New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Fri, Jan 12, 2024 @ 09:27 AM


When the ball dropped at the stroke of midnight January 1 this year, did you make any resolutions? Most people do—sometimes a new diet, an exercise program (January 1st is traditionally the busiest day in a gym!), a more responsible financial plan, or some version of “be a better person” by saying something nice to a new person every day or trying to bestow a compliment on a stranger.

Every year in this blog, we try to at least mention resolutions and focus on the theme of starting the New Year off right. Just like the end of the year is a great time to review the past year and put together a plan, the first part of the year is a new, fresh start and an opportunity to focus on where you are heading as you go forward.

In the last few weeks during a flurry of surveys, consulting visits, and conversations with DME owners and managers, I asked organizations if they had any resolutions for 2024. The responses were pretty consistent. Some were exactly what I’d suspected; others were a bit of surprise. It’s not a scientific survey by any calculus, but here’s the top responses:

  • Resolve to invest more in employees: Several organizations voiced the idea that they planned on investing more in their staff. This took the form of both pay raises and higher rates for current employees and also hiring more people. Several of the organizations complained about trying to get along with less staff since the pandemic, and said they see the need to “staff up” back to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Resolve to upgrade technology: Several used the word “upgrade”, but others referred to it more as embracing technology by investing in new programs. At least two different organizations I spoke with plan on looking for better, more user-friendly billing software. A few were studying the possibility of tracking/delivery logistics software. Surprisingly, these weren’t huge companies, but small to medium sized businesses.
  • Resolve to consider/add additional services and products: Several organizations are actively looking for bigger locations in higher traffic neighborhoods. They plan on adding and emphasizing retail, cash sales. Several were considering adding clinical services to make their company more marketable. One business was actually planning on incorporating a large-scale study of products and profitability into their Performance Improvement program, hoping to find a venture to improve their slightly sagging bottom line.
  • Resolve to discontinue services and products that are no longer profitable: The flip side of #3. More than one company voiced displeasure about reimbursement cuts. They plan on phasing out product and service lines.
  • Resolve to get involved in the community “again”: Two organizations waxed poetic about the “good ole days” and how active and involved they were in the medical community. Reimbursement cuts, rules and regulation regarding marketing, and the pandemic all seemed to conspire to keep us from any activities that kept us in front of referral sources. Both were planning on adding additional marketing staff and budgeting for some good, old fashioned marketing sales calls. Several also voiced concern that they missed the intrinsic joy of being involved in medical support groups, and the greater medical community as a whole. They vowed to try to visit physician practices, hospital discharge planners, social workers, pulmonary and cardiac rehab facilities, and any other medical businesses that were open and up for a visit.
  • Resolve to decrease carbon footprints and be a good steward of the environment: Organizations mention that they need to replace gas guzzling delivery vehicles with smaller, sleeker, more efficient vehicles. They also plan on evaluating heating/cooling their offices and warehouses. One company even was starting a recycling program for their business and also employees.
  • Resolve to embrace “wellness”: Along the lines of the New Year’s diets and exercise programs, quite a few organizations were planning on supporting staff wellness in a variety of ways. A hospital-based place was allowing employees free access and even financial incentives to get involved in after (or before) work yoga and fitness programs. They reasoned that employee’s health was well worth the investment and would pay off in less time off for sickness.
  • Resolve to have more fun together: Finally, a relatively consistent theme I heard makes me optimistic about our industry’s future. The theme centered around having more fun. An organization mentioned taking time three or four times a year to have a company party. One owner was committing to bring in lunch and putting the “Back in One Hour” sign on his door so he could bond in a positive way with staff. Another owner bemoaned the fact that their organization had abandoned the annual “corporate retreat” in 2020 and never started it back up. Are there challenges in this industry? Absolutely. But we’ve chosen a caring profession. Now, in these challenging times more than ever, our motivations to work in this industry need to revolve about helping our patient/customers. Many organizations are reminding themselves about these motivations, focusing on the positive, and redoubling efforts to make a difference in their communities. That strikes me as the most important resolution. I hope more of us focus on that in 2024.



Topics: Employee Training, Billing, Showroom, Retail, Customer Service, Business Practices, Marketing, Equipment