By Susan Eustis, President WinterGreen Research, Inc.
The oxygen concentrators market is poised for significant growth in the coming years. These devices receive, purify and then distribute newly formed air. They are used to treat patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and respiratory disease.
Regular air is comprised of 21% oxygen. The concentrator, using a filter and a sieve bed, is able to create a breathing gas that is comprised of about 96% oxygen, filtering out the nitrogen and other gasses.
The use of oxygen concentrators is expanding beyond the typical medical markets to enhance endurance and support physical fitness. For example, many athletes are using concentrators to help them recover faster from being out of breath after a sprint.
People on oxygen wish to continue their usual activities, hence the move by vendors to develop smaller, lighter, less expensive portable oxygen concentrators. Distributors are working to determine which portable oxygen concentrator allows the most freedom to continue a meaningful lifestyle.
There are two types of oxygen delivery systems providing supplemental oxygen therapy; continuous flow (Respironics SimplyGo, SeQual Eclipse,) and pulse dose (Inogen One G3, AirSep Freestyle, Invacare XPO2). At present, the pulse dose system is the most commonly used portable oxygen concentrator. Patient prefer it because of it’s lightweight and it has a long battery life, some lasting up to 8 hours on a single battery charge.
According to the Portable Oxygen Concentrators Market report, the major factors driving the market are the device’s ability to provide oxygen under all circumstances, an aging population and an increase in the number of people suffering from respiratory-related illnesses.
CHANGING COMPLEXION OF THE OXYGEN MARKET
The complexion of the home oxygen market is changing. Until now, the home oxygen markets have been predicated on a dealer infrastructure. These dealers get reimbursed for regular deliveries of oxygen used in the home, and for supplemental oxygen so the patient can go out, buy groceries, go to the movies, and visit family for a short time. The advent of reliable, inexpensive portable home oxygen concentrators has changed this market dynamic significantly.
In truth, the economics of the medical oxygen market have been changing for a long time. No longer do patients need regular deliveries of oxygen for supplemental purposes so the patient can go out. CMS Medicare and the private insurers that follow their lead have been resisting paying for supplemental oxygen because the price of truck rolls is too high. With lowered reimbursement, the dealer distribution network that has been in place for many years is no longer tenable.
People are beginning to buy oxygen directly over the Internet. This availability is changing oxygen from a purely medical device to a consumer device. Now, people can begin to do what the elite athletes do, use oxygen before and after they exercise. This will increase the availability of oxygen in sports clubs, bicycle shops and other venues.
WinterGreen Research have recently published a number of reports on the oxygen concentrators markets, including high flow concentrators, which you can find in the medical device section of our website.
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