Times have changed: Get rid of gut reactions and doughnuts
Just over 100 companies tuned in this week for our Webinar, "The Pulmonologist Speaks," which HME News and Emerge Sales presented twice on Wednesday and twice on Friday. We created this Webinar with the help of top-notch HME providers who wanted more insight into what pulmonologists want from their HME partners. If you know this information (market intelligence), the reasoning goes, there's a good chance more referrals will follow. Makes sense, right?
In all, our researchers spoke to 166 pulmonologists (of the 600 we called). Here's a summary of what we learned:
1. Overwhelmingly, pulmonologists prefer HME providers that offer multiple modalities.
2. 98% of docs monitor their patients' ongoing need for oxygen; 81% track hospital re-admissions; and a large majority want to be kept up-to-date with their patients (monthly for the high-risk patients & quarterly for the stable patients).
3. The majority of physicians refer patients directly to the HME providers rather than allow sleep labs to make the referrals.
4. Pulmonologists want very much to be kept abreast of new products.
5. Most docs don't know the cost of providing supplemental oxygen in the home.
6. Responsiveness and reliability remain the most important factors pulmonologists consider when selecting an HME provider.
7. As pulmonology practices get busier, doctors are embracing an electronic information exchange with HME providers to free up their staff.
8. The majority of practices refer to five or more HME providers.
9. Sales reps are still an important part of the process and need to be visible in the practices to gain their referrals.
That's just a summary of the research. The details are even more interesting and provide greater insight and understanding. What's important here is that as reimbursement continues to dwindle and regulatory oversight increases, HME providers must do everything possible to make themselves indespensable to referral sources. Going forward, more and more, the only way to do that is with this kind of market intelligence. Gut instincts and doughnuts aren't going to cut it.