16 Medtrade Products with the Most Buzz!

When it's fall and it's the biggest home medical equipment show of the year, it's Medtrade time. Now that the year is coming to a close, you are likely planning your inventory selections for next year. The editors of Home Health Products, Mobility Management and Respiratory Management put our heads together and cast our votes for the 16 products that created the most buzz at Medtrade. Some of our determining criteria included gauging crowds at booths, listening to what providers talked about the most, evaluating any new or disruptive technology as well as acknowledging a company for entering a new segment of the HME market. The top 16 products with the most buzz include:

Adepta's Deluxe Sport Walker with Walker Kit

Call the gurus of style and get out of the way of the flashbulbs, Adepta's product reception showcased a catwalk of style, style, style. Adepta's Bud Burkett (pictured) demonstrates one of the model components — the Adepta Deluxe Walker with 7-pocket bag and snap-on drink holder Kit. Yes, it's "just" a bag that straps onto the walker, but little touches like this make mobility stylish and personal, thereby improving consumer compliance. And Adepta suggests that dealers contract with local businesses to embroider user's names onto the bags to make each caddy unique.

AirSep's FreeStyle

Do you enjoy living the good life and not letting anything weigh you down? AirSep's FreeStyle is a portable oxygen concentrator you can barely feel as it weighs less than 5 lbs. And as of Sept. 12, the FreeStyle can take to the skies with its FAA-approved status. Capture the good life without limitation with the following features: three pulse settings with continuous flow of 90 percent oxygen, optional AirBelt and quiet operation.

ASL's Tiger

ASL's Tiger is a kid-sized chair and ASL's first foray into pediatric power! But ASL earned its stripes long ago — so expect Tiger to benefit from the huge high-end rehab reputation. Adaptive Switch Labs is known for custom rehab solutions for highly involved clients, so it's no surprise that the manufacturer's first foray into power (partnering with Invacare Corp.) is a peds power wheelchair. The Power Tiger by ASL features seat widths and depths from 6x6 inches to 12x12 inches and is designed for kids ages 1 year and older. ASL aims to roll out the first Power Tigers by late Q1 next year.

Blue Chip Medical's Amara Cushion

Ever wonder what you would look like as a cartoon character? In the middle of the crowd at Blue Chip Medical's booth was a caricature artist ready to sketch out your most prominent feature. The most prominent feature at Blue Chip's booth was its Amara cushion, designed to create an optimum seating environment providing pressure relief and preventing skin breakdown. Amara's unique molded design, with slight abductor pommel, stabilizes the hips and keeps clients in proper mid-line alignment. The low-profile, lightweight design allows for ease of transfers and foot propelling.

Bruno Independent Living Aids' Curb-Sider Lift

Bruno's Curb-Sider Lift Implosion is a new modular system that enables Bruno lifts to cover the same number of applications, while requiring dealers to buy, stock and learn the ins and outs of fewer parts. Bruno's Curb-Sider fits most types of vans, sports utility vehicles and pickups with caps. Simply press a button and the Curb-Sider Lift raises or lowers any scooter weighing up to 200 lbs. The Curb-Sider's rotation feature allows it to stow scooters in vehicles with tailgates.

Harmar Mobility Enters Home Accessibility

Need a lift beyond the garage? Harmar's expansion into the home accessibility market is big news. The company also showed off a new stairlift and a new bathtub lift. It's more than vehicle lifts and ramps for Harmar Mobility. IN the spring of '07 Harmar will introduce vertical platform lifts for use both indoors and out. Harmar also will introduce two different types of stair lifts. Harmar Access will also be the exclusive distributor for the leading UK bath lift, the Aqua Joy, a universal design that auto-reclines.

Invacare's Flyer Portable

The beards of the portable oxygen forefathers have not yet started to gray, and already a new rival is undergoing the process for FAA and airline approval. The Flyer Portable Concentrator makes its debut in the summer — just in time for a sunny vacation by the shore. The portable concentrator will turn quite a few heads with its lightweight design at just 5 lbs. along with a variety of power options.

Motion Concepts' Swing-Away Assist

This new design swings the two legrests in opposite directions, away from each other, to allow standing transfers and tighter positioning of the wheelchair. Tough to describe without a visual aid, so how about a cool name, like Charleston? Or Chubby Checker? It really is that unique a twist. The Swing-Away Assist manual version uses a lever at the side of the seat to swing away both footrests. The power version operates through a separate switch or through the joystick control to power away the footrests. In both cases, the footrests move 90 degrees to the side of the seating system. Works with most swing-away footrests (footrests are not removable).

PaceSaver/Leisure-Lift's Fusion Scooter

Five wheels = mid-wheel-drive maneuverability, meaning scooter users can pull up right alongside tables or counters. But this vehicle, marketed as both an indoors and outdoors POV, also has plenty of incline power. Considered a Total Environment Vehicle (TEV), the Fusion's design increases the percentage of traction on the drive wheels and combines indoor maneuverability with incline stability. Fusion's Max-Trax system enables users to travel on sand, grass or gravel.

Permobil's RS Rehab System & Tablet Driving Control

With the fanfare of the Big Top, Permobil created a circus of interest with the new RS Rehab System. Fabulously stylish, the power seating system captured the audience with its acrobatic grace: intelligent drive controls that remember up to three positions, many adjustable components including tilt, recline, seat pan and legrests, and a slim spine to house all wiring components. Yes, the Rehab Seating system got the big buzz, but the Tablet Driving Control system — with its large interface and ability to ignore extraneous motions — also showed a lot of promise. The system will enable a whole new crop of clients to drive power chairs… think CP, Parkinson's, MS and more. Permobil gets two thumbs up!

Pride's Jazzy

Whether the Jazzy was surrounded by balloons or showing off its new suit — the Jazzy Select — the birthday boy created quite a stir at Pride's booth. The 10-year-old power chair has quite a lot to brag about. Still sporting the mid-wheel design that helped launch the power chair market into a new era, the Jazzy Select shows classic appeal with such features as Active-Trac suspension, dual in-line motors, 30 percent greater per-charge range and a new 40-amp PG GC controller. And don't expect style to take a back seat to power. The attractive chair has plenty of add-ons to help consumers roll in style, including a contoured high-back seat, cup holder, heavy-duty dust cover, rear basket, oxygen tank holder and choice of two high-gloss colors.

TiLite's Aero Z

Maybe it was the tattooed arms of "Murderball's" Mark Zupan headlining the booth banner or maybe it was the Aero Z, a finance-friendly aluminum monotube frame manual wheelchair with a ton of custom colors and seat cushions, but TiLite's booth drew quite a few fans. The Aero Z fits the user with customized styling choices, including the modern camouflage cushion (pictured) or frame colors that mirror a favorite sports team. But the aluminum chair goes the distance in another arena as well: adjustability. The wide range of adjustable components include back angle, 80 to 101 degrees; front seat height, 16 to 21 inches; and rear seat height, 12 to 20 inches. Zapan is quite a show-stopper, but we're placing our bets on the Aero Z.

ResMed's VPAP Adapt SV

Always daring to be different, ResMed introduced its VPAP Adapt SV, designed to treat more complex forms of sleep apnea than the conventional CPAP. The VPAP Adapt SV treats complex sleep apnea and central sleep apnea, normalizing breathing and improving the amount of time a client spends in slow-wave and REM sleep. For users tired of being tired, the VPAP Adapt SV adapts to a client's ventilatory needs on a breath-by-breath basis, ensuring pressure support that is synchronized to a client's own breathing rate and flow pattern.

Respironics' BiPAP Auto

A Medtrade newborn, Respironics BiPAP Auto is built for challenges — challenging CPAP cases, that is. An auto-adjusting bi-level positive airway pressure sleep system, the BiPAP Auto is designed to improve sleep therapy acceptance, comfort and results. With SmartCard compatibility and advanced reporting, the device accurately tracks compliance and efficacy.

Varilite's Reflex

Varilite isn't taking the recent CMS reimbursement cuts to seating and positioning lying down. In fact, the manufacturer known for its valved cushions beefed up its product selection with a new heavyweight contender: the non-adjustable Reflex cushion. The Reflex, which is actually lightweight (thanks to air and foam construction) despite its heavy punch, eliminates the valve for a less expensive, foolproof alternative. Varilite's new cushion is great for geriatric clients.

This article originally appeared in the November 2006 issue of HME Business.

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