Praxair hops on the DMETrain

Monday, June 30, 2003

MODESTO, Calif. – It’s “all aboard” the DMETrain for some 1,200 employees at Praxair, the Danbury, Conn.-based national oxygen provider. Only instead of hopping a train, they will be jumping online for professional training.

Praxair is the latest client to sign up for DMETrain Education’s Internet-based instruction service, joining a list that includes McKesson Medical Management, Mediq/PRN Life Support Services, NeighborCare and Air Liquide.

According to DMETrain President Robert Thompson, online education demand is surging because it is a more comprehensive and cost-effective way to inform employees than conventional training methods.

“We’re replacing the gossip method, where I train you and then you train someone else,” Thompson said. “By keeping managers apprised of employee progress via e-mail, we’re forcing accountability.”

DMETrain joins national buying groups VGM and MED Group, which have pioneered their own programs, in offering online education programs for HME providers. Thompson said his inspiration for launching DMETrain came from difficulties he had while running his own homecare company.

“I owned a DME for six years and had a hard time with employee training - I didn’t know what I was required to teach,” he said. “After I sold the business in 1999, I went to work solving the problem.”

Offering providers Internet-based education takes the guesswork out of training, Thompson said, because lesson plans are customized for each client. Besides educating employees about the expansive regulatory environment, DMETrain also teaches about equipment delivery and maintenance.

“It covers everything an employee needs to know from the day hired to the day fired,” he said. “We’re not reinventing the wheel here - we’re just presenting information in a medium that’s easy to understand.”

Likewise, VGM’s Virtual University online program offers topics that “covers everything from the front to the back of the shop,” said Libby Lockard, VGM vice president of education.

“It is tremendously important to design a curriculum that is broad enough to reach everyone on the dealer’s staff, from billers to drivers,” she said. “They can’t afford to send everyone to shows.” HME