Quantum, Permobil elevate technology

Friday, March 20, 2015

For both Quantum Rehab and Permobil, coming out with new seat elevation technology is a labor of love.

The technology is not covered by Medicare, and only sometimes covered by other payers, such as Medicaid, private insurance and the Veterans Affairs.

“Often we’re too handcuffed by reimbursement,” said Jean Sayre, senior director of R&D and clinical development at Quantum Rehab and an occupational therapist and assistive technology professional.

Quantum Rehab in February released iLevel, a seat elevation technology available on the company’s Q6 Edge 2.0 power wheelchair base. It elevates up to 10 inches in 24 seconds and, thanks to stabilizing electronics and suspension, allows travel up to 3mph in an upright position. The company’s previous technology elevated up to 10 inches at 40 to 45 seconds, and allowed travel up to 1.25mph.

For Quantum, the driving force behind iLevel was filling a need in the market, Sayre says.

“It’s really the result of listening to the end user,” she said. “It was our CEO, Scott Meuser, who was out with our Edge team, who noticed that the seat elevation was taking too long. They told him, ‘We don’t use it because of that.’”

Permobil believes if it takes care of users first, the rest will take care of itself.

“We typically don’t start from what can get funded, but how we can provide additional functionality for the user,” said David Algood, a global portfolio manager for Permobil.

Permobil in February was awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration for three new models, including the F5 Corpus VS complex rehab standing seat. The VS includes an anterior posterior tilt module that allows users to elevate up to 14 inches but maintain three continuous points of contact for additional stability. The company’s previous technology elevated up to eight inches.

“While already providing 50 degrees of posterior tilt, adding elevate functionality to the AP tilt module allows users to consider an optional package that provides up to 45 degrees of anterior tilt,” Algood said. “This opens up a whole new world of functional reach opportunities.”