Digitalization piecemeal faced by healthcare industry

Digitalization piecemeal faced by healthcare industry

Durable Medical Equipment admin meets the digital age. The digitalization of medical care continues to grow dynamically. Moreover, that growth is filtering into new segments of the industry as everyone connected to healthcare from patients to insurers is beginning to see the advantages of today’s technological change. Though the COVID pandemic brought on an acceleration of spending on digital health; spending continued to grow as the urgency of the pandemic faded. For example, rockhealth.com points out that spending on digital healthcare in 2021; had reached 2020’s total in only six months and roughly doubled in 2021. Deal size grew, too, up 25% year-on-year in 2021. Digital transformation of the medical industry leads to software development in healthcare that is necessary for institutions. Technological solutions improve patient data exchange and storage, inventory management, and communication with third-party organizations.

 Digitalization makes inroads, unevenly

Digitalization piecemeal faced by healthcare industry

For example, durable medical equipment software adoption is often seen as having the same use case as early-adopting segments like on-site patient data gathering and pharmaceuticals inventory. DME software drastically cuts down on the worker hours consumed as well as the error rate compared to paper-based- processes. In this regard, digitalizing the processes connected to DME devices brings benefits similar to those already seen elsewhere. 

However, extending digitalization to durable medical devices can bring cost-effective changes unlike those seen in single-site, stationary uses. Digitalization makes it easier to keep track of inventory; especially when an item is returned to or used at a site; that is different from where it was first released to the patient. Repairs and reverse logistics require their own workflows and tracking, and digital solutions can streamline processes while better managing inventory.

Helping suppliers

DME suppliers can benefit from digitalization just like care providers have been doing. This holds true, especially when keeping track of inventory and usage across multiple sites; as management can become complicated very quickly. In such cases, older computer systems may drag down performance as much as paper. Siloed databases prevent data sharing and can be a security risk. And while paper-based systems may seem free of ransomware and the risks that digitalization brings; the result stilted and slow operations that cannot keep up with the demands of clients and the back office.

Digitalization that includes DME software and DME billing software adds flexibility that previous systems; both computer, and paper-based, could not offer. Cloud-based systems using APIs for connecting devices and systems make it easier to connect everything from hand-held scanners for reading device barcodes to devices themselves and obtain data from monitors such as wearables; and even connect with other systems such as the care team even if the team is external to the DME organization. This can extended to connecting with accounting systems for both receivables and payables as well; thus bringing greater visibility regarding device use and accountability for both patients and administrators.

Outside organizations such as insurers are also increasing their expectations for granular data on the part of patients; care providers, and the suppliers of equipment, especially regarding the utilization of goods such as durable health care devices. Insurers’ demands are an onerous burden under a paper-based process but can easily managed with a modern digitized system.

 What to look for

Digitalization

It is clear that the future of the Durable Medical Equipment industry lies with the same basic set of technologies; that the care industry increasingly thrives upon. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, though. Companies preparing to modernize their DME-related systems need to clearly understand their own needs. However, there are some basic features that should be included.

One emphasis in this generation of software is customizability. Both DME and DME billing software should be customizable at the very least by IT administrators in order to fit their company’s needs. This can include creating or modifying workflows, for instance, or permissions across units for security purposes.

Interoperability is another issue that can affect the buying process. Look for software that allows for greater connections to devices as well as care delivery teams to improve both inventory and communications; so that you can the equipment needed to the patients who need it.

Depending on the company’s needs, consider the ability to expand the system’s scope and add or access modules when the time comes. Perfecting a billing platform modernization might take precedence over, say, investing time into e-procurement or shipping; but the capacity to work down the list within the same system is an important part of the flexibility; that current-generation DME-related software brings to bear.

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