Breg’s 360° customer experience provides both rehabilitation patients and their clinicians with peace of mind throughout the therapy process.
As a patient goes from hurt to healthy, and as their care provider goes from diagnosis to outcome across the orthopedic episode, both want support for the products and procedures used to reach a healthy outcome. The rehabilitation patient needs clear instruction and easy-to-use tools to recover, while the clinician is looking for products the patient can use without further complicating the clinician’s already cluttered professional life.
Originally founded in 1989 as a cold therapy product innovator and provider, today Breg goes above and beyond in the market to create and offer solutions, not just products.
“The lens that we look through to understand the patient’s and provider’s experience is slightly different from the rest of our field,” shared Brad Lee, President and Chief Executive Officer of Breg Inc.
“Most people in this space are focused on the products they provide. That’s good, but with the evolution of healthcare it’s not enough anymore. Products have to be a much more user-friendly creator of time well spent.”
Cold therapy rehabilitation offerings built the foundation of Breg in the early days, and now accounts for about 15 percent of the company’s revenue. After establishing its foothold in this marketplace, Breg expanded into bracing products, setting the stage for its foray into technology and a culture shift.
“We realized that the products we were providing were great and bringing a lot of value to consumers. We were seen as a leader, a top player in the market, and we had a good reputation,” said Lee.
“But the value of our products was being sidelined by other noise the surgeons and clinicians were faced with like electronic medical records, system implementation, and challenges with reimbursement. A phrase from our focus group on the topic stuck: ‘Declutter my life.’”
At the time, Breg was a bracing manufacturer, and focused solely on its products and their uses in recovery. But what the client—in this case, orthopedic physicians—cares most about is the entire rehabilitation or therapy episode, not just where Breg’s products are being used.
Becoming a broader solution partner to its customers didn’t happen overnight. Breg’s rebrand to become more customer-centric took a handful of years, and a bigger utilization of software and technology than you may expect.
“We had been focused around making a widget, and then selling, shipping, and educating the provider on that widget. There was a major shift in focus that we needed to have: that the widget is important, but we have to be a lot more cognizant about the entire experience.”
Breg started by looking at near-field opportunities that they could credibly go after. Not wanting to stretch beyond its core competencies or chase dreams they didn’t have the investment seed for, the company began with a software expansion that managed the inventory associated with its products.
Products also evolved too: combined therapies like at-home therapy to help prevent deep vein thrombosis and products built with sensors so patients can continue rehabilitation at home.These at-home products have brought a level of care to rehabilitation patients that
These at-home products have brought a level of care to rehabilitation patients that wasn’t possible before.
For example, a patient who was financially challenged was recovering from a tibia fracture and ruptured ACL.
Although the surgeon did the work gratis, the patient had no money to pay for the rehabilitation associated with the surgery. But because many of Breg’s products are simple to use—and can be easily monitored remotely by the physician—he was able to secure the needed machine and recovered successfully from home.
The next technological evolution came as an expansion into patient flow documentation for use within the clinic. Breg continued to expand these service capabilities organically, but a few key acquisitions changed the game.
These moves allowed the company to provide services to the physician clinic associated with managing a patient with a bracing product—fitting the patient on-site, billing the insurance company and replacing the inventory, for example.
“We had never developed or sold software, so it took a few years of perseverance to see the momentum,” Lee shared.
“We made tons of mistakes, but one of the biggest things is that we didn’t let the mistakes stop us. We saw the success through our mistakes and bugs. We knew it could be an attractive value proposition to customers, and that enthusiasm helped propel us forward.”
This resulted in a rebrand a few years ago geared to a 360° customer experience, which is Breg’s key to supporting the brand in the market. By adding these technological capabilities, patients and clinicians can spend more time on things that matter like patient interaction and perfecting rehabilitation techniques, rather than documentation or administrative duties. Breg is helping to streamline the orthopedic episode.
“I don’t think we could better exemplify our customer experience solutions than with what happened over this past Thanksgiving weekend. A man had purchased one of our cold therapy products a few years back, anticipating rehabilitation from a surgery,” Lee said.
“But he didn’t have the surgery until this year, and when they pulled out the cold therapy unit it didn’t work. Our team, after hearing about it, jumped in over the weekend and overnighted the device at no charge to the person.
“That’s what our 360° customer experience is about,” said Lee. “Our team going out of the way to make sure that you, the user, have the best experience possible with our products and solutions when tackling the difficult task of rehabilitation.”
Breg provides remarkably easy products, services, technology, and consulting to improve the quality and lower the cost of the orthopedic episode, from conservative treatment to pre- and post-surgery. The second largest U.S. provider of orthopedic bracing, Breg is partner to 2,500 clinics, over 6,000 orthopedic surgeons, and 1,500 Integrated Delivery Networks, providing sports medicine and rehabilitation products to one million patients annually.
2885 Loker Ave E
Carlsbad, CA 92010