Travel CPAP ready for ‘next wave’

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Friday, April 6, 2018

YARMOUTH, Maine – Providers expect to see sales of travel CPAPs increase as the devices become more visible in the public domain.

“You had the initial surge of early adopters who tend to be early tech adopters,” said Jay Levitt, founder of San Diego-based Lofta. “Now we are seeing a bigger second wave, in which people are seeing them being used on airplanes or reading accolades about them. People are buying them.”

There are four primary travel devices currently on the market: ResMed’s AirMini and Philips’ DreamStation Go, both of which launched in 2017; Somnetics’ Transcend; and Human Design Medical’s Z1.

Travel devices help to address a major pain point of therapy for many sleep apnea sufferers.

“There’s a big benefit to being able to set up in under a minute in a hotel room or go camping,” said Levitt. “We do hear from a lot of people who, when they travel, don’t use their CPAP and we lecture them about that. You don’t get any nights off from sleep apnea.”

It doesn’t hurt that travel devices look more like consumer electronics than medical devices, says Levitt.

“The AirMini looks like it could have come from Apple,” he said. “People see it as a technology device related to sleep, so it doesn’t have that negative connotation.”

Provider Robyn Parrott has carried the Transcend for several years and also offers the AirMini and DreamStation Go.

“Males that travel quite a bit—businessmen—it’s easier for them,” said Parrott, president of Troy, Mich.-based Sleep Solutions. “It’s a pain to carry a big unit with them.”

Levitt makes it clear to customers that travel devices are meant to be secondary devices. They still need a more traditional unit for home use.

“We sell the travel device as a product for travel and portability,” he said. “When you are home, it doesn’t see the light of day.”

One interesting phenomenon Levitt has noticed: Travel devices themselves are leading people to seek help for sleep apnea.

“They look at it as this cool device that will help them sleep and they find out it requires a prescription,” he said. “That opens the conversation of what’s going on when they are sleeping and often leads them to the diagnosis path.”