Medtrade 2023 united the East and West shows, bringing the home medical equipment (HME) industry together all under one roof. The Modern Healthcare Back Office podcast caught up with Prochant Chief Revenue Officer Joey Graham, a speaker at the conference, and Prochant Head of HME Sales BJ Martinelli to discuss their takeaways from the event and offer tips for attending Medtrade 2024.
As the premier trade show for the HME industry, Medtrade 2023 had wonderful attendance with top experts, innovators, and vendors. Having everyone meet in Dallas also helped create an exciting time on the Expo floor for everyone to connect. BJ and Joey were able to catch up with clients and other providers who came by Prochant’s booth, allowing our experts to take the pulse of HME providers from across the country.
“People are really struggling with staffing. Not only finding people, but retaining,” BJ said on the podcast.
Many providers are still facing the same problems as previous years. COVID-19 brought on the “Great Resignation” and changed a lot of jobs. People are also leaving their HME positions for similar pay at jobs with less stress and educational requirements. On the plus side, Prochant heard how well clients are doing since they have supplemented their staff with Prochant’s billing solutions.
Due to the growing threat of inflation, everyone wants to know how to cut costs. The conversation in healthcare isn’t just about finding people, it’s about affording people. The cost of labor has increased substantially in the U.S., and HME providers are searching for the relief valve. Finding a way to reduce labor cost is important.
“We have a lot of folks, especially large enterprises, who traditionally never outsourced and are now looking in the market to outsource,” Joey said. “There are major, large-scale providers who always had everything in house and are now outsourcing.” Outsourcing has become that relief valve for providers.
Providers are asking questions like, “Where do I get some labor savings without jeopardizing my business? Without jeopardizing my collections?” Outsourcing specific or all billing processes is becoming a necessity.
Implementing new technology is another major relief valve. During the conference, Joey co-led a presentation with Bruce Gehring of the Allegiance Group on “Using Automation to Improve Your Patient Experience.” Throughout the session, Joey and Bruce explained the latest technology at a provider’s disposal to combat staffing issues, rising labor costs, and more.
However, it’s no surprise technology implementation occurs at a snail's pace in HME.
“I've heard this my entire career,” Joey explained. “Healthcare runs about 10 years behind other industries, and HME runs about 10 years behind healthcare.” In other words, in the HME industry, companies now are working with the greatest technology of 20 years ago (i.e. robotic process automation).
In the session, Joey talked about the “Domino’s Pizza tracker” from the late 2000s. It transformed the food delivery model, allowing customers to track when their order was prepared and delivered. Uber Eats, DoorDash, and other top players have incorporated this concept into their business models with major success. Joey joked that he didn’t want to call providers “Domino’s Pizza,” but insisted they need to apply some pressure on vendors when it comes to using new technology, since falling behind cannot be an option.
Advice for Future Medtrade Attendees
Plan Your Schedule
BJ’s main advice for those planning to attend Medtrade 2024 is to plan your schedule ahead of time. “You get caught up with different colleagues, so plan out the educational sessions you want to go to, plan out the people you want to see, and give the showroom floor some time.”
Some past attendees who had never thought about outsourcing as a solution, since it wasn’t on their radar, are now Prochant clients and receive the help they need to improve their bottom line. With tons of vendors at Medtrade, always plan to spend time at the Expo to discover what’s new in the industry or simply new to your company.
“Give everyone a shot and just listen to what they have to say. You never know what may be a fit,” BJ added.
Reserve Your Hotel Early
With Medtrade taking place in Dallas the next couple years, the hotel attached to the conference center is the Omni. As a #1 piece of advice, Joey recommends providers get an early reservation to stay at the Omni in order to network better with people at the event.
A second piece of advice, related to BJ’s recommendation, is to plan your trip and look at the multiple concurrent conference tracks happening at the same time. With tracks organized for executives, business operations, and more, you can bring some of your key people from different levels. Allow members of your organization to interact with people in a similar job role, exchange advice, and interact with vendors on the Expo floor to really advance your business.
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Listen to the full episode of Medtrade 2023’s recap below.
Prochant has a proven track record of helping HME and pharmacy providers meet their financial goals. Our scalable solutions, years of experience, and advanced technology provide best-in-class results to the healthcare community. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, our client base includes national pharmacy and HME providers and health systems.