From the August 2016 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
By Bob Shireman
With the ever growing demands of servicing post-acute care patients, including dealing with Medicare and Medicaid as well as regulations set in place by the Affordable Care Act, today’s health care service providers are under constant pressure to become more efficient, improve patient care and maintain regulatory compliance.
In addition to keeping up with guidelines that regulate the industry, providers must effectively manage inventory levels, control assets as well as route and schedule deliveries as efficiently as possible, all while dealing with fluctuating fuel costs, technician shortages and vehicle maintenance issues. Unfortunately, most organizations often depend heavily on paper and manual processes to manage virtually all aspects of their business.
From following delivery ticket and call list procedures to ensuring paperwork is properly completed at each location, field technicians are inundated with long paper trails. Additionally, the trail continues at the end of the day as staff members must then enter the information manually into the billing system. This entire process often causes multiple errors, including missing paperwork, unauthorized signatures, incomplete compliance procedures and unclear exception reports, and is not a sustainable practice for a successful company.
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In fact, 68 percent of companies agree business at the speed of paper is unacceptable, according to the Association for Information and Image Management. Why, then, do so many still rely on paper? In a word: inertia. There is a prevailing fear that automation is “too expensive” or built for larger companies with deep pockets and robust budgets for IT projects. Today’s leading-edge logistics technology providers mitigate that argument by bringing a comprehensive and affordable solution where as few as a handful of technicians can benefit immediately from a field solution.
As our world continues to become digitally dependent, health care service providers must streamline delivery processes by using technology solutions to track drivers and automate management logistics, in order to reduce costs and improve patient outcomes. Forward-thinking companies that digitize their processes can benefit greatly by increasing operational efficiency, patient care and field force productivity.
By using an automated system, companies are, first and foremost, enabling clean billing, which means less risk of error and fewer opportunities for dispute, accelerated reimbursement as well as charge backs. In addition, a digital workflow management tool allows for greater asset control of equipment outside of the depots. By accurately and electronically recording when equipment leaves the warehouse and is delivered to a patient, businesses gain greater visibility on the location of valuable assets.