Product Spotlight

A Mobility Misfit

With Round Two looming, Invacare has unveiled a group 2-type chair intended for the retail market.

Pronto Air Personal Transporter For a while, Invacare’s Pronto Air Personal Transporter was a power mobility device in search of a home; a sort of mobility misfit. Invacare initially started showing the Pronto Air in select demonstrations in 2011, and talked about the chair coming out in the future, but “didn’t have a definitive time and we didn’t necessarily have a plan around the product,” says Julie Jackson, director of Invacare’s Rehab business unit.

Invacare knew it had a compelling product that represented a unique feature set. “However, when you take a look at your standard Group 2 product offering, this isn’t such a seamless fit,” she explains.

Then Invacare figured out the Pronto Air’s ideal niche, and the DME manufacturer’s strategy for the chair finally took shape this year: release the Pronto Air in the fourth quarter of 2012 in advance of competitive bidding Round Two in order to offer providers a product suited to alternative revenue — in this case, cash sales.

“We realized that where this is going to be positioned is for providers that might not be looking for another group 2 chair, but were in competitive bidding,” Jackson says. “As reimbursement continues to tighten, we’re going to find more providers looking for other avenues to grow their businesses, such as the retail market.”

That is where the Pronto Air will exist. While offering group 2-type functionality, the chair is not intended for Medicare reimbursement. “What makes this product truly different, is that we are not going to be coding it,” Jackson says. “This will strictly be a cash sale product.” And that is why the Pronto Air boasts such a distinctive design and offers unique features.

“This is very different,” Jackson says. “If you were to look at any other product in the group 2 segment, you would not find this type of seating and the amount of features and adjustability that [the Pronto Air] has.”

For starters, the product’s My Body styling offers a very sleek, modern design combined with a metallic silver paint job that truly makes the Pronto Air look unlike other group 2 chairs on the market. It is designed to engage the eye in the same way typical retail products are designed.

But it also offers a number of features that are ideal for a product that the patient will own outright, especially when it comes to adjusting and transporting the chair.

Adjustability and Transportability

The Pronto Air is designed to conform to the user as best as possible, and in that regard the chair offers a number of adjustability features, as well as features that let the chair be easily and completely transportable.

The standard headrest comes with a setscrew that allows for tailored height adjustment. Moving down its 21 in. backrest, the Pronto Air features hooks that can accommodate a standard bag that can hold a charger and accessories, and there are mounting points for accessories as well to allow for better personalization.

The fold-down back can be lifted up and then folded straight down onto the chair, and folded back into place without tools. An adjustment knob allows for up to 25 degrees of recline.

Another adjustability feature to the Pronto Air are its arm rests. The arms can be adjusted in terms of height, width, depth and how far the arms angle inward and outward, as well as up and down and in terms of pitch. Some of these adjustments don’t require tools while other require a tool to adjust set-screws.

In terms of transportability, the Pronto Air can be taken apart and put back together very easily. A latch for the seat allows the user or caregiver to release the seat, which weights about the same as a typical captain’s chair, so that it comes straight off. The base disassembles so that the 30 lb. battery packs that are removed with a trigger. This way, using a conveniently located handle, the base, which weighs 70 lbs. without the batteries, can be moved on its wheels.

Other Features

Looking at other features on the Pronto Air spec sheet, the Pronto Air offers a fair mix of power and performance. The real-wheel drive Pronto Air has a top speed of 4.5 mph, and its 12 in. drive tires give the Pronto Air the ability to better travel over outdoor terrain. Also, the Pronto Air’s inline motors are linked so that both motors can be locked with a single control.

The Pronto Air’s weight capacity is 250 lbs. The base measures 23.5 in. wide, and with seat the chair Pronto Air measures 42 in. to 48 in. high. Seat-to-floor height ranges from 21 in. to 25 in. Seat depth measures 18 in. to 20 in.

All in all, the Pronto Air offers a package with solid retail appeal. “This will let providers get into an avenue that they might not be in today, but where they might be looking to grown,” says Jackson.

Pronto Air Personal Transporter
Invacare Corp
(800) 333-6900

This article originally appeared in the January 2013 issue of HME Business.

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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