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Brightree offers cloud-based software that is used by HMEs to manage their business
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While most entrepreneurs want to be the one to discover the next Amazon or Twitter, oftentimes major technological shifts are coming from the big companies, the players that have been on the scene for years, if not decades. Those companies have survived because they know how to pivot. They're the ones who either seed new ideas or acquire them and distribute them.
In this column, we talk to those companies and their innovators who are preparing them for what's coming.
In our latest interview, we spoke to Matt Mellott, CEO of Brightree, a ResMed company that works with out-of-hospital care organizations, providing solutions and services for thousands of organizations in home medical equipment and pharmacy, home health, hospice, orthotic and prosthetic, home infusion, and rehabilitation home care.
Mellott has over 25 years of progressive experience in the healthcare industry as an accomplished senior operational and financial professional in a wide range of healthcare environments. These include home health, home medical equipment, hospice, infusion therapy, skilled nursing facilities, physician practice management and sleep disorder diagnostic testing.
Prior to his current role leading Brightree, he served as President of MedBridge Healthcare, a sleep disorder diagnostic testing and respiratory therapy provider that he co-founded in 2004.
VatorNews: Give me the high level about Brightree. What problem are you solving and what is your solution?
Matt Mellott: Brightree has been around for over 15 years now, providing solutions to the post-acute care market, which if you’re unfamiliar, is focused on the patient care that takes place out of the hospital, typically after an acute encounter has occurred. Our solutions include a cloud-based software and related services that are used by home medical equipment providers, or HMEs, and home-infusion providers to manage their businesses.
In terms of what we’re solving for, I’d say it’s the complexity involved in being a healthcare provider in today’s environment. Our solutions focus on simplifying complex workflows, providing operational efficiencies, improving patient outcomes and, importantly, as you can imagine, helping our customers get paid for the services they provide. Really, our software is their business management solution, helping our customers run their business from intake of a patient all the way to getting a claim out the door and getting paid.
VN: What kind of ROI do customers see from using your service? Do you calculate any kind of patient outcomes?
MM: We’re more on the administrative side of running a medical equipment or home infusion business, so the ROI associated with our software and services historically has been focused on operational efficiency, the ability to do more tasks with less employees, or the ability to scale business without adding additional employees.
On all of our modules, and even our business management solution (our core product), we’re able to deliver a very good ROI from the efficiency our customers will gain from use of our software.
In the past two years now, though, we have an increasing focus on tools that help our customers grow revenue. A lot of our customers are selling supplies to patients and use call centers, texting or solutions for automating calls to patients. Helping improve the efficiency of those patient engagement solutions and helping our customers manage large patient population bases for the sake of resupply allows providers to grow their revenue; the ROI is strong in those scenarios as well.
VN: Do you have any hard numbers you could share in terms of how customers have grown their revenue?
MM: ROI varies by customer and the modules they’re using. But for example, with our overall business management solution, customers on average increase their net revenue by 15%; reduce the number of days to confirm/bill orders by up to 10 days; lower their Days Sales Outstanding by 7%; and realize the lowest claim denial in the industry. These improvements represent major operational efficiencies and allow our customers to get paid for the services they provide, and ultimately grow their business, faster.
VN: How have you seen the in-home health market change in recent years? What is driving the opportunity?
MM: The trend we’re seeing is more and more care provided in the home, which used to be in an institutional setting, whether that’s a hospital or a skilled nursing facility. That shift to the home has been driven by technology advances, but also proven care protocols that say, “You really can treat this patient and take care of them in their home.” There’s more of a focus using technology and those care protocols to drive patient outcomes.
A patient will also almost always choose to be cared for in the comfort of their home if that really is an option. And, it’s much more cost effective. Our customers, the HMEs and the home infusion providers, are playing a critical role in that in-home health market, and it’s incumbent on Brightree to bring the innovation and the tools they need to be able to administer that care. Not so much the clinical tools, but the administrative and business management tools that allow them to scale their businesses and effectively serve those patients.
VN: You were acquired by ResMed almost four years ago. How has having them as your parent company benefitted Brightree? What’s changed for you since then?
MM: I joined Brightree after it was acquired by ResMed, about three and half years ago now. Being part of the ResMed family has been great for Brightree. ResMed and Brightree share many of the same customers; both are selling products and solutions in the home medical equipment market, so we both appreciate the challenges that HMEs face in this ever-changing healthcare environment.
We’ve focused on innovations such as integrating ResMed device clinical data into the Brightree software platform, which helps improve operational efficiencies. We’ve had great opportunities for that type of integration and collaboration. ResMed is also well known for its connected care capabilities; we’re able to tap into their extensive resources as we work to be more connected, or get our customers more connected, to the general healthcare ecosystem. And, finally, ResMed's commitment to innovation is huge, and they completely understand and encourage us to make the necessary investments to support that high level of innovation. It’s great for Brightree to be under a company that supports investment and innovation in such a way.
VN: Can you go into more detail about the integration with ResMed devices?
MM: ResMed’s devices, primary CPAP and BiPAP devices for sleep and respiratory conditions, all collect patient data: data around the device usage, as well as data on efficacy to determine if that therapy is truly helping the patient. ResMed (and its competitors) offer software solutions to help providers track all of that information, but it’s a software solution that is separate from Brightree. Being able to integrate those two platforms means customers can access critical clinical data through Brightree.
Our real goal is to have our customers work in Brightree as much as they can and be able to easily access that data, whether it’s to check up on a patient to see how they’re doing on their device; to get a report summarizing the data necessary to get an authorization from an insurance company for additional months rental of a device; or to get authorization for supplies for that patient. The ability for our customers to get data when they need it is key, and not be hindered by having to live in two separate systems.
VN: By having that integration, what kind of benefit have your customers seen?
MM: That is truly an operational efficiency benefit, in one part from not having to operate in two different systems. Also, we do sync a lot of information into our software such as demographics data. We can enroll patients into those clinical systems through Brightree. When our customer, the HME provider, puts a patient on CPAP therapy, they can use Brightree to load and set the patient up in that clinical monitoring software. The benefits are really around not having to enter data twice, the efficiency you get from that, as well the ability to access data you need throughout caring for the patient, as well as getting paid for the care that they’re providing.
VN: Last year launched Brightree Pharmacy. How does that product work and how is that product different from what you previously offered?
MM: The launch in March was a significant step forward we’d taken in launching our pharmacy home infusion product. Prior to that, I’d say we had dabbled in the space; we offered just enough capabilities for our home medical equipment providers who happened to do some pharmacy or home infusion. But in March of 2019, we launched a product that can be used by standalone pharmacy home infusion operators.
The software is focused on patient intake, verifying insurance information, managing the logistics of getting products and services to a patient’s home, and billing and collecting. Some of the work is very similar, but working with IV drugs and having a pharmacist as part of the operational workflow is what’s different. Those are the aspects of our new solution targets. We released that in March of 2019 and it has been very well received by the home infusion market so far.
VN: Why was pharmacy an area that you were interested in? What’s the opportunity that you see there?
MM: It was a natural adjacent for us. Many of our HME customers also do pharmacy or home infusion work as well, so that’s what caught our interest a couple of years ago. It was a market that we decided to double down on, invest in more heavily, and actually bring a solution to the market that could be used by home infusion providers who may not be in the home medical equipment space.
VN: I want to talk about your acquisition of SnapWorx in January. What was it about the company that made you want to buy them? And how will they be incorporated into Brightree going forward?
MM: SnapWorx has a resupply solution called SNAP, which helps HME providers optimize their CPAP resupply operations. SNAP was a competing software to our Brightree ReSupply solution, but it also has capabilities complementary to what Brightree offers. Those include call center workflow tools, which support HMEs who have their own live call centers contacting patients about getting new supplies. In addition, it has automated document retrieval capabilities; one of the big pain points for our customers and HME providers overall is getting the documentation they need to provide supplies to patients. What I mean by that is, many times you need a new doctor prescription every year and/or you may need to get authorization from insurance to provide those supplies, so the more you can automate that workflow, the better, and SNAP has done a very good job of that.
We’re excited to bring those capabilities into the Brightree ReSupply portfolio. They’re going to greatly benefit many of our customers and they are complementary to the functions and capabilities we have in Brightree ReSupply already.
VN: What do you look for in the company when you do these acquisitions? What are the qualities you need to see to want to buy them?
MM: Number 1: is it serving the same customer base? After that, would Brightree be a better owner of it? We have to look ourselves in the mirror and make sure it makes sense to bring in another company as a part of Brightree and that when you combine what that company does with what Brightree does, we are making something larger than the sum of both parts. SnapWorx is a “tuck-in acquisition;” it had a competing solution to something we were doing already, but also has some unique capabilities that we believe are complementary. There have been other times we’ve done acquisitions because we wanted to get more control of the solution’s development roadmap, or we wanted to do a deeper integration with someone we were already partnering with. Those are some examples of the type of companies and partnerships that are attractive to us.
VN: The SnapWorx acquisition was about going deeper into CPAP resupply. What are some other areas that Brightree would like to expand into next? What is Brightree not in currently but you’d like to be in?
MM: One area we’re watching closely is “value-based healthcare,” where providers are getting paid more and more for positive patient outcomes. They’re really making a difference for patients and proving that, at the end of the day, patients have gotten better from the technology or services that were provided to them.
Value-based care has been slow to come to the home medical equipment industry, but it’s coming. That’s a new area we’re looking at: where can we provide the tools that help our customers interact with payers who are looking at these types of reimbursement models? It may have to do with providers having to take on a population of patients, or a group, and need the ability to manage those differently within Brightree than other patients. The ability to provide data back to the payer on those patients will be important, especially if it’s data they maybe haven’t had to provide in the past. Looking at all a customer would need to have that conversation with the payer, secure that business from a payer, and provide all the reporting back that the payer – those are the capabilities that we’re starting to look at.
VN: Where do you see in-home health going next? How would you like to help get it there?
MM: As I mentioned earlier, more and more care is taking place in the home; more medically complex patients are now receiving care in the home, and that places very unique challenges on our customers. At Brightree, we want to play our role in fueling that trend and doing so by making sure our customers have the capabilities and related services they need to thrive in that environment. While many of those solutions are going to be clinical in nature, we’re always thinking about clinical solutions we could integrate with Brightree and about addressing new administrative challenges, like those around delivering and maintaining a device in the home, collecting signatures in the home from the patient, and tracking data. Those are areas Brightree can help solve. We have a rich analytics platform, Brightree Advanced Analytics, which layers on top of Brightree, and has access to data and can compile data to help in that world. This platform will also be helpful to our customers as they need to consume and utilize more data than they ever have before when dealing with more complex patients in the home.
VN: What will success look like for Brightree?
MM: Success for us is enabling our customers to enter into the new things happening in healthcare, and offering the solutions they need to do so. It really is a continuation of what we’ve done in the past, which is helping providers’ boost operational efficiency. I don't think there’s any healthcare provider getting paid more for their services than they were a year ago; reimbursment typically goes down. We really need to be focused on efficiencies. Success is continuing to find ways and using automation, to take cost and friction out of their business processes. The other way to win would be continuing to deliver solutions that also help providers grow revenue. If we can do those two things, and do our best to keep our customers and future customers healthy in this environment of declining reimbursement, that is the big win.
VN: Is there anything else I should know?
MM: HMEs provide a broad range of services; some are very narrowly focused, and some provide many medical products you can use in the home. Our customers range from a two-person operation in a small town to large national corporations that service the entire U.S. The type of equipment they provide includes oxygen equipment, CPAP devices, beds, walkers and wheelchairs, but we also have many customers that provide supplies for patients, including CPAP supplies or supplies for diabetic and incontinence patients for example. You can imagine that the tools and systems these providers need to run their businesses, which may involve mailing thousands of supplies to a patient each month, is very different than providers who are putting expensive power mobility wheelchairs on a patient. That's what Brightree is able to do well. We’re meeting the needs of the HME with innovation to be successful in whatever particular business line they’re in.
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