Connected technology ramps up

CAIRE, Invacare join growing list of manufacturers that offer smarter oxygen concentrators
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Friday, November 3, 2017

YARMOUTH, Maine – With so much on the line, HME providers can’t afford not to use connected technology with their oxygen concentrators, manufacturers say.

Dan Van Hise of CAIRE says health systems want to know when they discharge a patient with COPD, that the provider supplying them with oxygen will do everything they can to keep them from coming back.

“We’re hearing loud and clear from very large health systems that they want to work with providers that have the best solutions to managing their patients in the home,” said Van Hise, vice president of marketing for the BioMedical Division at Chart Industries, which owns CAIRE. “If a provider doesn’t keep them in the home and the patient goes back to the hospital, they’re going to have a black eye.”

CAIRE in October launched CAIREview powered by SynsorMed, a mobile app and software that uses Bluetooth technology to track the location of its Companion 5 stationary oxygen concentrator and Eclipse 5 POC and troubleshoot alarm codes. More importantly, it also monitors their performance and patient use.

Andrew Malcolmson of Invacare says while connected technology for oxygen concentrators certainly provides “near-term wins” for providers from an inventory management perspective, he agrees “the real payoffs, here, are clinical.”

“Where we want to get to is avoiding patient exacerbations and unplanned ER visits,” said Malcolmson, vice president of health informatics for Invacare. “That’s powerful clinically, economically and from a quality of life standpoint.”

Invacare also in October launched an O2 Connectivity Platform that comprises a Platinum Mobile Oxygen Concentrator that transmits data using a Bluetooth-enabled dongle, the Piccolo O2 App for patients and the O2 Provider Portal.

Because capital investments are a tough sell in today’s HME market, Invacare has made the technology, as it currently exists, a value-add for the Platinum. CAIRE charges a one-time fee per patient of $20 for CAIREview.

“That could be paid by the DME or the patient or even healthcare networks, which are seeing the benefit of this,” Van Hise said. “Twenty dollars to manage a patient at home is much less expensive than the cost of a hospital admission.”

Malcolmson says the Internet of Things is changing how health care is delivered—and home health care is no different. It’s a ship providers can’t let sail without them.

“The telehealth/digital health ecosystem is large and ever expanding and complex, and we really need to understand how we fit in,” he said. “We’re just getting started.”