Wednesday, December 31, 2003

BURNSVILLE, Minn. - A new, independent study of oxygen conserving devices, conducted by Valley Inspired Products, has rated the performance measurements of the industry’s major leading brands.

The study does not rank the 19 conserving systems evaluated or endorse an overall winner, but it does provide side-by-side comparisons of savings ratios, the amount of gas delivered per numerical setting, the amount of gas delivered per breath, and sensitivity.

The study - A Guide to Understanding Oxygen Conserving Devices 2003 - may be the first independently funded and published evaluation of product performance in an industry where most suppliers based buying decisions on data provided by manufacturers.

“When our funding source is a manufacturer instead of the consumer, then the consumer never sees anything that doesn’t look good,” said Bob McCoy, whose company provides product testing for home respiratory products.

Valley is selling the study for $90.

In the guide, McCoy reveals great variability between the amount of oxygen delivered per numerical setting. Set to the same value, one conserver can deliver twice as much oxygen as another.

One problem, according to McCoy: “There is no standard driving [numerical settings], and people pretty much put the number where the doctor prescribes.”

Purchasing managers typically don’t look beyond experience and manufacturer’s data before a buying decision.

“The information we get from manufacturers usually will meet our needs in making those purchasing decisions,” said Charles Fiveash, operations manager at Georgia Home Medical in Statesboro, Ga.