CFOs don’t have the luxury of focusing just on accounting these days, says Jason Comer, CFO of Health Recovery Solutions, a Hoboken, New Jersey-based company that provides a remote patient monitoring platform for healthcare providers. In turbulent economic times, finance chiefs need to understand the holistic big picture as well as specifics.
Comer spoke with StrategicCFO360 about the biggest changes he’s seen this year, how he’s handling them and the best advice he ever got.
How do you envision the role of CFO evolving in the year ahead?
This year and moving forward, it’s important to manage not only one’s traditional day-to-day financial obligations, like accounting, but really look at the role from a macroeconomic perspective. As the financial climate continues to evolve, it’s important to have a broader understanding of how each lever impacts the business.
As the year progresses, it seems that different economic variables are at play, and the best way to determine the health of a business is to have a keen understanding of its operations. For instance, the interest rates are changing and that impacts not only one’s loan but how customers may want to purchase a company’s product, which impacts the financing that they can obtain to support some of their programs or initiatives—it’s a domino effect. Therefore, thinking about one’s business holistically will be crucial.
Can you share a financial trend that you feel will impact the healthcare industry, specifically remote patient monitoring and/or digital health tools, in the years to come?
The biggest trend that is impacting the space we serve at Health Recovery Solutions is the long, but continued, movement to value-based care. This topic has been discussed for the better part of a decade, but we’re really starting to see both the government and insurance companies, for example, prioritize value-based care contracts, arrangements and pricing structures. This movement is imperative to us as a remote patient monitoring business and should be important to any digital health company.
Our customers are shifting away from a fee-for-service model of “I receive a service, I pay X dollars,” to “What is the value and what is the outcome?” As an RPM organization, we need to switch our business models to largely match that framework. Therefore, as our customers succeed and drive value for their patients, we are succeeding alongside them.
Additionally, it’s crucial that we are held to the same standards and that we’re not going to market with an out-of-date business model. To adhere to that mindset, it’s important to make necessary adjustments alongside our customers because if we’re not driving the return on investment for them, it will negatively impact our business with that customer over time. I think that’s the biggest change and shift that we’re seeing right now.
What is your advice for other CFOs in their quest to steer all aspects of a company’s growth phases?
There are two things that I feel coincide. First, it’s crucial to understand the holistic operations of your business. In a growth phase, there’s a finite amount of capital that you have to deploy, and as a CFO, you need to make sure that you’re doing that effectively and efficiently. Additionally, it’s important to not only measure the outcomes of decisions but to understand that if you’re deciding to make intentional investments in a certain area or business, you’re foregoing investments in other areas.
Secondly, which I think was probably one of the greatest pieces of advice I’ve ever received, is you need to be mindful of what you can let burn. There are so many different things going on in a growth phase business, various fires happening at the same time, so being mindful of finite resources and determining what needs to be addressed immediately, and what can be solved tomorrow is imperative.
As the CFO of Health Recovery Solutions, what financial investments do you recommend prioritizing this year to help improve coordination of care and why?
It starts with understanding your customer’s needs and developing services to match them. The HRS team, for example, understands that we’re not building something from scratch. Instead, we’re talking to our customers and understanding what their needs are.
HRS started as a software business, and after speaking with customers, we realized we also needed logistics services. We’ve been hearing a lot about staffing shortages in the nursing and healthcare industry at large. Based on that determination, we now offer clinical staff augmentation services.
Put simply, in discussions with customers, we hear their pain points and determine their needs. From there, we build and deliver a full suite of products and/or services that support the deployment of the main key product. That has been a significant growth driver of our business over the last couple of years.