New Year’s resolution healthcare won’t regret: CX/EX investment

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Let’s face it, annual budget planning can be a challenge for many businesses whose expectations for growth in revenue and margin are high. The medical supply industry is no different.

While there is clearly opportunity for growth to support our aging community and chronic disease states, it takes the right combination of people, processes, and technology to bring it all together.  

In my 15 years of annual numbers-crunching and forecasting for the healthcare sector, I’ve experienced a few epiphanies. While the budget-planning odyssey is littered with so many no-win scenarios that it can become paralyzing, the good news is that solid strategic options are within reach. Bonus: they’re actually rooted in reality.

Whether you’re privately owned, publicly traded, or under a private equity arrangement, it’s vital your 2023 budget includes a line item for investment in customer/employee experience.

The annual budget planning exercise usually plunges us into review of countless spreadsheets. Often, we put the entire burden of revenue growth on sales, pressuring them to achieve unattainable goals.

Instead, let’s consider a few questions as the new year looms:

What are you doing to improve the patient experience?

This can be a very hairy question when dealing with outdated or out-of-the-box revenue cycle management (RCM) systems and resource constraints. You may feel like your options are limited and that it would take an amazing business case to justify investments that can improve the employee and patient experience.

That may not be true.

The real question is: Can you afford not to invest in your patients and employees?

Studies show there’s a direct correlation between investment in the experience and the success and longevity of today’s business. In fact, organizations that made CX digital transformation a business priority reported 3x higher revenue growth than those that didn’t, according to an IBM Institute for Business Value report that polled 400 U.S. executives. One of our clients saw an $800,000 surge in net revenue after a CX improvement pilot we led.

How do you match up? Attrition among patients and employees is notoriously high. Whether you like it or not, patients expect mail order medical suppliers to deliver an Amazon-like experience. We all know this isn’t realistic, given the resources it takes to process and deliver an order.

Can you improve the experience and drive retention as a result?

I think so, especially if you partner with a customer experience leader. Find one that’s technology-agnostic and has access to all the digital tools healthcare needs to improve operations, patient experience and the bottom line. 

CX designers will want to explore three topics with you:

  • What type of workforce management (WFM) tools do you use to maximize scheduling and forecasting of your production staff? With rising wages and a remote workforce, it’s essential to fully leverage the resources you have.
  • Have you conducted a workforce intelligence/robotic process automation (WFI/RPA) pilot? There’s amazing technology out there that can even pair with your old RCM to reveal valuable insights about your operation and find areas to improve. It’s essential to automate and ship orders faster.
  • Be prepared to share your process maps. This is vital to understanding your organization’s strengths, weaknesses and areas that can be improved. Proper analysis and journey mapping can help you streamline process and technology to enhance the experience and set proper expectations for delivery.

People are vital to your success

As a medical supply provider, production staff makes up a huge portion of your overhead. The Great Resignation has made it difficult to find reliable employees and wages are on the rise. Your profits are being further strained due to stagnant reimbursement and increased shipping costs. What levers do you have to pull? Outsourcing a portion of your staffing can be a huge win to the bottom line, the patient and employee experience.

Leading business process outsourcers (BPOs) are adept at using the latest technology to manage a remote workforce, allowing you to cast a wider net for your talent pool. Not only can BPOs locate, hire, and train resources quickly to bolster your KPIs, but they optimize performance and quality. When compliant with your payer contracts, sourcing a portion of your talent offshore provides a lower cost structure, allowing you to meet rising demand, improve order turnaround and ease the overall strain on your business and employees.

Does that sound like a solution worth exploring for 2023? 

Listen, we know Rome was not built in a day and neither was your business. Connection to the right people with the right knowledge and tools can deliver amazing wins that will impact your bottom line—in the best way.