The technology of success
I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading your editorial, "Something for Nothing? Think again" in the December 2005 issue of HME News. I found it to be interesting and extremely relevant. As you know, Fastrack Healthcare Systems has been providing software and technology based solutions to HME, homecare agencies and infusion providers for more than 12 years. Our observations regarding what makes one provider more successful then the next are very much in line with what you have written. A case in point is Fastrack client Home Care Concepts of Farmingdale, N.Y., whose president, Tom Ryan, is also president of AAHomecare. The successful providers, like Ryan, are active in relevant trade associations, have good employee retention programs and have committed to productivity and cost saving technologies, including document management, integrated fax servers, bar coding for order fulfillment, map-based routing of deliveries, business intelligence tools for analyzing their data, and the use of wireless and cellular devices for their sales force, delivery personnel and clinicians.
Liz Beaulieu, in her article in the same issue, "Consultant: Harness Technology to boost efficiency, profits," correctly quotes Wallace Weeks in how important it is for providers to drive down costs by utilizing technology. Too many providers buy software/technology with a predetermined checklist that is focused on finding a billing system and not a management solution. They fail to look at the need to automate the delivery operation, warehouse, customer service and field personnel; and fail to build in the checks and balances that would eliminate bad claims and deliveries for which they may not get paid. A key mistake is not looking at the processes involved in the software packages they are reviewing and failing to analyze how one system may eliminate mistakes and processes that reduce the number of employees needed to touch each order. They fail to see the importance of their investment and buy solely on price, not looking at the return on their investment, many times spending as much on their copier as their information technology solution. Jet Blue, Federal Express and Dell are just a few examples of companies in different industries that have overtaken their competitors by utilizing technology. The opportunity to implement the same kinds of technology that these companies deploy is now available for the homecare industry and those that take advantage of these offers will prevail as, ultimately, they use these solutions to reduce costs, improve productivity, enhance patient satisfaction and boost employee morale.
--Spencer Kay, president, Fastrack Healthcare Systems.