Kimberly Snyder: Travel O2 generates cash

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Any HME provider who's served the traveling oxygen patient knows how complicated it can be. Arrange for in-flight oxygen at elevated airline prices. Provide to-the-gate oxygen for the departing flight. Secure an out-of-town provider to meet your patient at arrival and service them during their visit. Then get ready to do it all again when they return. The arrival of portable oxygen concentrator technology has turned traveling patients from a hassle into an opportunity, says Respironics' Kimberly Snyder.
At Medtrade Spring, Snyder will pre ent a session titled "Portable Oxygen Retail Opportunities for Homecare Providers," which will outline how portable concentrators can boost patient freedom and your bottom line.
Here's an advance look.
HME News: Describe this new revenue opportunity that you'll be sharing with providers at Medtrade Spring.
Kimberly Snyder: I'll be discussing how HME providers can generate new revenue by selling or renting portable oxygen concentrators to patients. Domestic and international airlines have recently begun allowing this equipment on flights, which opens up new rental opportunities for providers.
HME: Since oxygen is a traditionally reimbursement-based business, how big of a mindset change is this for providers?
Snyder: Providers need to approach this market differently. They have to understand how it will affect the mechanics of patient care, how they'll service patients remotely, clinical best practices, how they'll charge, what accessories they should offer, extended warranties and the like.
HME: What kind of reaction do you typically get from providers when you propose this concept to them?
Snyder: Reaction has been very positive. More providers are looking at ways to grow profitability and reduce costs by using different product mixes. The biggest thing they ask is, 'How do I get started?'
HME: So what advice do you give them for getting started?
Snyder: Providers have to establish what they want to accomplish and the steps to get there. Do they want to focus on a travel program? Should they market to existing patients for rent or sale or both? How will they manage the program? Do they have the proper clinicians on staff?
HME: What's the key to achieving success with this kind of program?
Snyder: Providers who are successful focus on patient care. It's a retail sale but it is a medical device. They have to make sure they have the proper clinical devices, test them properly, make sure they're aware of specific travel policies and understand the logistics of traveling patients.
HME: Are there common misconceptions about portable oxygen concentrators?
Snyder: That every portable oxygen concentrator is the same. Portable oxygen concentrators vary in terms of size, weight, battery life and the amount of oxygen they deliver. Providers have to understand those differences to match the right patient to the right device. HME