Optum unveils new benefits management solution for durable medical equipment

Optum is rolling out a new offering that seeks to make it easier and faster for patients to secure durable medical equipment.

The company's Optum Insight division unveiled DME Navigator on Tuesday, and the digital program is designed to streamline the process of obtaining DME. Clinicians can order products digitally, which Optum said in an announcement would enable them to fill orders 90% faster.

The platform can also integrate into the electronic health record, Optum said, connecting providers with more than 3,000 locations within their clinical workflow. 

“Ensuring patients have timely access to DME is a growing challenge,” said Beth Merle, senior vice president for affordability and value enablement at Optum, in the press release. “DME Navigator will help health plans and DME suppliers deliver the equipment patients need more quickly and affordably.”

Optum is working to add further suppliers in rural areas and grow access to limited distribution channels, according to the press release.

The solution also integrates key evidence-based criteria, Optum said. This makes it easier for the clinical team to make informed decisions on which products may be most beneficial to patients.

It also allows their needs to be met in their homes, which many prefer, according to Optum. It's collaborating with home health company CareCentrix on the initiative.

The company noted in the release that the DME market is growing and is expected to hit $93 billion by 2030. That's backed by an aging population and rising chronic disease rates, as 60% of Americans have at least one chronic condition, Optum said.