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Philip's Sonal Matai: Who will go deep?

Philip's Sonal Matai: Who will go deep?

PITTSBURGH - When HME providers look at the COVID-19 pandemic in hindsight, Sonal Matai says, they will see it as “the best thing that could have happened to the industry” in one important way: its acceleration of technology, particularly virtual care.

Telecare is no longer a sliver of health care - it's real care,” said Matai, business leader, North America Sleep & Respiratory Care, at Philips. “It's no longer something you do when you don't have time; it's a new way of actually delivering care, and it's actually better. You can manage more patients and you can manage them more effectively.

Here's what Matai had so say about how the pivots the HME industry has made over the past seven months will change business forever.

HME News: What's one of the biggest pivots you've seen in the HME industry since the pandemic started?

Sonal Matai: If you look at the pickup of our home delivery and remote setup program (whereby a provider identifies a patient for services and enters their information into EncoreAnywhere or Care Orchestrator, and then Philips delivers and sets up) - you could see that immediately. You can have a patient set up from a remote place and still give them the best care? Yes.

HME: What about after setup?

Matai: Providers are understanding how the connectability of devices can really impact their businesses - how you can manage and troubleshoot a patient from a distance, leveraging data. You can make assessments and really drive to cohorts that need your care the most. You can take care of them first and face-to-face.

HME: It's one thing for providers to pick up on technology and new ways of doing business, but what about patients?

Matai: All of us have become used to devices; they've become part of life. Patients are also more open to using different forms of technology. In a lot of cases, the patients are asking for it.

HME: Will the use of technology stick post-pandemic?

Matai: I think it will. The models that providers have learned over the last seven months - they're not just going to go back to how they were doing things in the past.

HME: Any other lessons learned from the pandemic?

Matai: It has taught providers to go deep into their businesses. It has forced them to look at every aspect of their businesses to see how they can build and bring in technology. What should they insource; what should they outsource? How do they make themselves more efficient - whether it's home delivery and remote setup or resupply or billing? I think this will define the winners and losers going forward. Who will go deep?

HME: What do you think providers should insource and outsource?

Matai: Referral management and patient intake - those are things they should be doing. That's critical to them; it's the lifeline to their business. And managing adherence. But home setup? That's something we think they can outsource. We've always said face-to-face is the most valued, not call centers, but that's no longer necessarily the case.

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