HMESA ratifies product framework

Sunday, April 18, 2004

April 19, 2004

WILMINGTON, Del. -   An industry coalition ratified a new, structured framework last Monday that standardizes the names of HME products, establishes a hierarchy of product categories and sets units of measure.
Like a Dewey Decimal System for the HME industry, the new framework, or schema, seeks the creation of a common vernacular that will allow products to be easily tracked through a supplier’s or a manufacturer’s system.
“We’re enthusiastic that this is going to be a big win for the industry, said Steve Neese, president of HMESA and vice president of customer service and eBusiness at Invacare. “Most of the big players in the industry have been involved, and now we’re hoping to get smaller companies involved, too.”
HMESA’s schema divides industry products into six market categories — homecare furnishings, rehab, respiratory, personal care / patient aids, sleep and supplies — and then sub-divides further by segment, class, group and an individual model number. Historical inconsistencies in nomenclature and units of measure have hampered efforts to track individual products within the supply chain.
For example, while one manufacturer may refer to a lightweight wheelchair, another may refer to the same kind of chair as an ultralightweight. While one manufacturer might ship four walkers in a single carton, the supplier who wants to order one walker may end up with one carton.
Under the new schema, every manufactured product will be assigned, by its own manufacturer, to a market, segment, class and group. That numerical lineage can then become a part of the product’s identity on a bar code, on invoices, in catalogs, on claims, following the product through the supply chain.