SANDWICH, MA – “In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” – Charles Darwin
Darwin has a host of quotes that are fascinating when read in the recent context of disruptive change within the HME sector, many dealing with adaptation and change as a means of survival…intriguing given what we have seen play out over the last 5-10 years.
The above quote is particularly interesting, focusing on collaboration and improvisation as a means of prevailing, i.e. winning, or in Darwinian terms, surviving.
Let’s start with improvisation; do the strategies of 10-20 years ago in HME have any merit today? Does the operating playbook from a pre-competitive bidding era hold many relevant instructions for today’s HME operator? Very little, and very few, I would argue.
We have been forced to improvise to survive—to make hard choices, uncomfortable decisions, and learn new skills while dealing with unprecedented reimbursement reductions and a host of new regulations (costs). It has not been easy, and for all too many it has not been possible.
Those who survived and developed effective change skills must continue to deploy those skills as the sector prepares for another round of bidding, new market entrants, and large providers who are moving faster than ever in a very dynamic M&A environment. Your ability to quickly analyze your market position and adjust for success will be critical. Technology will continue to play a crucial role in that adaptation (that’s a whole series of articles for another day).
Next, collaboration. As you work to adjust and adapt, there is no better resource than a well informed group of peers who have met some of these same challenges and fortified their businesses as a result of hard work, study, and experience. Building out an informal network of peers is essential during such turbulent times.
I know my own personal network within HME has been invaluable as we have adjusted our strategy and changed our focus. The ability to get a reality check from another leader you respect as you implement ideas is a reassuring part of the process and provides perspectives that lead to better outcomes.
Though the 21st century has provided us with seamless electronic communication options, there remains no better way to build a network than in a focused face-to-face environment, like the one Medtrade provides to the HME sector. Medtrade Spring is around the corner, March 3-5, and I hope to see you there for an opportunity to converse and collaborate. We will all be better for it.
I hope everyone had a successful 2019 and is prepared for another strong year in 2020. There will be no shortage of news for our sector, and for the first time in a long time there seems to be hope of some of that news being good. Here’s to a 2020 filled with success, fueled by improvisation and collaboration.
Gary Sheehan is the CEO of Cape Medical Supply, Inc., a sleep therapy focused provider in New England. He is a past winner of the Van G. Miller Homecare Champion Award and can be reached at email@example.com, or you can follow along on Twitter, @gmsheehan.