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Reinvention and redemption

Reinvention and redemption

I emailed Theresa on Thursday morning to say I was taking a breather from the March issue that day to work on the educational program for the HME New Business Summit. Yup, it must be nearly February.

I start allowing the thought of the Summit to enter my frontal lobe (that's the one responsible for “high-level mental functions,” or so my Google search just told me) some time in January, and by Feb. 1, it's go-time. By April 1, the panic attacks start setting in (joking, not joking).

So beware, in the next few months: This is when every story idea I get, every person I talk to, every article I read turns into a potential session for the Summit.

Case in point: I was talking to Robert Wilkins, the CEO of SoClean, on Thursday for a story about the company's recent investment from DW Healthcare Partners. I had no idea of the company's origins. Apparently, Wilkins was helping to run a company that made machines that cleaned DVDs and Blu-rays for Blockbuster when that industry started going downhill. “We saw that it wasn't long in the tooth,” he said.

But Wilkins, who has had a hand in running 11 startups, mostly in the tech industry, felt the company was the perfect incubator—it had pick and pack, it had engineering, it had design, it had customer service. So he challenged the company to come up with different business ideas, and they came up with 15. The one that stuck: a business making CPAP cleaning and sanitizing devices.

Wilkins said he didn't even know what a CPAP device was at the time, but when he started looking into the market, it was eye-opening.

“How big the market was, how pervasive of a problem cleaning the equipment is,” he said. “I thought, 'There's a true need for this.'”

As I was listening to Wilkins talk (and please do check out the story on SoClean in an upcoming HME Newswire and the March issue of HME News), I couldn't help but think, what a great story of reinvention and redemption. You know who needs stories about reinvention and redemption? HME providers.

I also spoke with Katherine Royster, the executive vice president of business development for Classic SleepCare, on Thursday. She said Classic SleepCare was ready to close its doors when a Hail Mary decision to offshore its back-office operations to nurses in the Philippines not only saved the company but also spurred a new company, HealthScope Services Division, to offer the same services to other sleep providers. Did I mention they have private investment behind the idea?

Good stuff, right? It just may be coming to a Summit near you…well, if you live in Georgia, because the Summit will be in Savannah this year (At the DeSoto, I hear, though Rick Rector is still keeping that close to the vest for now).

If you don't live in Georgia, don't let that stop you from coming to the Summit. Come one, come all, and stay tuned.


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