, the company partnered with a PR firm to boost outreach to its 850,000 diabetic patients (HME News February 2006). While the CEO did not grant HME News a sitdown interview to discuss that news, he did prepare a written overview of his predictions for 2006. While the predictions are short on specifics, they do outline themes Ryan expects to surface over the coming months.
The traditional, core physician-patient relationship will be supplemented by a support system that includes additional healthcare professionals (i.e. specialists), payers (i.e. health plans), and the patient's network (i.e. family). In this new paradigm, communication and collaboration within the patient care network is paramount to an individual's care.
As the process of care--in particular care for people with chronic conditions like diabetes--becomes more complex, the industry must embrace new technologies that will facilitate communications, reduce errors and improve outcomes. Consumers rely on convergent technologies in other aspects of their lives. They will expect the same delivery model from their healthcare providers as well.
Emphasis on service, value
As cost pressures impact healthcare suppliers, so do the demands to increase the level of service, through expertise, patient education and clinician support. Suppliers themselves are evolving from transaction-based entities to valuable links in the chain of care. Successful players will expand to act as a patient resource in their respective areas of focus.
These trends point to a new patient care process that is more customized than current efforts--addressing individual issues. PolyMedica has found that the barriers to patients seeking and following through on proper treatment are oftentimes behavioral and that psychological barriers often prevent patients from taking the steps toward effective disease management. To affect the diabetes epidemic and other diseases, pursuing a behavioral change approach will be critical.