Increase profits while efficiently helping your customers
by David J. Marquard II

Most of us entered the home 
respiratory industry because we wanted to serve patients. However, you also have to make a reasonable profit for your employer or for yourself. Frankly, you are not going to be in business very long otherwise. To ensure both efficient service to the patients who need your product as well as profitability for your business, follow these six suggestions.

1. Non-delivery business models. Reduce or eliminate routine oxygen deliveries by providing patients with lightweight, wearable portable oxygen concentrators (POC). The combination of POC and a stationary oxygen concentrator (SOC) can eliminate one or more routine oxygen deliveries per month, at an average cost of $50 each. Imagine what an extra $50 or $100 per patient would do for your bottom line.

2. Reduce your oxygen delivery area. If you do continue with deliveries, reduce the distance your technicians have to drive by installing a combination of a POC and SOC with patients more than a certain distance from your location. This is an excellent area to beta-test or have a trial run of the concept. The investment won’t break the bank, and often you can lease the entire package and recover your investment in a short period.

3. Expand your oxygen service area. Making fewer routine oxygen 
deliveries allows you to expand your customer service area. This can mean more oxygen patients, thus more revenue and profits. As you are no doubt aware, providers who are hundreds, even thousands, of miles away are now serving patients in your service area. Now, you can bid on other opportunities to serve oxygen patients.

4. Advertise retail products on your website. Products such as POCs and many other patient aids are sold by Internet retailers. Add these to your site, have patients email or fax you their prescriptions and take down their credit card numbers over the phone. Then ship or have your supplier drop-ship to the patient. Do the in-service on the telephone. You will increase your retail sales and, ultimately, your profits.

5. Rent POCs and other patient aids for temporary need. As more and more non-Medicare patients are traveling, the rental of oxygen products—
including POCs approved by the FAA for air travel (oxygen tanks or cylinders are prohibited on aircraft)—is rapidly growing. Just make sure the patient follows the specific airlines guidelines for battery duration (e.g. some airlines require the patient to have 50 percent more capacity hours than the flight’s duration). This is yet another opportunity to serve your patient better and make a reasonable profit.

6. Fill your own medical oxygen cylinders. If you are paying more than 60 cents per filled cylinder, including delivery and hazardous material charges, you should consider doing your own filling. Modern filling systems 
adhere to FDA and accreditation requirements and have made filling easier, less costly and more convenient than ever. As a plus, you can often lease the entire system, including installation and training, for less than what you are 
paying now to an outside supplier.