Podcast: Balancing Power Wheelchair Innovation & Real-World Funding

It is an everyday challenge for Complex Rehab Technology manufacturers to design and create products that provide the best functional outcomes while staying within price ranges that funding sources will cover.

Without that balance, an innovative, highly functional power wheelchair, for example, would be largely out of reach for consumers.

In the latest Mobility Management podcast — Mindful Design: Power Wheelchair Priorities & Perspectives — Merit Health Products’ Bret Tracy, ATP, and Josh Haynes discuss how they prioritized the demands of funding sources, clinicians, providers and consumers while designing the new Avid Rehab AXCEL power chair.

“Our first priority is always making a clinically sound product,” Tracy said in the podcast. “It has to work for the patient, through the eyes of the clinician. Second to that, it also has to meet a price point that’s profitable for both the manufacturer and the dealer, or that equipment is just not utilized, unfortunately, in the U.S. market. But then there’s also the down-the-road service cost.”

Haynes added, “Medicare pays for a chair that stays indoors, but we all know that people live their lives outside their apartment, and the world is not ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] compliant. So when people go outside in their chairs, certain components such as tires, batteries, and battery life and range, as well as motors, can all take a hit. So we do our best to design for real-world usage, but we know these products need to be serviced, just like a car or a truck.”

Listen to the entire episode and check out other episodes in Mobility Management’s podcast center.

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