Change Is in the Air
The last several decades have shown monumental advances in home oxygen therapy. Remember the original concentrators? One former provider recalls a unit that weighed 170 pounds and took two technicians to deliver. Imagine that!
Product designs have changed dramatically, too. Early versions resembled console-style television sets, complete with faux wooden exteriors.
Skip a few decades to today, and the market is focused on portability, with lightweight versions that encourage mobility, ease of use and sleek styling. Most notable, the move to a non-delivery model continues to take hold, and experts say the benefits both to patients and providers are unparalleled.
New Model Gains Interest, but There Are Challenges
"Home oxygen providers are moving in greater numbers to portable oxygen concentrators to meet their patients' ambulatory needs, as these products represent a more cost-effective solution by eliminating the ever-rising costs associated with delivering oxygen," says Robert K. Jacobson, vice president and general manager of medical products, AirSep Corp.
"In the past year, due to growing sales and acceptance and subsequent manufacturing efficiencies, these devices have shifted from expensive, luxury items to affordable standard offerings under the Medicare paradigm."
Adds Ron Richard, CEO of SeQual Technologies, "Providers are embracing non-delivery. They understand they cannot continue to do business as usual. Even with the economic issues and financing and credit crunches we are experiencing, providers are pushing ahead with non-delivery systems and understanding they need to make changes sooner than later."
Kimberly Snyder, Philips Respironics' U.S. marketing manager for home respiratory, says, "Home care providers are closely looking at ways to reduce the rising operating costs associated with oxygen therapy.
"For that reason, non-delivery technology is very attractive for providers, since those systems can significantly eliminate recurrent delivery costs. And, with rising fuel and salary costs, delivery costs continue to increase," says Snyder.
New product development efforts also continue to refine operationally efficient equipment that delivers freedom and independence to patients and reduces total service costs for providers.