A recent research study by DeVilbiss Healthcare has looked into what consumers believe to be the most important attributes of an Oxygen Concentrator.
According to the study, failure rate is the most important factor at 36% followed by price (26%), warranty (19%) and energy savings (11%).
The study was carried out in order to understand the needs of customers that use the concentrators and to identify which attributes are the most important. It was clear from the results that customers see the long-term value of the product to be the most important factor. They want a product that is built to last to reduce the costs of customers having to keep repurchasing every few years as the machines wear out.
Consumers such as the NHS and other healthcare providers are now looking at long-term saving rather than the initial short-term saving of a cheap product to purchase. They want to be able to focus their efforts on delivering excellent oxygen therapy services rather than being distracted by repairing equipment they have supplied and the costs that are involved in repairing and replacing equipment.
The business landscape of the oxygen supply industry has changed over recent years as increased failure rates have meant higher operational costs for the suppliers and they have struggled to keep prices down for the consumer.
“Increased failure rates were driving up our operational costs,” said the National Procurement Manager for RHS Canada, “and with lower reimbursement, we really have to work closely with manufacturers to attain effective, safe and reliable equipment at a price point that works for all individuals in the industry. Reliable equipment in the field is crucial to the success of our business and to providing quality patient care.”
Hopefully the industry will respond to reflect the findings of the study and it would be financially sound for them to do so. Manufacturers can spend more money making  oxygen equipment that is durable and long-lasting with less fear that it may drive the initial cost up slightly as many oxygen provider companies will not mind paying slightly more in the short-term if it reduces their long-term costs.
This will mean that the patient will be using more reliable and efficient equipment in the future, which is of obvious benefit to reduce the stress of when products break and need to be repaired or replaced. But more importantly also to prevent emergency situations from occurring when the product breaks down. If you are constantly reliant upon the product to breathe and it breaks down then there is a chance of fatality.
At the moment however until these changes make their way down through the chain in the years to come, the advice is to always ensure that you have a back-up concentrator to hand in case of emergencies, whether at home or travelling on holiday. Even if product failure rates decrease, there is always unfortunately a chance that technology can break down and it can save your life to have a back-up concentrator ready for emergencies. If your normal provider cannot arrange one then there are national and global private companies such as oxygenworldwide that you can purchase them from, and it would be a sound and wise investment, as it could save your life.
References: http://www.devilbisshc.com