Welcome to the first installment of our new Q&A with the expert series. In these articles, we question experts about a wide variety of topics related to their respective fields, such as why they chose their line of work, appropriate use cases for specific types of equipment, relevant industry news, and more.
For this Q&A, we interviewed Mary Maloy, R.N., a Balance Technology Specialist at e3 Diagnostics. In the interview, she answers questions about how she got into the field of balance technology, why a healthcare facility or physical therapy practice should invest in a balance system, the best ways to secure funding for balance technology, and much more.
Read on to see the full interview:
1. How did you become interested in balance?
I had a career as a nurse in the ICU and had established a very nice working relationship with physical therapists as we shared patient care. But is wasn’t until I was involved in a very severe auto accident in 1994 and became a patient in need of balance treatment that I realized that balance would be my area of specialization. I have been involved in establishing balance centers of excellence for 20 years. I was a specialist for the NeuroCom balance products.
2. What are some reasons a healthcare facility or physical therapy practice would invest in a balance system?
In many communities, comprehensive balance services are rare, leaving patients with balance problems with a frustrating lack of options for effective assessment and treatment. Addressing these needs provides an opportunity for providers. Financial performance is always considered. Clinicians invest in balance systems to achieve several benefits that a balance program offers. These include differentiation within their community, new incremental patients to their program and developing additional referrals. A satisfied patient will refer others, and that is the basis for growth of an effective balance program. A happy patient is the best marketing tool any provider can have. Meeting the Joint Commission’s evidence-based care requirements with quantitative norm-referenced assessment and treatment documentation from balance system technology is essential for today’s clinicians.
3. I want to try to add balance system technology to my practice. Isn’t a return on investment ROI critical to my success in securing funding?
Financial performance is always considered. With balance problems that analysis must include the value of the overall program. Healthcare providers are looking for innovative approaches resulting in program differentiation. With balance systems, healthcare providers are looking for better outcomes and innovative approaches for program differentiation. Executives focus on the overall performance and growth potential verses a limited line-by-line analysis.
4. Can you address patient compliance as a factor in adding balance systems?
Missed clinical appointments are costly to providers, and inconsistent compliance with appointments and home exercise programs lead to diminished revenue and sub optimal results. Because balance interfere with all aspects of daily life, balance patients are usually very motivated to do what is needed to get better. Clinicians tell me that their patients are more compliant with their treatment plan, including scheduled appointments and assigned home exercise.
5. If you do not focus on ROI, what is the best approach for a clinician to add technology to their balance program?
Working together, a strong case can be built to justify an investment into a program rather than a clinician trying to justify the cost of a single piece of equipment. Prior to a financial discussion, the technology consultant and the clinicians should have agreement as to the needs and goals of the program and how the program proposed addresses those needs. Everyone wins when there is a well-equipped balance center.
6. What are your thoughts adding technology to small physical therapy practices in a large city or to a hospital in a very small city?
Both of those examples are excellent candidates for balance centers of excellence. These facilities use highly specialized programs to differentiate their care from other providers and to retain and attract patients within their community. Delivering good outcomes in one specialized area of care raises the profile and reputation of the facility. That in turn can result in greater utilization of other services and programs that the hospital or private practice offers.
7. Are there any closing thoughts you would like to leave with us today regarding balance technology?
Balance technology provides the best available assessment of complex problems as well as unique treatment options. It allows the clinician to collect quantitative patient data to be used to improve treatment strategies and quantify treatment progress. Adding balance technology is of benefit to the clinician, the patient, and the program.