Poll respondents have high hopes for e-technology

Despite increase in interest, stumbling blocks remain
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Friday, April 13, 2018

YARMOUTH, Maine – Electronic ordering and documentation have dominated the headlines in recent weeks, and it’s about time, say the respondents to a recent HME Newspoll.

AAHomecare recently announced that it would be researching e-prescribing platforms to recommend the best solution for its provider members, and the VGM Group recently announced that it would be joining a CMS work group to advance electronic medical documentation.

“We are an independent DME company and not affiliated with a hospital, (so) we don’t have access to Epic and other systems—our notes and prescriptions come in via fax,” wrote one respondent. “We have hopes that this will change with AAH and VGM working on an electronic solution for the industry. We very much see the need to handle this documentation electronically. This would save so much time, which will, in turn, benefit the patient and ourselves.”

Parachute Health and Apria Healthcare also announced recently that they are now more widely offering their e-prescribing platforms to providers.

While a majority of respondents to the poll say they are already using electronic technology in their businesses (67%), there are still significant stumbling blocks to it being ubiquitous. Chief among them: the number of platforms being offered and used.

“We accept e-referrals on multiple platforms,” wrote Josh Marx of Medical Service Company based in Cleveland. “Some of them result in efficiency gains through streamlining processes, but others are niche platforms that specific doctors want us to use due to their own preferences. That makes it hard for our teams to manage, when there are multiple ordering platforms with varying degrees of integration into our ERP.”

Another stumbling block: Electronic ordering requires buy-in from both providers and referral sources, and some referral sources are holding back, respondents say.

“As a pharmacy/DME, we are at the mercy of the processes the pharmacy side of the business chooses to use,” wrote one respondent. “That means we still use a paper fax machine and have zero communication between pharmacy and DME computer systems.”

Respondents agree, however, that when and where electronic technology is leveraged, the benefits are significant, with the most significant among them being increased productivity by their order verification teams (39%), followed by reduced faxes and phone calls (35%).

“It saves money all around,” wrote Abel Guevara of Harbor Home Medical in Austin, Texas.