Keeping Your HME Lean: Tips for Process Improvement and Waste Reduction

Written by: Kimberly Commito on Monday, November 9, 2015 Posted in: HME/DME


leanFrom expanding inventories to daily claim denials, there is definitely room to improve HME processes with a LEAN approach.

While you may have heard the term “Lean,”what does this really mean for HME providers? According to the Lean Enterprise Institute, the basic principle is to “maximize customer value while minimizing waste,” with the highest goal being to “provide perfect value to the customer through a perfect value creation process that has zero waste.” We all know that no operation can be perfect 100% of the time, but there are proactive steps your organization can take to increase output, reduce errors, and provide increasing value to customers.

Workflow: Whether you have a small number of staff or a large employee base, the real question is: Does everyone in your organization understand their daily tasks and have a clear hand-off to the next employee when tasks are completed? Without a clear process for managing incoming orders and delivering equipment to patients, it is easy for items to be missed or not completed on time. Discuss these strategies with your staff and management team so you can align daily tasks and everyone in your workplace understands how to transition orders throughout your system and what to do if backlog issues occur.

Inventory: Providers are handling a record number of medical devices and supplies to accommodate for the shift to cash sales in the retail space.  If you are relying on manual or paper processes to manage your inventory, the likelihood of errors—missing items, incorrect inventory counts, or even delivering equipment to the wrong patient—is high.  Instead, barcode scanning technology is a leaner process that streamlines inventory management, so you can easily track and locate supplies and equipment in less time.

Documentation Processes: With the rise in audits and claim denials, providers must ensure that CMNs, SMNs, modifiers, and other crucial documentation fields are completed with every order for quick reimbursement. Can your current software system accommodate document scanning and electronic data management to assist with the claim submission process? And if you receive an audit letter in the mail, can your system easily locate patient documentation to respond, or will this take hours of staff time to locate?

These are just a few ways that your organization can analyze your current processes and spot areas for improvement. To learn how Mediware can help keep your HME operations LEAN, click here.

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