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Key to diabetes market? Patient self-care

Key to diabetes market? Patient self-care

Diabetes patients want to be empowered to gain more control over the management of their disease and that should be the top consideration for HME providers in charge of their care, specialists in the field say. 

Elaine Anderson, head of the Eversense CGM Business Unit at Parsippany, N.J.-based Ascensia Diabetes Care, contends that patient choice is a significant driver in diabetes and other products in the medical supplies category. 

“As we learn more about certain conditions and more tools available for managing them, patients are looking for more autonomy over their own health care options,” Anderson said. “We think this is a great thing because no one else knows a patients’ condition better than they do, particularly in diabetes. Empowering people to make the choices that work best for them is important, so we are pleased to see this trend driving the industry forward.” 

Patient self-care at home also appears to be the format of the future as a result of models like hospital-at-home gaining traction and advancements in treatment, such as the development of new medications and technologies, contributing to the growth of the diabetes market. 

“Future growth in HME will be around the hospital-at-home model, allowing patient care to be delivered at home, reducing costs, improving outcomes and making a better overall experience for the patient,” said Jodi Rohlwing Hettich, vice president of business development for North Bergen, N.J.-based DermaRite Industries. “HMEs that adapt to this model can capture part of the estimated $265 billion worth of care services that will shift to home by 2025. Providers that build on this model can be the conduit between hospital and the patient.”  

Latest technology 

Other contributors to the growth and changing care model are advancements in treatment, such as the development of new medications and technologies like CGMs and insulin pumps, said Laura Casto, senior marketing manager for Strongsville, Ohio-based GEMCO Medical. 

“The increasing adoption of these devices and treatments by health care providers and patients, as well as the increasing coverage of these devices by insurance companies, are also driving the growth of the diabetes market,” she said. 

Holistic approach 

To capitalize on the potential of the diabetes market, providers need to take a holistic approach by carrying a wide range of products, Casto said. 

“Patients want a one-stop shop for all their needs and to offer cross-sell opportunities,” she said. “Diabetes is a chronic condition that leads to repeat purchases on items such as CGM sensors, infusion sets, glucose test strips and lancets. Also, by providing an education and ongoing support arm, DME providers will build stronger relationships with their patient base, which will lead to increased loyalty and improved health outcomes for patients.” 

Moreover, hospitals are looking to partner with HMEs to offer a total solution for their patients, Rohlwing Hettich said. 

“HMEs that can build on their current model and offer more services will prevail in the future,” she said. “If your company currently focuses on diabetes management, ostomy or urologic, look at offering wound care. Offering a patient a one-place solution for all their care reduces patient stress and makes you more valuable to partner with.”  

More specialization?  

Anderson added, however, that it may be helpful for HME companies to focus their expertise in one or two key areas to help ensure that they are delivering the best possible products in their market.  

“At Ascensia, we focus solely on diabetes, which allows us to have a deep and thorough understanding of the condition and what people living with it are looking for,” she said. “We see this as fundamental to our success, but it’s also important to keep a broad eye on what is happening in the industry. Not only does this allow you to design products with holistic health care in mind, but it can help you identify potential partners and collaborations.”  

Partnership potential 

The main challenges in the diabetes space have been the reimbursement and keeping up with emerging technologies, sources said.  

“Reimbursement for diabetes medical supplies can vary depending on the country and region, which can lead to challenges for both prescribers and DME providers based on the patient’s type of coverage,” Casto said. ‘Further, keeping up with new and emerging technology can be difficult for DME providers as they need to keep up with training and updating inventory. They need a partner that can provide invaluable support.” 

Another challenge is the cost of diabetes medical supplies to the patient, which can be a barrier for those unable to afford them, Casto said.  

“Because diabetes is a chronic condition and patients often require lifelong treatment and check-ins, it can lead to non-compliance and affect the treatment outcome,” she said. “Additionally, many patients may not be fully educated on how to use diabetes medical supplies, which can lead to poor outcomes and increased health care costs. Some patients may have limited access to diabetes supplies due to a lack of availability or geographic barriers.”


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