Allergies, Asthma, and Where Does the HME Provider Fit In?
It’s official — pollen season has begun across the U.S.! The trees have started to bloom, the flowers have begun to blossom, and if you have allergies, you probably have a love/hate relationship with spring. The beautiful weather tempts you to go outside, but once you’re out there, you’re sniffling, sneezing, wheezing and have red, itchy eyes, right?
You may not know that allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States.
How to Cope with Allergies?
Physicians caring for patients who suffer from allergies suggest the following few simple things to help survive spring allergy season:
- Limit your outdoor exposure to pollen — the pollen count is higher on dry, windy days that carry the pollen through the air, while rainy days wash away the allergens, lowering the pollen count
- Limit indoor exposure to pollen. Shower at night to remove the pollen from your skin and hair before you go to bed
- Look into using an air purifier and make sure your home’s air filters are clean
- Wash your sheets weekly in hot water
- Dust weekly with a wet mop or cloth to avoid spreading pollen into the air
There are several over-the-counter allergy medications that offer relief for a runny nose, red itchy eyes, and scratchy throat. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, allergies and asthma can sometimes occur together, or allergies can cause allergy-induced asthma. This is very common in pediatrics.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that 6.3 million children suffer from asthma, and that children represent nearly half of those hospitalized for asthma.
As a result, the number of HME providers offering nebulizer closet programs has increased.
How Can You, HME Provider, Turn This to Your Advantage?
As more and more hospitals and physician offices continue to look for ways to reduce inventory and costs, the opportunity arises for HME providers to service them. These closet programs can be advantageous in many ways. Having inventory in their facility or practice will allow the clinicians to immediately provide their patients with nebulizers as well as do the training needed to maximize compliance and efficacy.
Another benefit that you as HME provider can offer is handling the required paperwork for insurance filing. Hospitals and physician offices are inundated with paperwork that HMEs are already accustomed to, so providing a solution for that can be a value added.
Be the Product Expert
It is also important that you, the HME provider, position yourself as the product expert. While the clinicians know what these products are for, they may not be up to date on which products are available and their benefits. A pediatric hospital recently began using the Neb-U-Tyke Neb-A-Doodle Nebulizer because they were intrigued by its uniqueness. Its child-friendly design with a drawing board could keep a child entertained, and so the facility felt it could help with compliance and make their patients feel more at ease during treatment.
As providers continue to look for ways to diversify their business and hospitals look for ways to minimize costs and keep patient care at home and out of the hospital, we will continue to see more opportunities for providers and healthcare professionals to partner together and provide quality care for the patient. One patient, one treatment at a time.
Cynthia Counts is Vice President of Product Management & Homecare SBU at Graham-Field.
About GF Health Products, Inc.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with more than 300 US-based employees, GF Health Products, Inc. is a major manufacturer of healthcare products for the acute care, extended care, homecare and primary care markets. The Graham-Field family of brands includes Basic American Medical Products, Everest & Jennings, Grafco, Hausted, John Bunn, Labtron, Lumex and Lumiscope. Visit www.grahamfield.com or call 770-368-4700. ® GF Health Products, Inc., all rights reserved.