Whether they’re elderly, disabled, injured, or some combination thereof, many transit riders rely on non-emergency medical transit (NEMT) to manage their healthcare. As a key opportunity to serve riders better, agencies like yours are gradually trying to accommodate these needs, but it takes work.
One way to make things easier? Managing your services with the right NEMT software. But how do you choose? Explore Ecolane’s four best practices for selecting NEMT software.
Do your due diligence.
Take the time to do your due diligence. It’s important to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and why you’re implementing new transit software in the first place. NEMT software should solve the most basic transit agency challenges. It should:
If your current routing processes are less than ideal, the right software can redirect you. NEMT software can make assignment suggestions based on your unique criteria and map out the fastest route based on external factors such as traffic, weather, or accidents. With these routing features in hand, your agency can maximize its efficiency and save time.
You’re probably well aware that NEMT billing is complicated. Your agency has to collect information from each trip, assign rates and codes, and compile it all into appropriate forms before you submit it to the broker or the correct state department. The good news is that if you choose the right NEMT software, it can automate rates and billing codes, saving time and reducing human error.
Who do you work with? Your NEMT software must be able to help you manage all types of trips, whether that means coordinating with insurance companies, health plans, medical facilities, or day programs. At the very least, you probably work closely with brokers, so the software you choose must integrate with them to share information and transfer trips into your own system, improving planning, saving time, and boosting efficiency.
With these key pieces in mind, you can compare how different platforms solve them.
Look for robust customer support.
Win-win-win: The software you choose should have your back before, during, and after implementation. After all, the best software in the world isn’t worth much if you don’t know how to use it or don’t have the tools to leverage it to its max. Take the steps to explore how different solutions provide customer support.
Learn what implementation entails.
How will your NEMT software provider support implementation? During your research and initial conversations, find out what the provider is responsible for and what your agency might be expected to do. Also discuss the overall timeline. You might discover that their process isn’t a fit. In this case, address this early and move on if you can’t make the match work.
Look for continuous training.
Getting up and running isn’t the only piece of the puzzle. Your agency also needs to be able to lean on the software team, whether it’s to work out stumbling blocks or to train new hires. Your NEMT software provider should provide training opportunities so the team can learn the system and use it the best way possible. And if they only offer virtual training, it’s probably best to move on. Hands-on training with a pro makes all the difference.
Get post-implementation support.
Have a question or need to troubleshoot an issue? Your chosen provider should be available. You’ll get the most out of your NEMT software investment if you prioritize selecting a provider with dedicated resources to oversee your success and professionals who can step in if critical issues arise.
Select based on suitability.
Think about your operation: Is it big, small, or somewhere in between? The bigger your fleet, the more rigorous your software needs to be. To this end, consider how viable a particular solution is for your business needs, and ask a few questions:
Can the software scale with you?
As you grow, your NEMT software will need to accommodate more and more data. Look for a provider that not only provides the tools you need now but can also build custom add-ons to match your scope.
What does reporting entail?
Beyond helping to deliver efficiency and excellence to customers, by automating your operation, your NEMT software needs to provide data to enable you to keep doing so. Your provider’s reporting system should offer accurate and reliable data to optimize for your goals, including:
- Trips per driver
- Trips with specific vehicle requirements
- Compliance monitoring to provide audit readiness
Think beyond the initial contract.
Once you’re close to sealing the deal on an NEMT software solution, don’t get fooled by puppy love. Introductory pricing and discounts might be perks to start with, but you’re looking for a long-term solution. Keep your agency grounded by finding out what your relationship and costs will look like over time and by determining the total cost of ownership or ROI.
Clarify what the price includes.
Don’t be surprised by any aspect of pricing. Ask key questions before you sign the contract to get a clearer picture of your investment:
- Are training, support, and maintenance also available?
- Is the software priced per revenue vehicle or by total vehicles per fleet?
- Are the maintenance terms static, or will there be an annual increase?
- Will there be product cost increases, and how will they be handled over your contract term?
Of course, there’s so much more to think about than a sticker price. Think about the bigger picture while you search for the right NEMT software. How much will it deliver for the price, and is it viable for the long haul? Considering these factors thoroughly will make the choice easier.
Find the most capable solution.
Choosing an NEMT software solution can’t be a coin flip. Instead, your agency has to approach it by looking at a variety of factors, from routing, billing, and trip management to customer support and suitability for your size and future needs.
Ecolane’s NEMT software automates provider management, funding source compliance, and trip assignments and enhances operational freedom. With it, your agency gets several benefits:
- Ability to schedule based on least-cost provider or most efficient routing
- Real-time system management dashboard
- Automated compliance checks
- Real-time schedule optimization
- Permissions-based provider portal access
See how Ecolane can help you. Schedule a demo today to see our NEMT software in action.
About the Author
Read Ecolane's blog articles for perspective, opinion and information on transit and paratransit issues.