'All the information people never had before'

Monday, April 30, 2007

TITUSVILLE, Fla. - Telemonitoring hasn't caught on significantly with HME providers, but HMD Biomedical President Bryan Sowards has a new product and program that he thinks will get the ball rolling.
Through a recent partnership with Korean manufacturer Infopia, HMD has begun distributing the Eocene System, a device designed to help with diabetes management. In short, the unit attaches to a standard phone line, downloads information from a blood glucose monitor and then transmits it over an 800-number to a secure Internet server.
"Our system captures information and archives it so if a doctor wants to, he can go back and look at the last six months or the last year of readings," Sowards said. "We've got the time and date of the reading, whether it was before or after a meal. We've got all the information that people have never had before."
The data can also be used to demonstrate patient compliance to payers, he added.
That level of information gives providers an edge over competitors who don't use the Eocene System: "They aren't just providing supplies. They are providing a management system," Sowards said.
Currently, with some exceptions, telemonitoring devices barely register with the typical HME. In part, that's because the market is still defining itself, the equipment can be expensive and many payers don't reimburse for it. HMD has attempted to take the bite out of telemonitoring by introducing aggressively low pricing, thanks to its ability to manufacture all the components in Korea: test strips, glucose monitors and the Eocene transmitter. For $99, a provider receives four boxes of test strips (50 strips in each box), a glucose meter and the Eocene. Bought individually, a box of strips costs about $15 or less, depending on volume.
By offering the Eocene System, HMD hopes to separate itself from other manufacturers, boost business with providers and grab a bigger share of the test strip market. The Eocene can also be used with a scale and a blood pressure cuff, allowing the caregiver to monitor the well being of a variety of patients, including those with congestive heart failure, Sowards said.