It's 11 a.m.—Do you know where your drivers are?
During the past several decades, technological advances have drastically improved throughout the health care industry.
From online and mobile check-in to electronic health records, patient care before and during a doctor’s visit is progressing all the time due to technology. However, a piece of the health care continuum that is still lagging behind in technology adoption is what happens after a patient leaves a medical facility. Although patients rarely, if ever, experience the hurdles of this issue, many post-acute care providers see it on a daily basis.
Home medical equipment (HME) organizations specifically have been reluctant adopters of technology, and trust outdated processes. While these methods have proven to work, those not investing in current technology are finding themselves falling behind the competition.
Mobile logistics software is the latest wave of technology proving itself to be beneficial amongst health care providers, including those in the post-acute care space. These solutions are allowing HME organizations to eliminate unnecessary expenses, improve driver productivity and deliver more than just equipment.
This series of four articles will discuss common operational challenges providers face, while highlighting the benefits of mobile logistics solutions for HME organizations.
Driver Visibility and Accountability
Until recently, HME providers had limited technology that gave visibility of the delivery team. Sure, GPS trackers allow managers to monitor their drivers from point A to B, but how much visibility is a moving dot on a map really providing? With a mobile solution, providers can see completed and pending deliveries along with details on what’s being delivered for every technician. This unprecedented level of insight to delivery status drives team efficiency, accountability and delivers organization-wide productivity. From route start in the morning to returning to the warehouse at the end of the day and everything in between, managers can keep track of their drivers’ progress in real time.
Providers are now equipped to offer enhanced levels of service to their patients with fast and accurate deliveries that every referral source will appreciate and every competing provider will envy.
As is the case for most businesses, time is money for HME organizations. Built-in route optimization capabilities map out the most efficient order of stops for drivers at the beginning of each day. Taking the guesswork out of routing provides one less thing the delivery team needs to worry about while out in the field or even in the office. One click of the mouse and it is complete. Drivers can be certain they are on the quickest route while being assured patient requests are being met. Also, because nothing is ever set in stone and needs changing throughout the day, dispatchers and managers have the ability to re-optimize a driver’s route.
Most days, patients or post-acute care facilities have a last-minute order needing to be delivered “as soon as possible.” In these instances, managers and drivers traditionally are stuck playing a lengthy game of phone tag, trying to figure out who has the time, equipment and ability to deliver an unexpected order. Not only is this a tedious process, but it also hinders the productivity of technicians.
Mobile logistics software is a necessity if managers are to have full visibility of their fleet’s progress, proximity to the patient and the products on the truck to complete same-day orders. Once it’s determined which driver is best suited for the task, a dispatcher can electronically send and schedule the order into the driver’s existing route without a disruption. Likewise, the driver is able to simply accept the order and move along with assignments for the day.
The ability to seamlessly fulfill urgent orders on the fly gives providers the upper hand over competitors that are still stuck playing phone tag. It also instills a sense of trust and satisfaction in both the patients and referral sources who know their orders will be taken care of promptly.
Patient Care and Customer Service
Improved patient care and customer service is arguably the most important benefit of implementing a mobile solution to enhance driver visibility. When a customer or referral source calls inquiring about a pending order, customer service representatives and dispatchers can provide accurate delivery arrival times by viewing where the driver is in the route.
Providing quality patient care is a pillar of being a leader in the HME industry, and mobile technology allows organizations to take this aspect of the business to a new level.
Get Mobile, Get Moving
Mobile logistics software is rapidly gaining traction with forward-thinking HME organizations. The easy-to-use inexpensive technology, allows providers to reap the benefits almost immediately following implementation. Next time you find yourself scrambling to fulfill a last-minute order or reviewing the overtime hours your drivers submitted, take comfort that there is a better, more efficient way of overseeing your entire fleet at one time, without any complications, stress or lingering questions.
HME providers have been the tip of the spear for many years in health care regulation, accountability and creativity. It’s 11 a.m. on a new day—get mobile, get moving.
This article is the first in a four-part series. Read the full series here.