Wireless platform saves providers a trip

Thursday, March 17, 2011

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. - VirtuOx plans to launch in April a wireless overnight oximetry platform that company officials say will save HME providers $50 to $75 per test by eliminating at least one trip to a patient's home.

Here's how it works: An HME provider drops off one of VirtuOx's VPOD Freedom Pulse Oximeters at a patient's home. The patient self-administers the test and the device uploads the data automatically to the Virtuox Standard Management tool and sends a report to the prescribing physician. The provider then logs into the tool and sees whether or not the physician has qualified the patient for oxygen therapy. If the patient does qualify, the provider returns to the patient's home not only to pick up the device but also to administer the appropriate oxygen therapy and services.

"For a few years now, we've been working to provide more value-add across the supply chain," said Felix Krupczynski, COO of VirtuOx. "We don't just want to process DME tests. With the industry, as a whole, moving toward economical efficiencies, we're asking ourselves, 'What can we do to provide additional services?'"

With a non-wireless platform, an HME provider has to return to the patient's home to pick up the device, bring it back to his office and upload the data manually.

A wireless platform also comes in handy, Krupczynski says, when something goes wrong with the test, like the patient doesn't wear the device properly or the device collects insufficient data. This happens about 10% to 15% of the time, he says. Instead of finding out there's a problem after picking up the device, driving to the office and uploading data manually, forcing another trip to the house to drop off the device again, with a wireless platform, all a provider has to do is pick up the phone.

"Just call and ask him to wear it again," Krupczynski said.

Using VirtuOx's wireless platform, of course, isn't free. It costs $399 to buy the oximeter and $29.99 per device per month for service.

But the service fee doesn't scare off HME provider Scott Lloyd, who already pays similar fees to use wireless modems to monitor the compliance of his CPAP patients.

"The only way to look at it is, it's a reasonable way to offset expenses," said Lloyd, co-founder and president of Extrakare in Norcross, Ga. "These are the small incremental ways to save money that we get really excited about."