Thu, 07 Dec 2023

According to Grand View Research, the medical equipment market will grow tremendously within the next decade to reach USD 331.1 billion by 2030. This is mostly because the number of people over 65 years old (according to Census) will increase and require more care.

An aging population puts pressure on healthcare and increases the demand for durable medical equipment. Millions of elderly people rely on DME/HME to carry out their daily activities and manage chronic conditions. Access to this crucial medical equipment may become a challenge if DME providers don't strategize to counter the soaring demand.

Are DME companies prepared for growth in the DME sector? What can they do to meet the increasing demand for medical equipment and services? If you're in the healthcare sector, it's vital to understand the strategies you can use to maintain efficiency and profitability as demand for medical services increases.

Aging Population and Health Care

As more people cross the 60-age mark, demand for geriatric care rises. The need for medicine and equipment used by elderly patients in their homes will therefore increase. Hospitals will also need more nurses, physicians, and doctors who specialize in caring for the elderly.

Also, the costs of training and hiring new medical personnel will surge, as healthcare providers strive to maintain high-quality care. Here are the challenges healthcare providers will face as demand for geriatric services surges:

  • High healthcare administrative costs
  • Pressure on health care resources may reduce the quality of care
  • Shortage of medical workers will increase
  • Maintaining a consistent stream of income may be a challenge with so many copays
  • Shortage of staff can lead to auditing risks and compliance issues

So how would a home medical equipment supply company handle these emerging issues?

Healthcare Automation

Using spreadsheets, waitlists, and paper catalogs can be time-consuming, labor-intensive, and prone to errors. Getting rid of the paper-based system and adopting a digital workflow system will resolve most of the issues healthcare providers face as the demand for medical services and equipment increases.

Automating key areas of DME/HME business such as inventory management, billing, payment collections, and document verification will solve the problems of labor shortage. Automation is critical in improving operational efficiency and the delivery of quality care to patients.

Enterprising organizations are already using the services of DME software companies to roll out automation. Keeping your healthcare business prepared for the growth in the DME market means embracing automation. To adopt automation for your medical equipment supply business, consider the following key areas that require digital transformation.

Coding and Billing

There's no doubt that automation has radically changed how healthcare organizations approach coding and billing. Healthcare administrators understand that manual billing of claims takes significant time and money. Errors resulting from manual billing increase denials, reduce accounts receivable and invite auditing risks.

More organizations are turning to automated billing systems to eliminate errors and streamline collections. Automaton enables DME providers to use software systems to capture information in real-time from Electronic Medical Records (EMR), therefore, increasing accuracy and timely payments. These tools will flag improperly filled claims, highlight any inconsistencies with existing HIPAA compliance guidelines, and generate reports on the status of claims. An automated billing system will help your DME/HME business increase collections and free your staff to work on providing care to patients.

Patient Eligibility Verification

Unlike other industries, healthcare data is largely unstructured, making it difficult for providers and payors alike to digitize systems. Luckily, modern intelligent medical billing software captures patient information from the time of registration through claims processing and payment collection. The software uses Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to assign repetitive tasks to bots that can check the patient's insurance information.

Automating patient enrollment allows you to know right from the beginning what the payor will pay and what the patient will contribute as a copayment. Automation weeds out any registration errors and omissions that usually slip through manual verification processes. Through digitization, your front-desk staff can undertake patient eligibility and benefits verification in a matter of minutes.

Equipment Resupply

Some durable medical equipment such as continuous passive airway pressure (CPAP) requires a resupply of items such as headgear, tubing, filters, water chambers, and mask frames. Most resupplies are reimbursable, but the challenge is ensuring consistent and timely order placement and delivery of resupplies to patients.

For a long time, concerns about delays in resupplies and delivery of wrong equipment have affected supplier-patient relationships. To overcome these challenges, DME providers can adopt an automated resupply system for higher revenue and better patient satisfaction. A resupply software automates equipment ordering, document verification, claims processing, and reimbursement.

With such an automation tool from a reputable DME software company, patients can place resupply orders using an online portal. Your business will receive the order via the same platform, where you can automate patient eligibility, prior authorization, and billing. This boosts customer retention and your company's bottom line.

Claims Management

While you can do everything to ensure your claims are accepted the first time, denials are inevitable and usually result from various reasons. Understanding that payors have various cases to handle means ensuring your appeal is simple, accurate, and electronic. It takes time for payors to go through handwritten claims and denial appeals. So, make your claims management process efficient by automating the entire process of submitting claims and managing denials.

Good DME software solutions have in-built claim processing systems that enable you to track and check the status of all your claims. With such automation tools, you take advantage of accurate reporting and efficient management of claims. Combined, these solutions reduce Days Sales Outstanding (DSO), boost productivity, reduce errors, and streamline revenue cycle management.

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