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Inogen’s Curious Consumer Series provides a question and answer with an Inogen employee, getting to know the people from the Inogen company and answering valuable questions for our community along the way.
This edition, the Curious Consumer Series talked to Inogen’s Brian Magladry.
What does your current position entail? What are your primary responsibilities?
Brian: I’m in the DTP Department, which is Direct to Patient. My title is Customer Development Representative. We work directly with the patient that’s not on service, or is on service with a different provider. We go ahead and evaluate them, make sure they’re a good fit, walk them through the process of how to get an Inogen, either through their insurance or purchasing one for outright ownership. We also go through the necessary paperwork, as far as what things we need to get approved for the insurance companies because each insurance requires a different set of guidelines. So we go ahead and collect that documentation, get the order shipped out to the patient, help walk them through the set up and how everything works, and get them started.
At what point during their journey do you meet with them?
Brian: I’d say the norm is people that are already on oxygen, and that have tanks and other equipment that is really unsatisfactory for their lifestyle. I work with a number of different doctors’ offices that find our equipment a lot better than what is out there. Then, they contact us to see how they can get off their current situation and can switch over to our service.
So that’s when you start off with them. Is there ever a point when they no longer need you?
Brian: I’m pretty much with them until they get the equipment, and then shortly after, but the greatest part about our equipment is there’s essentially no maintenance required.
After users are set-up and running, they have the option of either contacting me, which a lot of people do because of an established relationship, but we also have a 24-hour support line that can handle all customer issues and concerns.
So they hit a point where they don’t need much assistance from Inogen and are well on their way?
Brian: Right, they’re all set up and ready to go. Anything that they’re going to need is usually just going to be more disposable cannulas or accessories.
From your perspective, what do people love most about the products, the company, or the whole service?
Brian: The main thing is getting their freedom and independence back. Oxygen tanks are limited to how long they can be out for and if they go out at all. Sitting around waiting for their current provider to deliver new bottles. So basically we’re just eliminating all of the hassle and making oxygen a part of their normal life, not dictating where they can go or how long they can be out. Users really love that Inogen can satisfy their oxygen needs and allow them to live their life and continue to do the things they want to do.
From your perspective, what are you looking forward to down the road at Inogen?
Brian: The growth and the innovation. We just released the in-home Inogen, which is going to be a whole new line that we can bring to patients. And that’s going to really help users out because most people have an in-home unit that they use at night, and they’re loud, and they put off a lot of heat and they use a lot of energy. They can’t take them with them. So we’ve come out with that solution now. And it’s just the innovative way that we’re doing it.
I know we’re just going to try to continue to make things smaller, more efficient, because that’s the way the market is trending. And everybody wants something smaller and less conspicuous, that can help them do things without getting those “looks from people.”
You said the majority of the new patients that you come across are making that transition over from a tank?
Brian: Correct. I would say 90% of the people I speak to are on some kind of tank mixed with an in-home concentrator. And we’re trying to get more and more offices on board and educated about what we have to offer. When you need oxygen, you need it right away. It’s not one of those things where you can wait a week or something. The only thing available is going to be those heavy tanks, where someone can come out right then and do it. Now, with our shipping technologies and logistics, We’re trying to get doctor’s offices to get them straight on an Inogen or straight on a portable so they don’t have to go through that hassle of going on tanks, finding something and switching over. Let’s get them going on something they’re going to want right off the bat and then there’s not going to be that negative impact of having those tanks and going that route.
When you get people started, do you personally help coordinate with the MediCare integration?
Brian: Well, as far as billing there is a whole department for that, but I do run through that process with them. We check and verify coverage, what the patient can expect as far as deductibles and co-pays, if there are any. We definitely are in that process of making sure this is going to be covered and making sure the patient isn’t going to receive any mystery bills along the road.
Do you have a favorite part about working at Inogen?
Brian: It’s the feedback that we get. I get so many calls, letters, and pictures. I get personal stories all the time from patients that are just thankful. “Thanks for pushing me over the edge. I was on the fence and just needed a nudge to get me to try this.” And really the positivity that you get back really makes it all worthwhile at the end where you feel like “well, not only do I have a job, but I’m making a difference, no matter how large or small it may be, in people’s day-to-day lives.”
As for that feedback and those stories, do you have a favorite?
Brian: I got this great picture back from this lady and she had her Inogen. She was in her wheelchair. It was this postcard that she sent out to all her friends about basically getting her life back. And she’s coming to go see everybody was what the intent was. It was like this large blown-up picture that said, “I got my life back as well as my friends I haven’t seen.”
It just really hit home that it was one of those things where she was excited about something again. And that one always just sticks with me. I get a lot of similar stories. It’s always something like “Brian, I made it to my granddaughter’s graduation or wedding.”
What’s the one thing that you would tell any person who’s on the fence just about trying Inogen? What’s the one thing that you wish more people knew that you get across to people when you can?
Brian: It’s always trying to eliminate that first hurdle that I was talking about of getting people’s mind away from something different. Letting them know it isn’t scary or isn’t something that’s going to hold them back. The ease of use is the thing that everyone should be aware of. Our motto here is “if you can use a toaster you’re probably overqualified to run the Inogen.” Basically, the machine does all the work.