ResMed's new S9 sleep series

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

POWAY, Calif. - ResMed's new silver and black S9 CPAP may look like an expensive piece of bling (as the wife of one user described it), but it's much more than an attractive shell, say company officials. "We surveyed more than 1,000 patients," said Mick Farrell, senior vice president, global sleep, "and here are the top three reasons for people discontinuing therapy: 1. discomfort; 2. inconvenience or embarrassment; 3. noise. We set as our mission to address those concerns." The S9 series includes a CPAP and AutoSet. ResMed released the S9 series in the United States Feb. 26. Earlier this month, Farrell and Drew Terry, senior director of product management, discussed the S9 and other issues related to the sleep market.

HME News: The S9 has gathered kudos for its sleek, modern design, but you seem particularly excited about SlimLine tubing and climate control. Why is that?

Mick Farrell: Tubing has been the same size and shape for 20 years. We have reduced the size of the tubing by about 30% and what that does is reduce tube drag. It reduces potential mask leaks, and the lighter weight tubing is less likely to cause arousals during the night.

HME: What is climate control?

Farrell: We put a temperature sensor at the end of the tubing, right at the entrance of the mask. You can set it for 72 degrees and then forget about it. Those two features, SlimLine tubing and climate control, together, are huge benefits on comfort and compliance. With the climate line, there is a reimbursement code for heated tubing and our price point is such that the dealer can make as many or more dollars working with the climate line tubing.

HME: Speaking of reimbursement, how does S9 fit into the current reimbursement scheme?

Drew Terry: This device is going to be very comparable to the devices that are out there, even with all of the additional features.

HME: Estimates say that 40 million people in the United States have sleep disordered breathing, but only 4 million to 6 million have been treated or diagnosed. With utilization set to potentially explode, where do you see reimbursement going?

Farrell: Clearly the unit payment for each device and each mask going out there has been reduced and will probably continue to be reduced over time. Our challenge is cost effectiveness, and that does not mean a low purchase price. It means a total lower cost of ownership. It means having a wireless device that requires fewer drive-outs and call-ups so you don't have to spend as much on gas and transport. It could mean that a device has higher reliability and quality. Our job is to sit down with our HME partners and our physicians and say, "What would make you more cost effective and how can we help you do that?''