Technology is now a cornerstone for healthcare companies, providers, and medical suppliers. Innovation in healthcare technology is the focus of investors, to the tune of $7.4 billion in 2019. With the era of COVID-19 upon us, we can anticipate that interest will grow as organizations and investors recognize the business need and patient demand for new care delivery models.
ROI in healthcare is measured a little differently than with a traditional business, of course. Return on investment means more than dollars back in the bank when you’re talking about the care of individuals. Financial ROI is important, but so is clinical – better care – and operational – more streamlined processes and improved business management.
Medical suppliers mostly align with financial ROI, but there are other measures for them, too, including the return on investment of improved customer experience and greater visibility into the end-to-end supply chain.
Today, there are technology solutions that can help with all facets of ROI for both types of companies, and in nearly every aspect of their business. Understanding the goals and expectations of your technology investments will help you measure the proper ROI.
However it’s measured, the right technology investment can vastly improve a healthcare company’s business. While there has been much written on how EMRs and portals improve the customer experience – and they do – there is much to be gained by investing in operational, logistic, and reporting technology, as well. We only begin to scratch the surface of how technologies in these areas can bring substantial ROI for small-to-medium-sized healthcare and medical supply organizations.
The time where healthcare looks tomorrow like it did yesterday is long gone. Both medical suppliers and healthcare companies need to be nimble and ready to pivot to answer new market trends or even emerging healthcare concerns.
Consider the COVID-19 pandemic. Suppliers needed to rapidly ramp up or down production, depending on their products. Providers needed to quickly retool delivery. Even insurance providers had to adjust workflows to accommodate different delivery modes.
All of this required agility in business processes and operations. Siloed systems, divided between departments, slowed down the possibility of turning to meet a rapidly shifting patient and delivery landscape. For instance, when a provider’s billing systems are isolated from clinical support, it’s difficult to share patient data, and revenue realization is slowed.
Integrations between systems, however, makes sharing data seamless. Information can follow an automated flow from appointments to treatment coding to billing to insurance providers. System integration offers ROI across all three measures, improving patient care with more visibility, streamlining operational management, and speeding the revenue stream from patient to payment.
Efficient Order and Delivery
Similarly, integrations can serve medical suppliers. Connecting customer ordering systems with CRMs and ERPs gets orders from the customer to the sales team, order fulfillment, and invoicing at nearly the same time.
Integrations can also manage some of the heavy-lifting of data transformation between these systems. Multiple ROI occurs with integrations here, too, increasing the speed of the value chain and resulting in better customer service and improved ordering processes.
Having the collected data from across business serves another purpose for medical supply organizations – reporting and analytics. Feeding data from multiple core systems into analytics engines and data dashboards enables an end-to-end view of the business and the supply chain.
With easily digestible data available, sales teams can understand what inventory looks like, manufacturing has clarity on the number and size of orders, and leadership can make data-driven decisions that cut across all areas of the company.
There is also better visibility across the supply chain, even when multiple partners are involved. Data gathered on shipping rates, transportation times, parts availability, and so on can be viewed through a single dashboard.
The Internet of Things has revolutionized how we can view our place and performance in the world. It’s altering the way healthcare monitors conditions and delivers treatment. It’s also changing how suppliers handle everything from managing inventory to monitoring shipments.
Investments in IoT health monitoring are returned to healthcare businesses two-fold. First, by being able to monitor a patient’s care remotely, clinicians are able to get a more holistic view of a patient’s condition over time without relying on a patient’s self-reporting or requiring a hospital stay. This results in better, more precise care.
Second, connected devices encourage patients to be more involved in their own care. For instance, a remote monitor combined with telemedicine lowers the bar for patients to get treatment for a variety of conditions. Instead of taking days off of work for tests and multiple visits, patients can provide their healthcare professionals with vital data remotely, and discuss the information over a call or video chat. This encourages proactive care for conditions and increased wellness appointments, which are better for the patient and more profitable for the provider.
For medical suppliers, IoT solutions that can bring a large ROI are automated inventory management and product-tracking technologies, the latter also helping clinicians by alleviating manual supply chain tasks (i.e. supply tracking and reordering). Automated inventory management helps suppliers keep the right level of inventory without overbuying or being stuck flatfooted.
The data from both of these solutions can help predict future demand, as well. Data visualizations of inventory levels illustrate fluctuations and trends in stock levels. Similarly, visualizations improve the visibility of burn rates of supplies in general and within specific customer sites. This can spur a sales team to suggest larger or more frequent orders, or suggest that a different product may be needed to meet a provider’s demands. Without the data, however, it’s more challenging to make these suggestions to a provider.
As we mentioned at the start, this just scratches the surface of the ways technology can offer enhanced ROI for healthcare and medical suppliers. Interested in finding out how one of these or even a custom solution can increase revenue and visibility into your medical business? Contact Curotec to discuss your needs and potential solutions.