Take a creative approach to mobile tech
There is a surge and an urgency to move toward mobile technology. However, mobile technology and the supporting services needed are still evolving. The ultimate goal of having everything at the employee’s fingertips and being completely paper-free is still in its infancy.
There are workable mobile solutions available today for drivers, technicians and therapists who are continuously travelling and interacting with patients on a daily basis. The HME provider should start to evaluate and consider these types of solutions for their organization. It is important the information is safe, secure and follows the proper HIPAA and HITECH requirements. Not all solutions may provide this functionality. A device should not store any information about the patient or any other critical data unless the provider can guarantee if it is ever lost or stolen the data may never be accessed. If the mobile device stores information, it will be the burden of the HME provider, not the software provider, to protect its contents.
The ideal solution is where data is hosted off the device and is then accessed directly, real-time with the organization’s practice management system. The concept of a direct connection from mobile devices is not always implemented by technology solutions providers. A successful and growing HME business is dynamic and changes at any moment during the day. The provider needs to service their patients quickly, accurately and above all professionally, while keeping cost of operations in check. If a mobile solution doesn’t have a real-time connection able to put the employee in constant contact with others in the company, it is missing the ability to provide instant feedback, notification and even automation of manual tasks that are normally performed in its practice management system. Without this type of technology in place, the provider must perform manual steps to communicate information to its employees. Interactions with the patient and other related activities are performed at a slower rate. The ability to immediately address any urgent situations that have come up during the day is also greatly reduced.
Wireless technology is still evolving and will continue to improve in the future. Being totally mobile for all employees is not realistic for all providers. A provider will find themselves behind their competition if they try to wait on the sidelines for the communication technology to completely catch up before making this type of technology improvement. Creativity is the key to success. Whenever possible, using more than one cellular and mobile service for connectivity will provide not only the flexible mobile coverage needed, but also a backup solution should there be technical issues with the other one. There will still be employees that will not have a reliable wireless connection. A provider should not let the fact that a small percentage of their workforce is unable to use mobile technology and sacrifice all the benefits and gains this type of automation offers.
Information technology is dynamic and continues to offer new innovated solutions to the provider with the automation of manual tasks, mobility and integrated access to critical business data. Technology exists today that will greatly improve operational performance and reduce overall costs, but it requires the HME provider to continuously examine themselves and develop the necessary strategic plan to implement these new types of tools for their business.
Christopher Dobiesz is the president at Universal Software Solutions. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 810-653-5000.