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Technology: Platform is everything

Technology: Platform is everything Q. What is the ideal technology platform for an HME provider?

A. Technology platforms typically fall into two distinct models: older on-premise client-server deployments and modern cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings. On-premise client-server platforms are managed and maintained internally by the provider. Although they offer the provider some control over the systems, these platforms come at a hefty price for staff, support and maintenance. On the other hand, a cloud-based platform, in which software and servers are hosted and maintained by a technology vendor and access is provided via the web, enables HME providers to reduce their IT costs.

When evaluating technology platforms, it's also important to consider emerging interoperability requirements. Most payer reimbursement systems now have electronic interfaces and many hospitals and physicians have implemented electronic health record (EHR) systems that eliminate paper and enable the sharing of health data electronically across care settings. Additionally, intelligent medical devices are collecting information that can be easily shared and used to monitor a patient's health and compliance. There is a growing expectation from referral sources that HME providers also share this data dynamically and electronically.

A cloud-based platform will automatically manage 100% of the data interoperability “plumbing” to hundreds of connections in the healthcare ecosystem on behalf of its provider customers. With client-server platforms, all of the data interoperability has to be managed and maintained by the provider.

Ultimately, by employing a cloud-based SaaS platform, HME providers can share information faster and more accurately—leading to reduced costs, improved patient care, heightened marketability of their products and services, and less time spent on managing and supporting technology resources.

Jana Macon is vice president of strategic services for Brightree. Reach her at


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