Success proves hard to manage

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Home Oxygen 2-U may have been a victim of its own success, growing so fast that it had a tough time servicing all the business that came its way.
In June 2004, about six months after it began doing business, Home Oxygen 2-U leased 17,000 square feet of office space in Lawrence, Kan., and set up a call center. The company's cable TV ad campaign touted Invacare's Venture HomeFill, which is intended to provide respiratory patients greater freedom by allowing them to fill oxygen cylinders at home.
By the time the company sold in early April 2005, it had built a patient base of about 4,000+ respiratory patients, estimated industry watchers.
When a potential oxygen patient called in requesting information on the HomeFill, a call center employee connected the person with the nearest Home Oxygen 2-U provider, said a Home Oxygen 2-U employee.
"They had a successful model, but they needed someone like Lincare or Apria take it over because they were stretching their own credibility to service all those patients," said an industry source. "It was like mail order. They'd advertised and had 800 numbers, and then all of a sudden they had an oxygen patient some place and had to scramble to provide coverage. It's not like shipping off a VCR to a person." HME