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A How-To Guide For Ot'S When Purchasing Equipment For Clients

purchasing guide for Occupational therapist and physiotherapists

Written by
Highgate Healthcare
Published on
December 13, 2021 4:12:14 PM PST December 13, 2021 4:12:14 PM PSTth, December 13, 2021 4:12:14 PM PST

New year, new you – that’s the saying right? Heading into the new year gives us a renewed sense of drive to chase our goals. This is usually a time when we try and do everything all at once. I know I’m guilty of trying to hit the gym, eat 100% clean and work harder than I ever have before. However, we know that this all-in approach rarely lasts. Let's not get trapped in this new year resolution illusion. Instead, how about turning your focus into increasing your skills and becoming the best OT you can be? Now that's a resolution I can get behind!

Whether you've been in the workforce for years, or this is your first year out of Uni, there is support out there to guide you towards providing the best service to your clients. That's why we've created our Back to Work Essentials Guide for OTs in Aged Care, Hospital and Disability. In this guide we discuss everything you need to know when purchasing equipment.

OT & Physio Essentials – Equipment Purchasing Guide for 2022

Helping occupational therapists gain the skills they need to be successful.

From discussions with many OTs across these disciplines, there are 5 things I have identified that are important to OTs when they’re in an equipment purchasing position.

• Time! OTs are busy and on-the-go

• Ability for their clients to trial and hire products

• Building strong relationships with providers

• Finding a provider that doesn't push the hard sell

• Easy access to product information

With these factors identified, we have created a how-to guide that addresses each of these value points. So, if you want to start 2022 off on the right foot, keep on reading!

How to save time as a busy OT or Physio

1) Scheduling

OT and Physios are busy people. Often travelling throughout the day and with limited time for appointments. Therefore, time management is non-negotiable. One way to ensure you’re optimising your time efficiently, is to schedule your week in advance. By speaking with the team at Highgate, we can assist with booking showroom and in-home appointments. When scheduling what patients to see on a given day, sorting visits via location is the best way to save time. Schedule a day’s worth appointments for your clients who live in the west and the same for north and so on.

2) Mobile showroom

Don’t have time to travel? That’s okay too! Highgate Healthcare now offer a mobile showroom service. We have transformed our truck into a showroom on wheels. Simply book a mobile showroom with one of our friendly product specialists, let them know what equipment you are interested in, and let us come to you. Step foot in our air-conditioned mobile showroom and trial the products with your client, or alternatively we can bring the equipment into their home.

3) Get it right the first time

One of the biggest time-savers for OTs is ensuring you’re prescribing the right equipment the first time. As an OT you know what is best for client and understand their needs inside out. Trusting your clinical justification is number one, then finding the correct provider is certainly the next priority. At Highgate our product specialists have had years of experience working with these products and know them like the back of their hands. Working with a specialist will help you to find equipment that suits your needs first time around. Another way to ensure your getting the perfect product is by trialling products that are highly configurable. This allows for incredible precision when fitting a client’s needs. This not only allows for a perfect fit but can allow for adjustments as the client’s needs change over time. Highgate Healthcare specialise in highly configurable products and are known for our popular products the Configura comfort and Configura Advance chairs.

4) Reduce waiting time

By now you have scheduled your week, you’ve had successful appointments with your provider, and now all that is left to do is wait for delivery. With some equipment providers this can be a frustrating process. That’s why with all our in stock products, you can expect delivery with a week of final approval. Another way we assist in making things quick and easy for you, is via our new text message service. Once the product has been delivered to your client, you will receive a text message notification. This will save follow-up time and keep you in the loop.

How to book a trial and hire when is each necessary?

Great service is something we take pride in here at Highgate Healthcare. And as a practical application of that, we offer our customers a chance to trial or hire products before making a purchase commitment. So how do you get started? Depending on your client’s needs, we can determine whether a trial or a hire process will be most suitable.

Product trial

We offer a 4-day free trial on our core range of products. By inquiring with our product specialists, we can determine if the product of interest is suitable for trial. Once all these details have been discussed, the OT will book a trial date via phone or email. On the trial date you will meet with the product specialist and your client at either the Highgate showroom, client’s home or in our new mobile showroom to get set up with the product. Once the trial is completed and signed, we will then deliver the products and set up a billing schedule where invoices are sent out fortnightly or monthly to the funding body.

Product Hire

If the client wishes to trial the product for more than 4 days, it will then be processed as a hire. Our Hires require a minimum of just two weeks, which is a lot less than some of our competitors. Hires can be a great option for an extended trial or used as a long-term replacement for a purchase. These types of hires are often used in a facility situation.

How to build strong relationships to make the purchase process simpler

Having healthy relationships in our personal life is essential for happiness and is something all are always striving to improve. So, there is no surprise that having strong professional relationships is vital to enhancing work performance and satisfaction. Speaking one-on-one with OTs has given me insight into the importance for OTs and physios to build strong, reliable relationships with their equipment providers. This not only creates a more pleasant experience but allows for easy access to information regarding your clients’ equipment needs. This in turn, saves time and gets your clients fitted with the appropriate equipment faster.

A great starting point is simply by calling Highgate with any product enquiries you may have, or just to say hello and learn more about the business. From there you’ll have a contact who you can call with any questions you have moving forward. Something that our product specialists pride themselves on is customer service. A big part of that is honouring your expertise as a health professional. Which is why we focus on presenting and recommending products that align with your clinical justification. Having open communication with your product specialist, about client needs as well as NDIS or other policy requirements, is the best way to ensure you’re getting presented with the best possible options.

How to avoid the hard sell

Building strong relationship with people from a reputable seller is a major part in avoiding the hard sell. So, what does this mean? What can the hard sell look like in practice? From speaking with OTs, this usually consists of the equipment provider pushing unnecessary products or add-ons that aren’t clinically necessary, therefore it becomes hard to justify for funding. This is especially hard when the client is present and can be swayed to these suggestions. This in turn, can put the OT in a difficult situation which can be tricky to navigate. That’s why at Highgate, we pride ourselves on understanding the OT justification and honouring it. We are here to make your jobs as easy as possible!

How to source product information quickly and easily.

So, we already know that building a solid relationship with your provider will give you immediate access to information. However, there are so many other avenues for OTs and Physios to get the information they need to help their clients. The Highgate Healthcare website is a great resource for everything you need to know about our products and services. We have recently updated our website to make it even easier to navigate. This includes the new feature which allows you to shop by brand. We list all our products on our website and have product brochures and user manuals which provide further product information.

Subscribing to the Highgate newsletter is a great way to get the latest product information as well as tips and tricks straight to your inbox. We make sure we don’t overload you with emails, and only deliver what we think you will benefit from.

Another way to keep on the top of the latest info, is via social media. We would love for you to you follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn. Another valuable group to be apart of is the Occupational Therapists Australia. It’s a paid membership which provides you with a huge amount of resources as well as a place to share information and ask questions. It is a great community and highly recommended.

Have your say!

We would love to hear your tips and tricks for working as OT. Our goal is to create a community for OTs to share experiences and learn from each other. If you found this guide useful or enjoyable to read, please get in contact with us here and send through your tips and tricks. If we receive enough responses, we will release an OT tips blog to share with you!

Good luck smashing your OT goals in 2022!