Who Took MM’s Survey?
The results of a rehab survey that examines how and why you buy.
Mobility Management sent out survey invitations to its subscriber database and asked for the input of readers who purchased or recommended the purchase of rehab seating & mobility equipment.
Nearly half (49.6 percent) of respondents identified themselves as assistive technology professionals (ATPs). As far as job titles go, 46.5 percent of respondents said they are rehab technology suppliers (RTS’s), while 8.7 percent said they are OTs or PTs who specialize in seating & mobility.
And nearly half (43.3 percent) said they are the owner/president/ CEO or manager/director of a complex rehab business.
The survey’s goal was to capture information from rehab decision-makers, and a full 85.1 percent of respondents said they either make purchasing decisions alone or in tandem with other members of the rehab team. Survey results indicate that deciding on which rehab equipment to purchase is a team effort: 84.3 percent of respondents said they are part of such a team.
How Do You Make Your Purchasing Decisions?
The survey listed a variety of equipment-related factors and asked rehab equipment purchasers/recommenders to indicate whether each factor was Very Important, Important, Of Average Importance, Not Very Important or Completely Irrelevant.
Not surprisingly given the current funding landscape, the price of a product was rated as “Very Important” by 57.9 percent of respondents.
But then we averaged the scores for each equipment-related factor by assigning 5 points to “Very Important,” 4 points to “Important,” all the way down to 1 point for “Completely Irrelevant.” And when those scores were tallied, survey respondents said “Ease of product’s maintenance or repair” was ever-so-slightly more important than product price – by an average score of 4.52 to 4.50.
Are You Willing to Establish New Relationships with Manufacturers?
So, let’s say you hear of a new rehab product that you’re potentially interested in purchasing, but you’ve never before worked with its manufacturer.What’s your reaction?
Good news for rehab manufacturers: 60.8 percent of respondents said they are willing to start business relationships with manufacturers if their products are appealing. Another 6.4 percent of respondents said they actually enjoy starting new business relationships…strongly suggesting that when confronted with a new product, respondents are solution (and client) focused, rather than heavily focused on its manufacturer.
Whose Opinions Are Important to You?
We asked whose opinions are most significant to you when you’re determining which rehab products to buy. Of the choices we gave, 82.6 percent of respondents said face-to-face product demonstrations were very important or important to their decision-making process, and 81.8 percent said good testimonials from other consumers who’ve used the product are very important or important – in fact, even more important than strong word of mouth from industry peers. But the bottom line seems to be that respondents want to hear what knowledgeable others have to say when it comes to making that complex rehab purchase.
How Do Trade Shows and Educational Conferences Fit Into the Purchasing Equation?
ATP, accreditation and other requirements have increased the industry’s emphasis on education in recent years. But along with learning, rehab professionals love seeing and trying out new assistive technology!
So,What Are You Buying in 2010?
We asked respondents to indicate, for each rehab or rehab-related category, whether they anticipated spending more or less in 2010. Percentages shown indicate the respondents who said they expect to buy the same amount or more this year compared to 2009.
How Do Clinicians Impact the Decision-Making Process?
OTs and PTs figured strongly in the decision-making process for most rehab technology suppliers who answered the survey: 68.2 percent said their clinical partners had a great or a significant impact on which assistive technology is eventually purchased.
What Are Your Biggest Challenges to Winning a Consensus?
In making the final purchasing decisions, we asked which areas are giving you the biggest challenge. Not surprisingly, funding and medical justification/documentation drew the strongest responses. And respondents agreed that they also face some challenges from other rehab team members. The good news: Most respondents seem to be on the same page with the managers in charge of approving their purchases.
This article originally appeared in the January 2010 issue of Mobility Management.