Drive Medical’s pure play

Friday, July 24, 2015

Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of stories about transfilling technology. Previous stories: Where’s the opportunity in transfilling technology, and Providers offer ground-level view

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. – HME providers looking to offer transfilling devices to their patients will have another option coming soon.

Drive Medical is beta-testing its Pure Fill and plans to release the transfilling device in the late third quarter.

“The industry is excited for another manufacturer to come out with another transfill modality for oxygen,” said Mitch Yoel, executive vice president of Drive Medical. “There are few players in this space and another player can only be positive for the provider community and for the technology itself. It pushes manufacturers to improve.”

Other players in this space include Invacare (HomeFill); DeVilbiss Healthcare, which is now part of Drive Medical (iFill) and Philips Respironics (UltraFill).

With Drive Medical about to enter this market, here are a few observations from where Yoel sits.

Transfilling vs. POC

POCs may have made the largest gains in the past few years, but Yoel sees utilization for this technology leveling off.

“I think there are more providers in a post-competitive bidding environment that will move to transfill and not POCs,” he said. “Not that POCs are going away. I just think the very sharp upward trend will level off a bit.”

Short term vs. long term

While Yoel sees utilization for transfilling devices increasing and POCs decreasing in the short term, he acknowledges that, if a few dominoes fall into place, that may flip-flop in the long-term.

“POCs are great technology and appropriate for a niche of patients,” he said. “But it’s not at a place where you can have a truly lightweight sub-five pound POC that can be used 24 hours a day and saturate patients with a reasonable battery life. When that happens, it won’t just be the future, it’ll be the gold standard modality. But I still think it’s in the future.”

Bundle vs. bungle

Some providers may be bundling stationary oxygen concentrators with POCs for less investment and the same results as transfill devices, at least from a non-delivery perspective, but that strategy could be short-sighted, Yoel says.

“Every portable oxygen modality and every product within a modality delivers oxygen in a different and specific way,” he said. “It is important for the industry that we think about how to oxygenate first and conserve second.”


The Tipping Point for Transfill vs POC is actually Reliabiltiy vs Portability.  The Stationary Transfilling System should cost less to maintain and keep up with.  The POC is highly portable ie.. easy to take trips with, but is limited on flow rates vs size/weight.  For a highly active, well traveled COPD patient in the early stages of disease - the POC may be the ideal choice.  For a relatively sedentary/non-traveling patient with high liter flow needs - the Transfill should be the device of choice.

The Transfill Folks need to show the costs involved in maintaining a POC - in some cases limited warrenty, cost of batteries that will need replacing within 5 years, unproven reliability, etc....