Two new interesting, one odd


I wrote a story for the January issue, which we're wrapping up tomorrow, about consolidation in the manufacturing market for home medical equipment. Since then, there have been two stories that have come across my desk about new players in the market—one interesting (ArjoHuntleigh) and one odd (Sanomedics).

ArjoHuntleigh announced on Dec. 5 that it was creating a homecare division. ArjoHuntleigh Home Care will offer a range of products that aid in the caring of individuals at home, including patient handling systems, hygiene systems, therapeutic surfaces, medical beds, lymphedema treatment and bariatric care. I had never heard of the company, but an industry source emailed me upon hearing the news:

"They are based in Europe but are becoming very strong in the United States. Arjo owns the patient lift market in hospitals and LTC (long-term care). I think they will become a player in home care with most of their products."

ArjoHuntleigh is known for its its Sara line of standing-and-raising aides, Voyager and Maxi-Sky ceiling lifts, Freedom bathing system, Minuet bed and Nimbus/DFS therapeutic surfaces.

I'm curious: What does this mean for the manufacturers in this market that have already targeted the homecare segment? (ArjoHuntleigh is going to be a force to be reckoned with; its website states that it sells products in more than 100 countries and it has 4,111 employees.) What will be its model for home care? (Its website states: "In the long-term care and acute care segments, we work through a direct sales force, whereas in home care, we mainly work through distributors and dealers.")

Sanomedics announced Dec. 12 that it has signed a letter of intent to acquire a $6 million DME provider with a platform in sleep apnea treatment services. Miami-based Sanomedics is known for its baby and pet thermometers. I'm not sure about the synergies between CPAP devices and thermometers, but Co-founder and President Keith Houlihan stated:

"This acquisition is the first step in our strategy as a sleep medicine based business. As a pioneer in developing innovative health solutions, this acquisition is a bridge between the high-technology medical world and the growing home healthcare environment."

I'm curious: Who is this unnamed DME provider? What will be Sanomedics' model for providing sleep apnea treatment services? It sounds like it has significant product development experience, but developing and manufacturing products is a lot different than providing them. Will it develop and manufacture a new sleep apnea treatment and use the DME company as a base for distribution?

Stay tuned. We start reporting on the February issue Wednesday.

Liz Beaulieu