Scaling the Summit

Saturday, September 30, 2006

How would you like to boost your CPAP business by thousands of dollars a month? Or cut your fuel costs by 30%? Or reduce your delivery expenses--not to mention salary and benefits--by partnering with a courier service? Or how about enabling your office staff to spend more time at their desks doing work and less time walking around searching for patient information? And how would you like to do all this with a 200%, 300% and even 400% return on your initial investment?
No, this is not some sounds-too-good-to-be-true infomercial, and if you attended our HME Business Summit in September you'd know that.
The event attracted roughly 200 paying attendees, most of them providers. That's an increase in paid attendance of about 50 over last year for an event held the week before Medtrade. I know this may sound self-serving, but I don't mean it to be. What I want to do is impress upon all providers that there's affordable technology that can drastically reduce your operating costs. For example: digital scanning that allows you to create a paperless office; global positioning systems and scheduling software; automated systems that call patients and remind them that they're eligible for new CPAP supplies. That's the key take-away from this year's Summit: Technology. You know the old saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink"? Well, the Summit did just that. Now it's up to attendees and all providers to drink. With reimbursement falling and the cost of doing business--fuel and salaries, for example--rising, most providers can't continue to do business as usual. If you do, you'll watch painfully as your margins dry up and eventually disappear. At the Summit, attendees listened as their peers explained how technology helped them reduce costs. It was pretty exciting, and from what I heard, not all that complicated or expensive. By investing a few thousand dollars here and there, attendees explained how new efficiencies saved them a ton of money.
That was good stuff--the kind of information we wanted people to walk away with.
It's easy to see why providers might take what vendors tell them with a grain of salt. That's prudent. After all, more than a few salesmen have promised whatever it took to get the sale. But when your peers who have no vested interested other than to share what worked for them tout technology, you ought to listen. As payers continue to reduce the flow of reimbursement, to survive, providers must turn to technology. When you do, drink and drink deeply. (Next year's HME Business Summit will be Sept. 9-11 in Boston.)

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