Premier takes it to new level

Friday, July 31, 2009

First, provider Jeff Knight used GPS technology for delivery technicians. Then, about six months ago, he began using it for his sales and marketing staff. Now, he has set his sights on clinicians.

“It has saved us a ton of money,” said Knight, CEO of Premier HomeCare in Saint Albans, West Va.

It’s not uncommon for providers to use GPS technology for delivery techs, but now, in a reimbursement environment where every dollar counts, they’re increasingly using it for other employees, sources say.

Using GPS technology for sales and marketing staff has saved Knight money in a number of ways, he said. Staff now travels more efficient routes, saving money on gas. Because the technology tracks their speed, they also drive slower, reducing speeding tickets and insurance premiums.

“Company vehicles are huge assets,” Knight said.

In addition to saving providers money, GPS technology can make them money, according to Robert Wagner, owner of HMEGPS, a supplier of GPS technology for the HME industry.

“We had one provider implement the technology to improve the productivity of their sales and marketing staff,” he said. “They jacked up their quota 10%, and sales went up 18%.”

Additionally, GPS technology helps providers improve the way they run their businesses. Knight’s vice president of marketing, for example, uses GPS reports to make sure his staff isn’t visiting just “A” accounts, neglecting possible new business. Knight also plans to further analyze GPS reports from delivery technicians and sales and marketing staff to determine where he might want to open a new location.

“If we see that 45% of their trips are in Louisville, then maybe we should have a location there,” Knight said. “How much more would that save us on gas?”

Right now, few providers use GPS technology to its fullest capacity, Wagner said, but that may be changing.

“Providers are realizing they have to embrace technology,” he said. “They can’t get more money out of Medicare, and they can’t get lower prices from manufacturers. But they do have technology.”