VOCSN 5-in-1 Portable Ventilator: Interview with Chris Kiple, CEO of Ventec

Ventilators are used by patients who lose lung function due to complications from a variety of diseases such as spinal cord injuries, COPD, stroke, pneumonia, and ALS. In addition to dealing with a debilitating situation, patients tend to be hooked to several machines that perform mechanical ventilation, oxygen delivery, cough assist, suction, and nebulization. This typically involves wires running all around, multiple software, and hardware equipment that makes it difficult for caregivers to operate the machines and provide quality care. Ventec Life Systems simplifies this experience by offering an integrated ventilator system, the VOCSN, which is the first and only product on the market that uses one machine to perform all of the above functions. We recently had the opportunity to chat with the Chris Kiple, CEO of Ventec Life Systems, about the VOCSN technology.

Rukmani Sridharan, Medgadget: Can you explain the motivation behind developing VOCSN?

Chris Kiple, Ventec Life Systems: Many members of our team had first-hand
experience with family members on a ventilator due to spinal cord injuries,
neuromuscular conditions including ALS, as well as childhood onset conditions.
We understood the daily challenges families faced to keep their loved ones
healthy. Patients
require their ventilator and other large mechanical devices to support their
respiratory system and have to constantly switch between devices to breathe,
manage their airway clearance, and deliver medication. All of this equipment is
cumbersome and complicated to use, forcing people to trade their mobility and
quality of life in order to stay alive. 

Rather than ventilator users and their caregivers having to convert their homes and cars into mini ICUs, we integrated all of the devices they may need into one portable device called VOCSN, which stands for the five pieces of equipment it replaces: ventilator, oxygen, cough, suction, and nebulizer. This integration streamlines care, reduces caregiver burden, and maintains everyday mobility for VOCSN users and their families. With VOCSN, families can easily leave their homes to travel and effortlessly switch between therapies with the touch of a button. 

Medgadget: How does VOCSN work for a patient who needs multiple devices?

Kiple: Nearly all ventilator patients need more than just a ventilator. VOCSN is the first and only Multi-Function Ventilator designed to provide holistic support of the patient’s respiratory system. VOCSN integrates a critical care ventilator, oxygen concentrator that delivers the equivalent of 6 L/min, cough assist at the touch of a button without changing the patient’s circuit, hospital grade suction that provides consistent high flows, and a high performance nebulizer that automatically syncs with the flows from the ventilator and turns off when the therapy is complete. Integrated respiratory care with VOCSN is designed to improve compliance, streamline care, improve quality of life, and support everyday mobility.  

Medgadget: How does the performance of the device compare to other traditional ventilators currently available? What advantages does your integrated device offer over stand-alone ventilators?

Kiple: We designed VOCSN to deliver each therapy with the performance typically only found in hospital equipment. Specifically, each therapy in VOCSN was designed to be as good or better than the stand alone devices it replaces. By bringing hospital grade technology to portable ventilation, we can accelerate hospital discharges and ensure patients have access to life saving technology from the hospital to their home. 

Integration provides care benefits, economic benefits, and quality of life benefits that were unimaginable with traditional equipment, including increased patient and caregiver mobility, reduced noise, patient empowerment and comfort, reduced risk of infection, and increased patient compliance.

Medgadget: How many patients have used VOCSN so far and what has their experience been? Is the device being used primarily in the hospital or home setting? Is the product reimbursable through private insurers?

Kiple: VOCSN is used by thousands of patients in the United States and Japan every day. It has been adopted across all care settings from hospital to home, with early adoption most prominent for home use and long term care facilities. Patients and caregivers using VOCSN report greater mobility, increased comfort, and better compliance with prescribed therapies due to the ease of use and convenience of integrated care with VOCSN. 

In January 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) established a new HCPCS code, E0467, for a Multi-Function Ventilator and VOCSN is the only device that qualifies. VOCSN is reimbursable across Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers.

Medgadget: Is there evidence that using the device reduces ventilator associated pneumonia?

Kiple: Yes, we are seeing reductions in ventilator associated events from facilities to home care. For example, one of the best ways to prevent ventilator associated pneumonia is to maintain a clear patient airway. Ventilator users frequently perform cough assist treatments or lung suctioning to remove secretions that collect in their airway. In both cases, the patient is disconnected from the ventilator and the patient’s airway is exposed to the risk of infection.  VOCSN is designed to decrease the risk of infection by reducing the need to disconnect the patient circuit which exposes the airway to bacteria between therapies. VOCSN users can seamlessly transition between therapies with the touch of a button, without disconnecting the patient circuit. Minimizing patient circuit disconnects has been proven to reduce the risk of infection and ventilator associated pneumonia.

Medgadget: Do you have any other products in development or any refinements on VOCSN?

Kiple: We recently launched VOCSN Multi-View, the first comprehensive reporting solution for ventilator-dependent patients. VOCSN Multi-View provides complete patient trending and monitoring for ventilator-dependent patients across multiple respiratory therapies including ventilation, oxygen, cough, suction, and nebulization and additional patient monitors. Building on the integrated multi-therapy delivery of VOCSN, Multi-View is designed to summarize patient data and create trend reports to facilitate actionable and informed treatment decisions and care plans, drive proactive interventions, control costs, and deliver seamless care across providers from hospital to home. The streamlined information is designed to provide decision makers a comprehensive picture of the patient’s respiratory well-being that has never before been possible. We are excited about the potential for Multi-View to once again redefine how ventilator patients are managed across the continuum of care from hospital to home.

Medgadget: Where do you see the future of the ventilator market?

Kiple: We see three major trends driving the future ventilator market. 

First, integration of complex technology will continue
to streamline patient care, reduce costs, drive efficiencies, and improve healthcare
outcomes. Integration provides medical professionals the opportunity to spend
less time managing machines and more time with patients to develop personalized
healthcare plans.

Second, long term care will continue to move from professional facilities and into the home where the patient and family will become increasingly responsible with less support from medical professionals. Consequently, we must empower families with the resources and knowledge to succeed. We must eliminate the technology divide between the hospital and the home and ensure that devices are simple and easy to use to reduce the risk of mistake.  Third, holistic patient data will revolutionize care. Rather than looking at one therapy at a time using one doctor’s experience, we are able to gain a care perspective we never thought possible by looking at all of the actionable data across multiple therapies. We can spot trends to improve patient comfort and use predictive analytics to drive early interventions and prevent hospitalizations. More importantly, we can drive outcome-based care by aggregating data for the first time from tens of thousands of patients to truly understand what improves outcomes and extends quality life.

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