Radtke aims to boost 'captive' oxygen cash sales

Thursday, April 21, 2011

SAN DIEGO – Four years after retiring from SeQual Technologies, founder Ed Radtke is back with a new company and a new mission—to help providers reap elusive oxygen-related cash sales.

Radtke’s new venture, Captive Technologies, launched late last year with a single product, the O2 Talon, a plier-like device retailing for $17.95 that disconnects tubing from the barb of a regulator, concentrator or other device.

In focus groups, Radtke heard patients—particularly those with arthritis—complain of difficulty removing their tubing. Providers told him “they would get calls, ‘I can’t get the cannula off this regulator. Can you send someone to help me?’” he said.

Radtke said there’s untapped potential in cash sales of oxygen supplies, potential the industry has overlooked with a reimbursement-centered mindset.

“The first question (about) a new product always was, ‘What’s the HCPCS code?’” said Radtke. “It was the kiss of death if there wasn’t one.”

The O2 Talon is just the first in Radtke’s line of cash-based oxygen products; next up is an as-yet-unnamed product designed to manage the tangle of 50-foot tubing that tethers patient to concentrator.

Respiratory therapist Oren Cobb of Abundant Home Care in Poway, Calif., was an early adopter of the O2 Talon, which he displays in his showroom and stocks in company trucks. Patients who have used it “have seen the advantage of it,” said Cobb, yet he remains skeptical of oxygen’s cash-market potential.

Such skepticism doesn’t surprise nor deter Radtke.

“It is a mindset change,” he said. “We’re not surprised when providers push back.”

Where Radtke’s cash-chasing mission takes Captive Technologies next will be driven by listening closely to patients.

“There are complaints about noise,” he said. “Is there a way to reduce that? Probably. When you talk to patients, there’s a laundry list of wants.”