To keep pace with the myriad reimbursement challenges that have bombarded the oxygen industry over the past several years, providers continue to look for ways to streamline processes and cut operating costs. A growing strategy is to adopt a portable oxygen concentrator (POC) model, which has helped providers to meet referral and patient demands while driving operational efficiencies in their business.
POCs in general have become far more reliable, economic, small, and lightweight than previous models, allowing today’s oxygen patient to be more mobile than ever before. With each new iteration of POC, providers are seeing a better profit margin.
For patients, POCs have added a freedom that’s been unattainable in other oxygen technologies. With POCs, patients can more easily travel via air, rail, boat and car with higher confidence and comfort. They like not having to call to request tank refills. They like not having to wait for deliveries. They are welcoming independence, flexibility and a sense of normalcy back into their lives. Moreover, increased ambulation has been demonstrated to improve patient outcomes and reduce the probably of hospital admissions.
In terms of innovation, POCs keep getting smaller and battery lives longer. Moreover, they are starting to include remote connectivity, which is currently allowing providers to be able to manager their “fleet” of devices in the field to ensure that they are being used, monitor how they are being used, and in some cases remotely troubleshoot problems. Let’s take a look at some POCs on the market:
An entirely new take on cannulas
The Uni-flo2 single-prong nasal cannula offers a simpler designed to address user complaints with traditional dual-prong cannulas, which have been in use since 1949. The single-prong device aims to negate dual-prong cannula grievances such as irritated nostrils, sore upper lips, constriction around the neck, and displaced prongs. The single prong Uni-flo2 has a miniaturized double-channel tube that incorporates a memory stabilization system that adjusts to facial contours while lifting the single tube off the skin. The cannula also incorporates a soft-plus custom designed nasal cavity component that optimizes patient comfort.
Responsive Respiratory Inc.
Tote ‘N Go
Cardboard cylinder racks offer an economic alternative
Joining Responsive Respiratory’s Tote ‘N Go cardboard carriers, the company’s new Store ‘N Stay cardboard racks are designed for providers looking for an option outside of metal or plastic cylinder storage racks. The cardboard racks transport to the customer’s home flat and are set-up via a pop-open and lock-into-place design. The easier set-up and transportation means providers can schedule more patient runs per outing, which reduces operational costs, as well.
FreeStyle and FreeStyle 5
Cut the cord with FreeStyle portable oxygen concentrators
CAIRE Inc.’s wearable FreeStyle and FreeStyle 5 portable oxygen concentrators encourage mobility and make travel easier for oxygen therapy patients. FreeStyle models are equipped with UltraSense technology — CAIRE’s sensitive breath detection feature — and cover pulse flow settings 1-5. They feature an easy-access front-loading, user-replaceable battery. Batteries can recharge on AC (wall) or DC (motor vehicle) power, or using a desktop charger. A battery charge indicator shows uers the percentage of charge on the battery with green lights. The company says it designed the series to be priced affordably with low maintenance costs for the medical equipment provider.
3B Medical Inc
Lumin offers ozone-free cleaning for CPAPs and accessories
3B Medical is releasing the 3B Lumin disinfecting unit to disinfect a CPAP mask and accessories. Lumin claims a 99.9 percent kill rate for harmful bacteria, viruses, mold and fungus, and ozone—free disinfecting in a 5-minute cycle. It is compact enough for countertop use. The product was developed in response to several pulmonary physicians expressing concern over their COPD patients using an ozone based product, according to Jose Llana, M.D., 3B’s national director of sales. “We wanted to develop a product that would not damage the CPAP machine itself, and had zero risk of exposing a respiratory patient to a lung irritant,” he said.
System enables remote management of oxygen devices
CAIRE Inc.’s new telehealth solution, CAIREview powered by SynsorMed. is now available on Android and iOS platforms, and uses Bluetooth technology to help providers monitor the use of the CAIRE oxygen concentrators in their fleet. Utilizing a smart device or desktop computer, providers can view oxygen flow rates; reverse geotrack the location of a device; and troubleshoot alarm codes, thus avoiding costly after-hours visits. The CAIRE Companion 5 stationary oxygen concentrator is the company’s first device equipped with the app, and will be followed closely by the Eclipse 5 portable oxygen concentrator this year.
POC offers patients the best of both worlds
The Zen-O portable oxygen concentrator provides both continuous flow up to 2LPM and pulse mode up to setting 6. Using Rate Responsive Technology, Zen-O automatically increases the amount of oxygen delivered if a patient’s breath rate rises without the need to change the settings in advance. The FAA-approved POC also features field-replaceable sieve beds and can hold two batteries in the unit to optimize battery life.
24/7 POC that keeps users on the go
The 4.8-lb., five-setting OxyGo shows users exactly how much time they have left on the battery, which they can easily change and can use at the same time, either in the car or at home. A double battery provides 10.25 hours of use .The OxyGo is also clinically validated to be used 24/7, so it can supply medical oxygen at home or on the go.
Inogen One G3
POC can run around the clock
- The Inogen One G3 features five pulse flow settings with 1,050 ml output.
- Can be used 24/7, so it can supply medical oxygen at home or on the go.
- Provides 10 hours of battery life with two batteries; is airline approved; and weighs under 5 lbs. with one battery.
SimplyGo Mini p
A vacation-ready portable oxygen option
- Conforms to FAA standards, now available for on board aircraft use
- Designed and tested to be reliable and durable in real-world environments.
- Two battery options are available: a standard battery that lasts 4.5 hours, and an extended battery that typically lasts nine hours.
Invacare Platinum Mobile Oxygen Concentrator with Connectivity
POC Communicates Usage Data
- POC, app and provider portal help give oxygen providers better asset utilization with control over costs.
- Providers have remote visibility to POC data to see how their POCs are being used.
- Hot-swappable, top loading batteries provide up to 10 hours of charge.