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Poll: COVID precautions push permanent business changes

Poll: COVID precautions push permanent business changes

YARMOUTH, Maine – More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, HME providers, like many businesses, have adapted to new ways of doing business and many of those changes will become permanent, say respondents to a recent HME Newspoll. 

Nearly three-quarters of respondents say they plan to make certain changes permanent, including offering drop-shipping or curbside pick-up of equipment. 

“In the past, we would do curbside if a customer asked,” said Diane Dean of Jefferson Pharmacy in Lake Monticello, Va. “Now, we advertise it and have signs posted outside with instructions.” 

Jefferson Pharmacy has also waived its $5 local delivery fee, a popular move that it may also make permanent, Dean said. 

Another big change that respondents reported: work from home for employees. Some respondents reported the change has resulted in cost savings from reduced office space and increased productivity, but others want to get back to the office. 

“Hopefully, with the vaccine, we can get everyone back after the summer,” wrote one respondent. 

Getting back into the office is important to patients who prefer in-person setups, respondents say. 

“We wanted to decrease our face-to-face contact, as did patients, when the pandemic hit a year ago,” wrote one respondent. “However, now that things are opening up, we have found an increasing number of people that want to return to in-office for face-to-face setups, as they feel that is better for them.” 

Whatever changes respondents have made and will keep as a result of the pandemic, they will also continue to adjust, based on the needs of their referral sources. 

"We get inquiries from third-party callers who screen us to see what protective protocols we are willing to follow to protect their client before coming to their home or facility,” said Brian Keith of Access of Mobility, Repair & Rental in Greensboro, N.C. “Based on fear of the unknown and in the interest of protecting gray headed consumers, I can’t see a time when we won’t wear masks/gloves going forward when entering a facility.” 


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