Invacare tackles industry's image problem

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

ELYRIA, Ohio - Invacare's new Web site is a gateway into the company and its subsidiaries, but it's also much more than that, said Lou Slangen, senior vice president of worldwide market development. Here's what Slangen told HME News about the site (, which went live April 16.

HME News: In reviewing your new Web site, the first thing I noticed was that it emphasizes people, not products. Why is that?

Lou Slangen: We are in the people business. It is very important that people who visit our site, particularly consumers, get a very good feeling about this company and the products that improve their lives.

HME: For the most part, it seems, the HME industry has not done a good job of that.

Slangen: That has hurt the industry and put us on the defensive and not where we should be. We have to improve the perception and get it closer to the reality. And you know what is wonderful? We don't have to make anything up. It is real.

HME: For example?

Slangen: When you see people with disabilities racing in the Boston Marathon...or people up and about with oxygen... people in power chairs who would have needed an attendant 10 years ago. These are real. We are not making anything up. The problem is we have not been able to prove this--partly because we are a young industry, partly because CMS has given out all these supplier numbers to a small percentage of crooks. The reality of what we are doing is very different. (With the new Web site), we are changing the perception out here that it is just a piece of equipment that a provider drops off on the front porch. It is not. We are putting the industry and our selves at a higher level in the continuum of healthcare.