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A Change in Perspective About Change – FEATURE IN OPEDGE.COM By Brian Simmons
As vice president of business development at Click Medical, I truly believe that our business can’t be successful unless our customers—the prosthetists and O&P practices we work with—are successful first. We’ve done extensive research and spent countless hours studying our industry and strategizing to help our customers build their businesses.
We identified several barriers to change that commonly prevent practitioners/practices from embracing opportunities to innovate and consolidated some strategies for success.
Five Barriers to Change
- Change is hard. All of us, including practitioners, are set in our ways and know how to do what we do, and get the results we expect. Why change?
- Chasing reimbursement. No surprise here. Chasing reimbursement is time consuming and inefficient. It’s especially annoying that new technology, which could have a tremendous positive impact on a patient’s life, has no specific insurance code.
- Perceived efficiency. Relative to many businesses, O&P is low margin. Learning new techniques takes time and, at first, can be inefficient. And worse, when encumbered by a packed schedule, technicians are not eager to improve business strategy by spending extra time learning new techniques.
- Limited application of a powerful tool or resource. A new technology or tool might help overcome obvious challenges for a few patients, but to really make that technology reach the many who can benefit, the practitioner needs to re-envision and create additional ways to make use of the technology.
- The need to be useful in our community. Everyone longs to find our personal path to contribute to society by volunteering, donating, or contributing our talents in some way. Prosthetists often continue to see complex or difficult patients on a regular basis, despite not being reimbursed in many situations, or they may feel they are in a position to monitor the health of a patient who does not regularly see a physician. They assign value to this role because they are incredible humans and perhaps the most service-oriented healthcare workers. We assert that giving amputees a degree of self-sufficiency through the ability to self-adjust their device does not displace the practitioner’s value, it actually increases it.
Three Solutions Toward Success
- Be competitive within the market. In a market with multiple prosthetists and with customers’ willingness to go outside your market to find what they want, a successful prosthetist needs to offer something different—a mobile clinic option (Agile Orthopedics), online education (COSI Talks), or an innovative way for the patient to adjust fit themselves (Click Medical RevoFit), for example.
- Take a new approach with value analysis. Instead of billing for every add-on, prosthetists have found success in providing and marketing a premium feature for no charge. Every prosthesis is made adjustable. The prosthetist saves time from non-value-add patient visits, opening up time to do higher value work, reduce waste, seek reimbursement compensation, and contribute to the O&P community in new ways. Most importantly, the patient is happier with the product and service.
- Offer hands-on education and marketing support. Suppliers and manufacturers can help prosthetists adopt new approaches and technologies to improve their businesses by offering online education, virtual and in-person training sessions with clinicians and technicians, real-time support, and professional development credits to maintain licensure and certification.
Brian Simmons can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org