The US’s home medical equipment (HME) market is expected to grow in the upcoming years. According to the Allied Market Research, its size is projected to nearly double from $11.6 billion in 2019 to $20.4 billion by 2027. The same is true about the durable medical equipment (DME) market, which is expected to grow from $53.6 billion in 2021 to $92.8 billion in 2030, Grand View Research says. The HME/DME industry will be one of the fastest-growing markets due to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift in healthcare towards a hospital-to-home model. Increased demand for a variety of home medical equipment products, from oxygen to incontinence and mobility products, will see ongoing growth as the US population continues to age.
The Business of Independent Pharmacies
One of the main distribution channels of HME is retail pharmacies. Over 60,000 locations are registered in the US. Most of them are focused mainly on prescription drugs and over-the-counter products. Many of these pharmacies consider HME and DME a “secondary” business. But what if this segment can bring much more value to pharmacies than it does now?
The traditional business of retail pharmacies involves filling prescriptions and selling consumer goods like toiletries and ancillary items. Oftentimes these pharmacies serve as a vital part of their local communities helping patients manage acute conditions, offering flu shots, and most recently, playing a critical role during the COVID pandemic in administering vaccines.
The relationships local pharmacies establish with their customers drive engagement, utilization, and retention while offering an intimate and personalized approach to patient care.
So why, when it comes to HME and DME products, do patients and referral sources not turn to these pharmacies to support the need for home medical equipment products? Why is it that many of these pharmacies who have these patients in their stores routinely simply do not offer products such as respiratory, diabetic, incontinence, or mobility items? The answer is that the complexity involved with the logistics, billing, and documentation can be overwhelming and, if not properly managed, can lead to loss of profitably and audits.
HME / DME Adds Value and Revenue
Imagine if a patient walked into a pharmacy and wanted CPAP-related equipment and supplies. Maybe they needed incontinence products or ongoing diabetic testing management. With a few clicks, orders could be filled, and patients could be put on automated resupply programs, and insurance claims filed with insurance companies? Sounds simple, right – well, it probably could be if the suitable systems were in place to handle these workflows.
If pharmacies apply the same approach to home medical equipment as they do to current product offerings, patient satisfaction will increase, and so will profits. With the right approach to this non-core business, HME/DME can increase stores’ revenue by over 25%.
Implementing the right HME/DME software like NikoHealth can be a step toward an expanded HME/DME product offering while effectively handling logistics, inventory, and order fulfillment, including drop-shipping and billing.
The business of HME/DME aligns perfectly with the core pharmacies’ business and generates additional profit if the right systems are in place.
This will bring big relief to all of us. We won’t need to chase doctors anymore and delay all billing decisions. And, of course, post-payment audit risks will be reduced significantly.
Thanks for the analysis. This market looks really promising for the retail pharmacy field. The only thing left is really a good solution for streamlining all operations.
I haven’t looked at the ways of increasing revenues in the pharmaceutical market from this standpoint. Sounds interesting.