Medline launches respiratory division

Sunday, January 15, 2006

MUNDELEIN, Ill. - Medline, the nation's largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of medical supplies, launched a respiratory division last week dedicated to meeting the growing demand for respiratory products and services.

"Over the past 10 years we've experienced tremendous growth in respiratory sales, averaging close to 30% per year," said Medline Respiratory Division President Dennis Cook. "There are more than 40 million people in the United States with some type of respiratory ailment, ranging from asthma to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to obstructive sleep apnea to pneumonia. We want to provide our customers with the best service, so we really needed to invest in this market."

Cook noted that as the baby boomer generation gets older, demand for respiratory products will also increase. In fact, Census Bureau projections indicate that by 2030, one in five Americans will be age 65 or older.

Medline's respiratory group will include a team of engineers working on the development of a series of new products. The new division will offer continuing education, and its staff will include several clinicians serving as product managers. The clinical expertise will help both Medline engineers and customers to better understand this complex product area, according to a company statement.

"We're dealing with products that can literally mean the difference between life and death, so it is imperative that we have the expertise in-house to make sure we are providing our customers the technical know-how to provide better care for their patients," Cook said.

Medline chose Cook, a Cary, Ill.-based licensed respiratory therapist for more than 17 years, to head up the new division. Cook joined Medline in 1999 as vice president of the DME division and served in that position until now.

In other news, Medline has launched a Bariatric Readiness program to help hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities to prepare for an expected increase in obese patients.

Obesity rates have more than doubled since 1980, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Medline has seen its bariatric product business quadruple over the past five years, according to a company statement.

Medline developed the program after a yearlong research project. It provides a detailed breakdown of areas and service points that healthcare facilities shouldn't overlook in caring for obese patients. The program provides rules of thumb for everything from tables to chairs.