HME News

MAR 2018

HME News is the monthly business newspaper for home medical equipment providers. This controlled circulation publication reaches 17,100 home medical equipment services providers, including traditional HME dealers & suppliers, hospital- and pharmacy-o

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 18 of 23

Product Focus hme news / m arch 2018 / 19 Business Development By John Andrews, Contributing e ditor F or several years now, bariatrics has been a robust growth market for home medical equipment, following the rise in obesity across the U. s . a s a meri- cans' waistlines have bulged, HM e manufac- turers have responded by producing heavier duty versions of standard products. s ales have been historically strong for mobility, support surface, bath safety and aids to daily living equipment, prompting a focus on continued development of new bar- iatric products. Yet there are signs that the assembly line may be slowing down, yielding to an attitude of quality over quantity, notes Jay Doherty, director of clinical education for e xeter, Pa.-based Quantum r ehab. "Bariatric seating and wheeled mobility remains a niche market that has seen advanc- es in our understanding of the needs of this client population," he said. "However, the number of products available to meet the bar- iatric client's identified needs has not grown nearly as quickly. I wouldn't say momentum is stagnant, but I don't see the manufacturing community putting significant resources into the design and development of products for the bariatric client as for other populations." There are several factors working against bariatric product innovation, but the driving force is a lack of funding, Doherty said. The Emphasize quality, holistics in bariatrics bariatric clientele is challenging due to the various body types and the distribution of soft tissue, he said, and that variance is dif- ficult for manufacturers to accommodate. "With comparatively low utilization and a high cost of materials needed to support the weight and unique shapes of bariatric consumers, manufacturers are not able to leverage economies of scale," Doherty said. "Hence, bariatric products are significantly more expensive for providers to purchase and it takes more time for the evaluation, recommendation, fitting and delivery pro- cess. Yet reimbursement does not take this into account." Jim e rnst, product manager for Kansas City, Kan.-based Burke/ l eisure- l ift, says more HM e providers are selling bariatric products than ever before, but warns they should deeply scrutinize the selection and quality of available items. "Many are just standard duty products reinforced to try and hold extra weight, but don't necessarily serve the needs of the patient," e rnst said. "Most products have had bariatric versions for quite some time, but many were in name only. r einforc- ing a previous product designed for lower weights is not the same as creating a truly bariatric product. Providers need to look at a manufacturer's history and their ability to meet specific patient's needs." m arket arrow up Bariatric product development may have slowed, but research data shows that demand will continue to climb, said Joe o berle, prod- uct manager for beds and patient room at Port Washington, N.Y.-based Drive De v ilbiss. s an Francisco-based Grand v iew r esearch reports that the growing trend in sedentary lifestyles, physical inactivity and unhealthy food habits are the contributing factors responsible for the high incidence of obesity and resulting growing demand for bariatric products. "Based on industry analysis, we anticipate the momentum to continue for at least the next several years," o berle said. For Drive, overall bariatric bed business has increased 40% since 2015 and ancillary bariatric patient room product sales have increased, as well, o berle said. Within the bed category, he said demand for beds with weight capacities between 750 and 1,000 pounds has risen by more than 30%. p atient assessment r eal progress has been made in understand- ing the specific needs of bariatric patients, Doherty said, which has advanced the criti- cal process of home and accessibility assess- ments. " a person in this group may be able to ambulate through a doorway and in some cases may have to shift redundant tissue to make it through the door," he said. "However, that same individual seated in a wheelchair correctly configured for their width may not have the same capability with the wheelchair. HM e providers that have a home access divi- sion within their business can be more suc- cessful in meeting the comprehensive needs of this bariatric population." In mobility, seating and support is crucial and "every effort must be made to support and protect the entire body properly," e rnst said. Careful measurements and planning for future needs are also critical, he said, because the average lifespan of the product is five years and potential problems must be considered. "It is not just 'bigger' all around, but rather custom modifications that truly fit the patient to the product," he said. "Just because some- one fits in a seat does not ensure comfort or proper support. e xtensive measurements and modifications are required for all but the most basic bariatric need." o berle advises providers to "look at bariat- ric patients holistically by providing products and services that will maximize their abili- ties to live independently and help them over- come the limitations of their size and weight. Providers must conduct an overall assessment to determine the products that are needed to help their patients live better and more func- tionally independent lives." hme Category Bariatrics slowdown ahead ■ Quieting market: After several years of robust development, the bariatrics market may have hit a lull in the number of new product releases. Due to the "challenging" aspect of patients' special body dimensions, along with a lack of funding, the assembly line appears to be slowing. d emand strong ■ Obesity growth: Even though production of new bariatric equipment has tapered off, research data shows demand to be as strong as ever. Sedentary lifestyles, physical inactivity and unhealthy food habits are contributing factors responsible for the national obesity rate, which continues to grow. Key C onta C ts ■ Finding referrals: There is a wide range of clinicians and specialists who deal with bariatric patients, including primary care physicians, case managers, physical and occupational therapists, bariatric surgery clinics, weight loss clinics and bariatric support groups. Beds Merits Health Products h eavy d uty Bed- B320 ■ Heavy-duty steel frame. ■ Weight capacity of 600 pounds and overall width of 42 inches. ■ Bed height 18.25 inches to 26.25 inches. Shoprider Mobility Products, Inc. 6 r unner 14 ■ 14-inch mid-wheel drive, 450-pound weight capacity. ■ Full front and rear suspension, 7-inch casters, four-post seat mounting. ■ Accommodates up to Group 24 batteries. Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare Full- e le C tri C Bariatri C Bed, 42" ■ Heavy-duty frame ensures strength and patient safety and can support 600 pounds. ■ Hand control adjusts bed to meet individual positioning needs of each patient. ■ Low air loss/alternating pressure mattress and T rails available separately. Wheelchairs Patient lifts EZ-Access o r B it Patient t rans F er l i F t ■ Articulating arm and single pivoting stanchion rotate 360-degrees. ■ Non-obtrusive design. ■ Minimal assembly required and can be installed floor-to-ceiling or floor-to-wall. Other NOVA Medical Products Bath s eat with Ba CK ■ Assembles in under five minutes (tool-free). ■ Ergonomic seat supports up to 500 pounds. ■ Features slip-resistant rubber tips and non- corrosive aluminum legs that will not rust.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of HME News - MAR 2018