Trends, Opportunities, and Challenges in 2022

Published in Complex Rehab on February 16, 2022

Mike MallaroBy Mike Mallaro, CEO, VGM Group, Inc

My DMEPOS forecast for 2022 is bullish. Despite the pandemic, supply chain disruption, inflation, the great resignation, and recalls, DME businesses have fared very well over the past couple years. I see organic growth in the 6% to 8% range across the industry for 2022. Growth should be overweight in the back half of the year as supply chain issues are worked through and pandemic issues subside (hopefully).

organic growth

Below are the noteworthy trends I see creating opportunities and challenges in 2022.

Contact-Free

A majority of Americans prefers to conduct their business in a contact-free manner. A subset of that majority strongly prefers contact-free. No, they don’t actually want to come to your showroom or your CPAP clinic. It’s not rocket science, folks. Just look around at grocery stores, meal delivery, and shopping malls. You’re not different. Our world has changed forever. You have to change too. Contact-free is customer preferred, and we need to respond. Luckily, contact-free fits many parts of our business pretty well.

2022 Action Item: Evaluate each contact point required by customers, and seek an alternative process to offer it as a contact-free interaction. That includes shipping items like CPAPs directly to patients’ homes. When doing this exercise, channel the old Arnold Palmer Invacare ads—Yes You Can!

Increasing Chatter of New Models

The dream of new models transforming healthcare has been alive for many years. New models do emerge, and certainly the pandemic ignited contact-free and home-centric models in healthcare. The next few years will bring emergence of alternative models that impact home-centric healthcare.

But a word of caution. The ACA became law in 2010 and with it the much-ballyhooed conversion to new models built around value-based reimbursement. More than a decade later, the portion of healthcare reimbursement dollars paid on value-based criteria is only about 5%. Change happens, but foundational change in healthcare always happens more slowly than one might think.

2022 Action Item: Be alert to emerging models where you could potentially add value, and seek to build relationships and connectivity to those.

Customer Experience

The slow march toward more consumerism in healthcare continues in 2022. Many of the alternative models emerging are partially based on addressing the unfavorable customer experience that often exists today. Devising ways to improve your customer experience in the continuum in which you operate makes you a better organization—and it will increase your revenues, albeit more slowly than you’d like.

2022 Action Item: Map out the points of customer friction required to do business with you. Endeavor to eliminate 10% of the friction points and improve another 30% of them in 2022. Then re-imagine other ways to enhance the customer experience.

IT Security

While this has been a risk area and pain point for several years, I anticipate an uptick this year. Cybercrime activity continues to rise, and providers are wise to shore up security around patient and payment data for which they are responsible.

Healthcare providers possess, directly or indirectly, loads of personal data on patients, and that data is valuable to hackers. DMEs get hacked and/or ransomed all the time. Over half of American businesses have been victims of extortion via cyberbreaches, with lost time being an even larger cost than the ransom paid.

An element of IT security that I think accelerates at a high rate in 2022 is the practice of third parties (think health payers or cyber-insurers) requiring you to complete security requirements questionnaires, and pass their requirements, as a condition of doing business. This activity was becoming more common in DME in 2019. The pandemic put much of it on hold. It comes roaring back in 2022.

Prepare to spend more time on these checklists. But more importantly, prepare to meet additional security requirements in order to reach a passing level—or risk losing contracts and cyber insurance policies. 

2022 Action Item: Create an IT security risk assessment on your organization, including on third-party vendors with whom you rely for IT security and operations, along with a tangible plan for mitigation of elevated risks identified. You won’t need to be perfect to pass all the questionnaires, but you will be better off if you have a plan on how you’re getting to a satisfactory risk level. And it helps you prepare for what’s coming.

Utilization of Data

A wise Georgian once told me, “Mike, fish where the fish are.” Most of the time the answers are in the data, and we get to the answer much faster by casting our line there. Utilize data to find business (referrals) you’re missing, to understand fair pricing, to identify the snags with payers, to assess your CPAP program’s effectiveness, your employee engagement, and more.

2022 Action Item: Endeavor to be more data-driven in 2022 and you’ll be a better leader and have a higher performing organization.

Evolving Labor Markets

Consolidation

The Future is Bright

Continue reading "Trends, Opportunities, and Challenges in 2022"...

Read the Full Article


TAGS

  1. forecasting

From Our Experts

Senate Dear Colleague Letter on Power Seat Elevation and Standing Systems Begins to Circulate thumbnail Senate Dear Colleague Letter on Power Seat Elevation and Standing Systems Begins to Circulate Please reach out to your representatives to ask them to sign the Dear Colleague Letters, which request that CMS advance Medicare coverage for power seat elevation system and urge them to promptly move forward with the process for power standing systems. U.S. Rehab and VGM Government Relations Attend Congressional Briefing in Washington D.C. thumbnail U.S. Rehab and VGM Government Relations Attend Congressional Briefing in Washington D.C. Wednesday, Sept. 14, was a momentous day of advocating for CRT and other key legislative issues. Greg Packer and Tom Powers spent time in Washington D.C. attending the NCART/NRRTS Virtual Congressional Fly-In and a congressional briefing on power seating and standing systems for power wheelchairs. Fall Prevention: Better Outcomes with the FMA thumbnail Fall Prevention: Better Outcomes with the FMA One way in which falls can be prevented is by providing the highest quality of CRT equipment, services, and care to customers, which in turn gives the customer better outcomes and better quality of life. U.S. Rehab Announces Tyler Mahncke as New Vice President thumbnail U.S. Rehab Announces Tyler Mahncke as New Vice President Tyler Mahncke has been promoted to Vice President of U.S. Rehab. CMS Opens Comment Period for Power Seat Elevation Coverage thumbnail CMS Opens Comment Period for Power Seat Elevation Coverage Late on Monday, August 15th, CMS announced the opening of a 30-day comment period relating to the request for Medicare coverage of power seat elevation systems used with complex power wheelchairs. Emerging Technologies for 2022 thumbnail Emerging Technologies for 2022 Technology spending can seem like a never-ending black hole. Security and infrastructure investments do not have a direct value to the business. Embrace new technologies in 2022. Put them to use to retain and recruit employees, referral sources, and patients. Emerging Market Trend: Bariatrics thumbnail Emerging Market Trend: Bariatrics Providers don't have to offer everything at once. They are likely already serving bariatric patients. Simply asking them about the areas they need assistance will determine the best starting point. From there, just keep listening to the patients and focus on serving their needs. That's where the opportunity is. The Pathway from Technician to ATP thumbnail The Pathway from Technician to ATP The better trained technician, the more efficient they are, and the more accurate of an ATP they can become. How do we know that a better-trained technician saves a company time and money? The proof is in the pudding.