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You say tomato, I say tomahto?

You say tomato, I say tomahto?

Is there a provider that doesn't like a good lead? As long as it's legal? (Which, BTW, is good question as we've learned from “Operation Brace Yourself.”)

I remember talking to a provider once about Inogen and the provider said the amount of advertising they do almost makes up for the fact that they're also a competitor. Inogen has arguably done the most to raise the awareness of POCs to the point where Mr. Smith goes into an HME company asking for an Inogen. It has become the Kleenex of POCs. But Mr. Smith doesn't necessarily want to buy from Inogen; he wants to buy from a local company; and this provider is up for the task.

So I was surprised when I was talking to providers about ResMed's new pilot program called Oxyensure and one provider told me: “I have access to patients. I don't need them putting up a website to help me get access to patients.”

One part of serves as a lead-generation service of sorts for HME providers. If Mr. Smith lands on the website and wants the Oxyensure POC (ResMed's Mobi POC re-branded) and he wants to use insurance, the website will direct him to a provider in his area who can help, if that's what he prefers. The other part of the website serves as a direct-to-consumer service for patients who want to pay cash.

This provider believes that manufacturers that offer POCs to cash paying customers—and insurance using customers, for that matter—are barking up the wrong tree.

Once more providers adopt a non-delivery model and fold in more and more POCs into their fleet, this provider says Mr. Smith is going to choose them over a website or a telephone. Every. Single. Time. Sure, the transition isn't happening very fast, this provider acknowledges, but it's happening.

This is the opposite of what Inogen says conference call after conference call to discuss its latest financial results. Even when its business-to-business sales are tracking ahead of its direct-to-consumer sales, it says it's the latter they're banking on being the leader in the long term.

Who's right? This POC space sure is interesting— and getting more interesting.


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