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Industry assesses impact of AI

Industry assesses impact of AI

newspollYARMOUTH, Maine – The promise of artificial intelligence – and the potential risks – are not lost on those in the HME industry, based on the results of a recent HME Newspoll. 

Providers like AmeriMed are already leveraging the technology to improve the patient experience for CPAP therapy. 

“We’re using AI for our mask fittings now and it has eliminated our refits, saved time and increased compliance and patient satisfaction,” wrote a respondent from the company. “The accuracy of the technology has been remarkable.” 

Most respondents (55%) say patient experience is the area where they believe AI will have the biggest impact on the industry. 

In addition to patient experience, AI has the potential to improve patient care on a larger scale, one respondent wrote. 

“I think it will have a positive change on the way we deliver, assess and plan for care,” wrote Dave Worley, a clinical specialist, Commercial Education & Development, at ResMed. “I think it will allow us to better access objective and subjective data to care for patients.” 

Respondents do worry, however, that AI could work against providers, even potentially replacing them. 

“I believe it will become a vehicle for patients to go online and order supplies/products directly,” wrote Sharon Wilcox, a women’s health provider in Texas. “Patients will be directed to order online—answer questions from an AI ‘voice,’ access doctor's orders, and place the order. The fitting, returning/refitting etc., will be the patient's responsibility. I am sure insurance/CMS will see this as cost effective, even if it might be detrimental to the patient.” 

So much is still unknown, with most respondents (38%) saying the industry has yet to feel the real impact of AI. Respondents are holding out hope that in the future it will improve interoperability and billing and documentation. 

“I hope it will come in the form of connecting insurance companies to medical records, so they do not need our industry to submit physician medical records for DMEPOS items,” wrote one respondent. “Obtaining medical records remains to be the bane of our industry and removing that medical record requirement (or allowing our industry easy access to those records) would allow us to get paid on so many more claims.” 

One thing most respondents (86%) can agree on: AI will have an impact on the industry. 

“Certain sectors of HME will be impacted greater than others,” wrote one respondent. “It will be a long time before self-guided electric vehicles are making deliveries to a patient’s home. (But) the ability to better manage the business and increase patient satisfaction, increase cash flow, decrease DSO, better control fraud and abuse (is not that far into the future). It will increase profitability, but the question will be how long it will be before the government takes that profit away using whatever flavor of reimbursement cuts they deem effective.”


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