Top Honors

HMEB's 2021 New Product Winners: A closer look at what makes them so special

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Photo © nikkytok/depositphotos.com

For the past eight years, HME Business has offered its New Products award as a way to honor outstanding product development achievements by HME manufacturers and service providers in the industry.

To ensure this is an award program by providers and for providers, a panel of provider judges selected for their expertise in various product categories reviews and scores the entries. That’s not an easy task, given the flood of entries we get for the annual competition.

In fact, the 2021 edition of the awards program had a lot of neck-and-neck competition between many entrants in some specific categories. We saw that in particular with accreditation, specialized business technology solutions, power and manual wheelchairs, and in-home respiratory equipment. So there was a lot of judging to be done by our panel of HME provider judges, to whom HMEB is grateful for offering their time and expertise.

The result: this year’s competition produced 15 winning products were selected across 14 categories (with a tie in one category, in-home respiratory products).

The WINNERS of the 2021 New Products are:

Access - Home
Highlander II from Harmar

Accreditation and Certification Services
ACHC Distinction in Clinical Respiratory Patient Management from Accreditation Commission for Health Care

Business Technology – Specialized Solutions
Telehealth Clinical Evals from ATLAS

HME Business Services
Distributed Warehousing / Service / Deploy: All-in-One Services from Quality Biomedical

Incontinence & Urology Supplies
Cure Dextra Closed System from Cure Medical

Mobility – Power & Manual Wheelchairs
4Front 2 Power Chair from Quantum Rehab

Mobility Walking Aids
CardioAccelerator by UPWalker from LifeWalker Mobility Products

Respiratory – In-Home Equipment (a tie)
BiWaze Airway Clearance System from ABM Respiratory Care
Vivo 45 LS from Breas Medical

Retail
VivaLift! Radiance PLR-3955 from Pride Mobility Products

Seating and Positioning
Softech Pressure Relief Cushion System from Aquila Corp.

Sleep – Resupply Items & Related Sleep Products
F&P Evora from Fisher & Paykel Healthcare

Sleep – Therapy Systems
Optipillows EPAP Mask from Optipillows

Women’s Health Products
Amoena Balance Adapt Air Breast Shapers from Amoena USA Corp.

Wound Care
Chipflow Full Leg and Calf & Foot from Sigvaris Group

So, without further introduction, let’s get to take a closer look at 2021’s winners and see what makes them so special:

ACCESS – HOME

Highlander II from Harmar
harmar.com

The Highlander II represents a new generation and evolution in vertical platform lift (VPLs) for Harmar. The updated design is visually appealing, and in functionality, provides a smoother, quieter, stable ride. Plus, LED lights give continual performance feedback from the lift’s control board. These new technologies introduced with the Highlander II make this VPL series more reliable, easier to use, service, troubleshoot, and the premier market choice for platform lift solutions.

“As we talked to dealers and end-users, we learned that customers typically start with a search for a ramp,” says Steve Dawson, CEO of Harmar. “Once people realize a ramp takes up so much space, that often leads them to look for something more compact.”

Dawson adds that providers of accessibility solutions that haven’t added VPLs to their lineups should reconsider that decision.

“Many of our distributors start out with a single product focus (stairlifts or vehicle lifts), but soon learn that having a full suite of products can meet more of their customers’ needs,” he explains. “Many distributors may not have VPL installation capabilities, but Harmar’s LiftSquad Installation team can install these for them and help them extend their geographical reach.”

ACCREDITATION AND CERTIFICATION SERVICES

Distinction in Clinical Respiratory Patient Management from Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC)
www.achc.org

The ACHC Distinction in Clinical Respiratory Patient Management recognizes the importance of respiratory care and specialty services, which have expanded significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earning this recognition certifies excellence in managing respiratory conditions for home-based patients. Emphasis is on a collaborative, teams-based approach that encompasses assessment, treatment, documentation, and education to enhance patients’ quality of life and reduce hospital readmissions.

BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY – SPECIALIZED SOLUTIONS

Telehealth Clinical Evals from ATLAS
telehealthevals.com

Serving providers of complex power and manual mobility equipment, as well as consumer power and manual mobility equipment evaluation, Telehealth Clinical Evals’ team of licensed physicians and licensed therapists provide face-toface clinical mobility evaluations and PT/OT clinical mobility evaluations via audio and video conference technology and FaceTime with Apple iPhones and iPads.

The company specializes in HIPPAcompliant, convenient, and efficient telehealth evaluations for patients needing mobility evaluations. Telehealth Clinical Evals uses custom software that automates the evaluation process so that an evaluation to be scheduled quickly and the final report is delivered to the provider after the evaluation is completed.

Before sending the evaluation report to the provider, the completed report undergoes a quality review by a team with decades of experience managing thousands of evaluations to prevent conflicts. All evaluations come with the attestation that there is no financial relationship with the provider as there is no cost to the provider for this service.

After conducting hundreds of CRT clinician evaluations, it became very apparent that the eval process could be properly conducted remotely and was more suitable to the comfort level and far less stressful to the patient, according to TeleHealth Clinical Evals CEO Bill Paul.

“It’s always about patient needs,” Paul says, underscoring the need for these services. “If the clinics are closed due to the pandemic, the patient can’t see clinicians for the necessary evaluation documentation for payers. Therefore, the patient will suffer without the required medical equipment they need.

“By integrating Telehealth into the provider’s business, their ability to serve the patient will be enhanced,” he adds. “… When the patient can’t come to the clinician, then the clinician can remotely come to the patient.

HME BUSINESS SERVICES

Distributed Warehousing / Service / Deploy: All-in-One Services from Quality Biomedical
qualitybiomedical.com

Managing a “fleet” of respiratory equipment can become an exponentially difficult and costly undertaking, particularly for larger providers. HME respiratory companies and OEMs can reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction utilizing Quality Biomedical’s eight regional combination warehouse and service centers to handle all aspects of respiratory equipment management. This includes logistics, warehousing, deployment, and preventative and corrective maintenance services, all powered and controlled via a cloud-based platform. Quality Biomedical says it manages “everything respiratory,” including ventilators, oxygen concentrators, CPAP and BiPAP devices, apnea monitors, cough assist, POCs, and more.

“Multi-Location HMEs incur excessive cost in both physical infrastructure, staff, logistics and capital investment in respiratory equipment,” says Jim Worrell, Chief Commercial Officer for Quality Biomedical. “These costly items can be better managed by an integrated supply chain provider like QB, that shares these costly services across multiple customers and additionally integrates all repair services into one cost-effective solution.” Bearing that in mind, Quality Biomedical has emphasized making its procedures work with providers’ established workflows and systems.

“The solutions had to avoid being burdensome to the people who had to operate it,” Worrell explains. “… Our integration with Brightree allows a seamless workstream for smart HME companies to retain 100 percent positive control over their assets in a way that they never had before.”

INCONTINENCE & UROLOGY SUPPLIES

Cure Dextra Closed System from Cure Medical
curemedical-dextra.com

The Cure Dextra Closed System serves a broad market of able-bodied catheter users and those with limited hand dexterity. It offers proprietary attributes that are intended to facilitate ease of use, increase independence, and reduce the risk of infections:

  • A support band (on the back of the bag) enables controlled use.
  • Exclusive tip advancing technology with Gripper Arrow moves the prelubricated catheter from the 1000 ml collection bag into the body without contact. The catheter advances with each forward stroke. It does not retract. Sterile catheterization is possible without gloves.
  • Finger holes on the tip cap and bag facilitate use.

It also includes smooth, polished eyelets for increased comfort, and it is made of quality materials and is not made with potentially harmful chemicals such as DEHP/DINP, BPA, or natural rubber latex. Although it is a clear upgrade to a traditional closed system catheter, it respects reimbursement models.

“Each unique product feature was inspired by user feedback and is intended to offer patient benefits and improve their cathing experience,” says Tim Palmer, vice president of Research and Development for Cure. “For example, the idea for creating a closed system that could be used with just one hand was inspired by a conversation with a patient who was starting to have difficulty cathing because of the progression of Multiple Sclerosis.

“That conversation occurred at about the same time that we were working on a new catheter locking mechanism,” he continues. “We already had a good working prototype of a pivoting valve that locked the catheter in one direction. When two of these locking devices were combined on a length of tube, we could advance the catheter and prevent it from retracting using one-hand.”

“Since Cure Medical was founded by a catheter user, we have a keen understanding of patient requirements and preferences for the self-intermittent catheterization (SIC) experience,” adds Cure CEO John Anderson. “In this case, improving ease of closed system catheter use was the objective. Achieving it translates into increasing independence — especially for the patients with limited dexterity or poor pinch strength.”

MOBILITY – POWER & MANUAL WHEELCHAIRS

4Front 2 Power Chair from Quantum Rehab
quantumrehab.com

The 4Front 2 is the next generation of Quantum’s 4Front Power Chair. New smart traction control (STC), along with smooth ride suspension (SRS), provide stability for smooth obstacle transitions and excellent driving performance. Additional new features include four-pole motors and redesigned caster arms for improved durability, aesthetics and reduced weight.

Standard features include four-pole motors; STC; superior automotive-grade SRS; superior driving performance and ride quality; advanced stability for smooth obstacle transitions; new aesthetics; redesigned caster arms for improved durability; weight savings; increased speeds up to 6.25 miles per hour; LED front and rear fender lights and quiet ride technology. Options include 10 in. of power-adjustable safe seat elevation at speeds of up to 3.5 miles per hour, the new Quantum backup camera, and 19 colors to choose from.

A wide variety of seating options are available and consist of TRU-Balance 3 Power Positioning Systems (power tilt, power recline, power elevating seat, power articulating foot platform and static seating); TRU-Balance Flex Seating and captain’s seating. The 4Front 2 is Medicare coded Standard (K0848/K0849), Single Power (K0856/K0857) and Multiple Power (K0861).

“We are always continuing to get consumer feedback and were challenged by our end users to take the 4Front and make it even better,” says Dave Bertz, vice president of Quantum Sales for Western America, who added that Quantum listened to that user feedback and added features like the RSR and STC, as well as the new four-pole motors.

“We also realized we had an opportunity to add to the options and recently debuted an HD option with a 450-lb. weight compacity,” he says. “I see this as another option in the front-wheel-drive market as well as a brand-new front-wheel-drive HD option. This gives wheelchair clinics, providers and end-users all exciting, new options from a basic Captain seat to a fully customizable power seating system, as well as a new HD product that offers power seating up to 450 lbs., and seat elevation of up to 400 lbs.”

MOBILITY WALKING AIDS

CardioAccelerator by UPWalker from LifeWalker Mobility Products
upwalker.com

The CardioAccelerator offers all the features and benefits of LifeWalker’s original UPWalker with added active cardio and upper body exercise.

ISO certified for indoor and outdoor use, the CardioAccelerator unit has reciprocating armrests that provide for a wide range of motion that helps users address muscle loss due to aging and invigorate muscle groups such as the arms, back, legs, core, and heart. The CardioAccelerator can be used as an exercise machine or as the original UPWalker.

Arm resistance increases with speed of reciprocating motion, and the exercise mode available while walking or while standing in a stationary position.

The CardioAccelerator lets users stand upright and look ahead with better support, greater dignity, and confidence to walk farther and remain more active. Clinical studies show that UPWalker technology improved walking posture, safer, more stable feeling, and reduced pain in legs, back, hands, and wrists.

Simple armrest adjustment for the perfect height in seconds, and cushioned sit-to-stand handles ease transition to standing position.

The device’s easy-folding design is lightweight for transporting and storage, and the sturdy frame supports a user weight capacity up to 300 lbs. Standard accessories include drink holder, seat backrest and personal bag.

RESPIRATORY – IN-HOME EQUIPMENT (TIE)

BiWaze Airway Clearance System from ABM Respiratory Care
abmrc.com

BiWaze is a respiratory therapy system that combines multiple therapies of assisted cough and lung expansion along with high-frequency oscillation. BiWaze breaks up and then removes mucus from the lungs by applying positive air pressure (inhale) to the airway and then rapidly shifting to negative air pressure (exhale).

After exhaling, the pause phase allows the user to rest before the next assisted cough cycle. BiWaze can provide positive pressure flow during the pause phase, so the person’s airways are stinted open after the exhale instead of being forcefully reopened with the next inhale.

BiWaze is the smallest and lightest assisted cough device on the market, according to ABM Respriatory Care. The low profile design and touch screen navigation make it a user friendly therapy. It has a built-in lithium-ion battery to enable therapy anytime, anywhere.

BiWaze is designed to provide cleaner care, easier implementation and a smarter solution.

RESPIRATORY – IN-HOME EQUIPMENT (TIE)

Vivo 45 LS from Breas Medical
breas.us

The Vivo 45 LS is one of the smallest, full-featured life support ventilators on the market and provides invasive and non-invasive continuous or intermittent ventilatory support in the home, post-acute, hospital, and portable applications for pediatric through adult patients weighing more than 11 lbs.

Designed to maximize patient independence and mobility with an ultra-small footprint, it also provides the comfortable eSync trigger technology along with ultra-quiet operation. It also provides etCO2, SpO2, FiO2 and PtCO2 monitoring and connection to EveryWare by Breas, a securely hosted cloud-based application, which can help deliver an insightful approach to home care of respiratory patients.

Additional features like eSync patient comfort promotes patient compliance, and remote connectivity to EveryWare using iLink cellular modem help reduce readmissions. The integrated patient monitoring, easy-to-navigate menus, iButton for instant help information, and support of leak, MPV and active exhalation valve circuits also ensure improved clinical workflow.

The device measures 8.50 in. x 6.26 in. x 5.98 in., weighs 5.3 lbs., and offers up to 7.5 hours of battery life.

“The formative rounds of product development really drove home quality of life challenges associated with traditional home ventilation solutions that the Vivo 45 LS design needed to mitigate,” says Mark Kolnsberg BSc, MBA, CPM, CBET, the senior director of product management and marketing for Breas Medical. “These were addressed by the Vivo 45 LS’s ultra-small, lightweight size; long battery life; quiet operation and leak independent patient breath triggering for comfortable ventilation.

RETAIL

VivaLift! Radiance PLR-3955 from Pride Mobility Products
www.pridemobility.com

The VivaLift! Radiance Power Lift Recliner belongs to Pride’s Radiance Collection, which offers three heating pads to help “melt away” muscle tightness, as well what Pride calls true infinite positioning to take relaxation to the next level.

With three heating pads located in the shoulder, lumbar and seat, the warmth of the VivaLift! Radiance PLR-3955 complements that infinite positioning. True infinite positioning gives precision and articulated control over each component of the power recliner separately, including the footrest, backrest and headrest. The recliner can be set to favorite positions like Trendelenburg or custom infinite position combinations.

Additional VivaLift! Radiance PLR-3955 features include a hideaway cup holder, a wireless phone charger, controllable lumbar support, power headrest, footrest extension and the standard lithium battery backup. A new ergonomic toggle remote has two programmable memory position buttons, as well as a USB port to conveniently charge smart devices.

SEATING AND POSITIONING

Softech Pressure Relief Cushion System from Aquila Corp.
aquilacorp.com

The SofTech is a custom fabricated alternating pressure relief cushion system specifically built to deal with pressure sores. Each cushion has a unique layout of internal air bladders and offloads to match the specific pressure-related needs of the client. The SofTech has clinical studies and data that demonstrate its efficacy in healing existing pressure sores of all stages as well as preventing new sores.

All system components are built into the base of the cushion, so there is no external box. There are three firmness selections within a user-specific pressure range which can be selected or changed via a pushbutton on the side of the cushion and indicated with an audible tone. There are low battery and low-pressure alarms and an optional moisture control fan built into the cushion, which comes on automatically along with the pump.

The cushion comes with a four-way stretch or an incontinent cover and has an 18-month warranty. There is no client weight limit, and Aquila can make almost any size cushion needed, according to the company.

The newest innovation for the SofTech is an automatic start/stop feature; the client doesn’t even need to touch the cushion to turn it on and off.

“Our purpose has always been to offer safer, smarter, better seating solutions for people who are prone to or have pressure injury,” says Steve P. Kohlman, president of Aquila Corp. “The SofTech design now offers clients the auto start/stop feature. Once the end-user transfers onto the SofTech it automatically turns on and begins its 60-second alternations of the two sets of internal air bladders. When the end-user transfers off, it cuts all power to the cushion. The cushion will remember the firmness chosen by the user and resume that setting the next day upon use.”

SLEEP – RESUPPLY ITEMS & RELATED SLEEP PRODUCTS

F&P Evora from Fisher & Paykel Healthcare
www.fphcare.com

The F&P Evora is Fisher & Paykel Healthcare’s newest compact nasal mask for the delivery of PAP therapy to treat obstructive sleep apnea. The mask features CapFit headgear, designed to be put on like a cap, as well as floating seal and stability wings, which are F&P’s next generation of Dynamic Support Technology. This gives patients freedom of movement while keeping the mask comfortably in place throughout the night.

“There’s an unmet need in the market to offer a compact nasal mask with a Headgear that can retain shape and can easily be worn and removed — with almost eyes closed,” says Subbarao Potharaju, director of marketing for homecare at Fisher & Paykel Healthcare. “F&P Evora has a unique CapFit technology Headgear which makes the whole process of wearing and removing the mask a very easy, intuitive and efficient process. Patients can, after the initial set up, can place the mask on and remove the mask with one easy one-handed movement.

Developing the Evora showed the F&P team how cumbersome some of the headgear assembly and disassembly process could be for patients, Potharaju says. “Especially if the patients are trying to remove or place the mask on, middle of the night and also if patients have any dexterity issues,” he adds.

Additionally, the Evora fits right into a sleep care world that’s seeing more care at a distance, Potharaju notes.

“F&P Evora is a great product solution for remote patient set-ups,” he says. “With its unique CapFit Technology headgear and combined with F&PmyMask App, F&P Evora can easily be explained to patients via a video call.”

SLEEP – THERAPY SYSTEMS

Optipillows EPAP Mask from Optipillows
optipillows.com

Optipillows EPAP Mask is a nasal mask that uses expiratory positive airway pressure for the treatment of snoring. Optipillows EPAP Mask is FDA cleared and is used like a CPAP nasal pillow mask but without the tubing or machine.

The lightweight device does not require a prescription, is reusable, and lasts up to one year. Optipillows EPAP mask is the only EPAP device on the market that offers adjustable resistance, creating a range of pressures from 1.5 to 14.5 cmH2O. During inhalation, the valve opens, allowing users to breathe in easily. During exhalation, the valve closes and redirects the expired air through a narrow opening on the side of the valve. This creates Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure (EPAP) in the mouth and back of the throat, which helps keep the upper airways open and prevents snoring.

Based on the needs of the user, the pressure can be adjusted by rotating the patented valve sleeve to make the opening larger or smaller. Optipillows EPAP Mask comes as a kit that includes headgear, our proprietary EPAP valve, and three sizes of nasal pillows.

EPAP therapy helps address an underserved patient need, according to Dr. T.S. Hakim, Creator of Optipillows EPAP Mask.

“Some patients with snoring and sleep apnea remain untreated because they refuse to see the doctor for their sleepdisordered breathing, and dread the idea of having to use a CPAP machine,” Hakim says. “EPAP devices have been shown to be safe and effective for the treatment of snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea, and oftentimes present as an easier and more convenient form of treatment.

“Patients understand that CPAP is the best choice for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, yet people are always looking for a simpler and more convenient alternative, and are willing to try new products,” Hakim adds.

WOMEN’S HEALTH PRODUCTS

Amoena Balance Adapt Air Breast Shapers from Amoena USA Corp.
www.amoena.com

Today, roughly 70 percent of all breast cancer cases are treated with breastconserving surgery. Surgeons remove the tumor in such a way as to preserve as much breast tissue as possible, but often the patient is left with an uneven result. Some women might decide they need additional surgery if the imbalance is more pronounced. But there is a simpler solution: breast shapers.

Amoena’s Balance breast shapers are a solution for women who experience breast asymmetry after breastconserving surgery, reconstruction, multiple biopsies, and even naturally, and Balance Adapt Air aims to be the most innovative breast shaper available.

It is designed with Amoena’s integrated air chamber technology that makes it easy to adjust the shaper, so it meets the patient’s unique needs. By simply using the pump included, she can fine-tune the fit and volume of the shaper until it suits the natural curve of her breast and fills the bra cup completely. Balance Adapt Air is especially suitable if she is dealing with an uneven scar area or uneven remaining breast, weight fluctuations, or swelling due to lymphedema. The shaper sits comfortably against her skin or can be placed in the pocket of a mastectomy bra. It is available in two different shapes, the Delta (triangle) for more coverage and the Special Varia, which can fill in at the top, sides, or underneath the breast, wherever there is missing tissue.

“Our Balance Shapers are designed for women who’ve undergone mastectomy with reconstruction or breast-conserving surgery who find themselves in need of a product to help them achieve symmetry without undergoing additional surgeries — and these two types of breast surgery occur more often than mastectomy without reconstruction,” says Shan Willoughby, U.S. Marketing Manager for Amoena USA Corp. “There are a number of reasons why women find they are in need of a product. A couple of examples are: Women with reconstructed breasts often find they are not filling out their bra cup (they are missing the natural apex of a breast), and also, over time, gravity takes over, and women can find themselves uneven years beyond their reconstruction.

WOUND CARE

Chipflow Full Leg and Calf & Foot from Sigvaris Group
www.sigvaris.com

The Chipflow pairs an inelastic wrap with a chip foam liner to form a garment that can be worn day or night for the treatement of lymphedema. This garment is custom-sized to fit individuals with a small ankle and large calf, commonly seen in patients with lymphatic disorders.

Each Chipflow garment contains a channeled foam liner which creates a pressure gradient that promotes lymph fluid movement and healthy skin. It also contains a unique, split-ankle zone that allows for independent application while maintaining compression. The inelastic wrap is applied over the liner to allow for proper distribution of compression and a high level of containment.

The Chipflow is available in calf-and-foot and full-leg garments. Each Chipflow garment includes the Compreboot with gripper patches to allow for foot compression without slippage and noncompressive liners for protection of the skin.

“We wanted to provide a garment option for patients in need of channeled foam with additional containment,” says Allison Donnelly, the product manager for MCE Products at Sigvaris. “The Chipflow pairs a low-profile channeled foam liner to massage fibrotic tissue with an inelastic wrap for added containment. It’s an easy-to-use device that lets wearers independently manage their condition at home.”

This article originally appeared in the Nov/Dec 2021 issue of HME Business.

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