I imagine it’s the same in other industries—December in DME can be a hectic, scatterbrained race to the finish. (“The finish” in this case being the end of the year). Financially speaking, it’s a time to try to maximize earnings and pad the bottom line, wrapping up billing cycles and completing tasks to prepare financially for the new year. Patient/customers that have met their deductible are anxious trying to consume healthcare before a new deductible cycle begins. December 31st is the end of a quarter, the end of a month, and the end of the year and there’s two major holidays –Christmas and New Year to work around. Staff wants to spend time with their families. And of course, company holiday parties abound.
Topics: Employee Training, Personnel Files, Billing, HQAA Accreditation, Process Improvement, Materials Management, Showroom, Delivery, Warehouse, Customer Service, Disaster Preparedness, Emergencies, Business Practices, Infection Control, DMEPOS
DME owners and managers often cite quality improvement (QI) and/or performance improvement (PI) as one of the most difficult concepts to understand and one of the most difficult programs to implement within their businesses. And industry consultants and surveyors find the so-called QI Standards some of the most frequently cited standards for deficiencies and recommendations, and one of the areas in which they spend the most consultative time educating companies.
Calendar year is a very predictable January 1-December 31 each year. With very few exceptions, this is “the year” and most folks say “Happy New Year” on January 1st. The exception to that is in the world of business—where there are arcane and unusual, but well thought out, differences and exceptions.
During that little pandemic thing we dealt with 2020-2022, our structure, processes, and even values changed in many ways. It can be argued that many of these changes made us stronger, more flexible, and more efficient. Think of things like teleconferencing for meetings, billers working from home, porch drop off deliveries, and virtual equipment set up/instruction. We, as an industry, were pretty resilient. Some of the changes however were generally perceived to be negatives. For instance: we lost in-person customer service skills. Good, bad, or indifferent, our industry adapted to these changes quickly. In some cases, it’s safe to say we’re never going back.
A woman in the grocery store who happened to be in line in front of me realized an item she was buying from the frozen food section was past its expiration date by about a month. She came to this realization perusing her items and just in time to bring it to the check-out clerk’s attention. The clerk admitted she didn’t realize frozen food even HAD an expiration date, and called a stock boy over to replace the item. The woman turned to me to apologize for the delay and said something about how the quality control in the store wasn’t what it used to be.
2023. We’re twenty-three years into the new millennium. Medicare is close to sixty years old. Time is marching on quickly—relentlessly, some would say. New Year’s Eve parties continue the great tradition of partying into the wee hours, ringing in the New Year with a toast, and getting up January 1st with a renewed optimism, a positive outlook on life, and a list of resolutions to improve. You might say it is a great example of continuous quality improvement.
Topics: Employee Training, Security, Quality Improvement, Renewing Accreditation, Compliance, Process Improvement, Materials Management, Showroom, Retail, Warehouse, Work, Disaster Preparedness, Business Practices, Marketing, Equipment
In early November, each year, our minds turn to Thanksgiving. No surprise that Thanksgiving ranks as one of many American’s favorite holidays. It’s a time of positive reflection, a time to literally give thanks for all the blessings in our lives, and the gateway to the triumvirate of important holidays (Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s Day). And then there’s the food: a grand feast of turkey, ham, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, rolls, and pecan and pumpkin pie. For many people, it’s a glorious four-day weekend of eating, watching football games, visiting with family and friends, and reflection on the past year.
Nobody wants to have a customer complain about any aspect of their business. Complaints are negative feedback, indicative of an unhappy customer, and generally a bad thing. They can be harsh or mild, constructive or destructive, fair or unfair, deserved or not deserved. But at the core of any customer complaint, there is feedback about a customer experience, or at least their perception of that experience. And this information and feedback can be a treasure trove of information to use to improve the customer experience, your internal processes, and how your organization does business.
Statistics vary, but a general rule of thumb is that 35-45% of all new employees will leave the company that hires them within two years. One piece of the data that is consistent is that the rule of thumb applies to all industries and sectors, high wage earners and workers making minimum wage, young and old, male and female. That statistic should stun managers, supervisors, and business owners and should serve as a “call to arms” encouraging companies to study how they hire and orient new employees to their jobs.
New Year’s Day --with its resolutions, new beginnings, and fresh start attitude-- is a perfect time of year to reflect on continuous improvement and making ourselves better as not only individuals, but as companies set up to serve the public and our customers. It is also a good time to review ways to improve our bottom line, our operational efficiencies, our general attitude, and our business practices. This sometimes requires revisiting mistakes from our past, things we did wrong, and looking at how we’ve improved them. Deficiencies from our past surveys are certainly a worthwhile thing to look at it in an effort to improve.