When Frazier Healthcare acquired Orthotic Holdings, Inc. (OHI) in April 2013, they saw an opportunity to build a lower extremity juggernaut. The strategy, in an increasingly fragmented market, was to unite several leading brands, leverage the collective experience of seasoned managers, and present a singular and comprehensive lower extremity solution. After 18 months of executing on that strategy, OHI’s President and COO Jason Kraus believes OHI is poised to begin paying big dividends to its customers and investors alike.
“When Frazier purchased OHI from Incline Equity, we were the custom orthotic solution,” Kraus said. “Behind Frazier’s larger vision and financial support, OHI now represents the total lower extremity solution. It’s something unparalleled in our industry, and we’ll be building on that expanded foundation throughout the coming year and beyond.”
Kraus points to OHI’s 2014 acquisitions as illustrative of the company’s broader focus. This year, SafeStep, Australian Orthotic Group (AOG), and PedAlign were added to OHI’s existing portfolio of Arizona AFO, Langer Biomechanics, and The Orthotic Group.
Kraus explained, “With obesity and diabetes showing no signs of slowing, SafeStep significantly expanded our reach into the medical footwear and DME sectors. SafeStep is also an innovator and leader in Medicare compliance support with its WorryFree DME program. AOG afforded us a solid international foothold in the Pacific Rim, one of the fastest-growing markets for lower extremity care. With PedAlign, we gained important manufacturing capabilities as well as far deeper ties than existed for us within the VA system, where we expect to expand our focus broadly in 2015.”
Kraus acknowledged that, with OHI’s frenetic growth, the company encountered a few speed bumps along the way.
Kraus asserted, “Have there been growing pains? Sure. At the end of the day, though, with enormous dedication by our teams across every OHI brand, with the benefit of a management team whose experience and success in our industry is untouchable, and with the support of Frazier and strategic investments from global industry leaders like Ottobock, the ultimate winners will be our customers.”
In 2014, OHI launched its Central Casting Program, which offers clients the services of certified pedorthists on an as-needed basis. OHI customers now have the ability to bring highly skilled lower extremity physician extenders into their practices without the usual financial commitment associated with employment relationships. Kraus explained, “Central Casting has been phenomenally successful for both practices and their patients. The CPed provides added expertise that many practices cannot afford on their own. The result is a meaningful expansion of practice services, ever-greater patient outcomes, and superior customer satisfaction.”
He continued, “No other brands in the markets we serve give more back to the industry at large. We support biomechanical and other industry research, we support and participate in a wide array of industry trade associations, and we make substantial investments into research and development. Our customers know who we are; that we understand the ins and outs of practice life and are determined to make them and their patient outcomes as successful as possible. That trust is our greatest currency.”
According to Kraus, OHI presently serves a customer base of more than 13,000 healthcare professionals. “Our product portfolio currently includes functional foot orthotics, prefabricated foot inserts, medical footwear, compression hosiery, custom-made ankle foot orthoses, orthopedic materials, off-the-shelf DME items, and other remedies,” Kraus said, adding, “Our products are sold across five continents and are manufactured in one of four manufacturing locations, which are located in Canada, the United States, and South America.”
“The underlying demand for lower extremity products is growing and will continue to grow for a very long time,” said Kraus. “As the solitary enterprise offering a complete set of products and services to our customers, we represent much more than just a convenient, one-stop solution.”
Kraus contends that our aging population, the obesity and diabetic epidemics, and the pivot from treatment to prevention will create vast future expansion opportunities for healthcare providers in the lower extremity space. “OHI provides practitioners with comprehensive therapeutic solutions and associated support services that will enable the best possible outcomes at the lowest cost of delivery,” he said.
With falls in the senior populations of rising concern, OHI has successfully launched a first-of-its-kind balance ankle foot orthosis (AFO): the Moore Balance Brace. This custom-made device, which OHI backs with educational support, is a valuable tool with which lower extremity practitioners can become essential members of any healthcare team dedicated to reducing fall risk.
OHI’s overriding goal for 2015 is to deliver ever-greater value to customers. Said Kraus, “The unifying elements of all OHI brands are a strong educational and clinical support component, leading-edge technology, and uncompromising, unimpeachable quality. To be able to offer all of this industry- leading value at succeeding levels of decreasing cost is our number-one priority for next year.”
“Our purchasing and manufacturing power, along with significant IT investments, will soon yield our customers benefits that will be unavailable anywhere else in our industry,” he said. Kraus points to simplified accounts receivable systems, enhanced web and mobile (tablet and smartphone) order and order-tracking capabilities, and, perhaps most significantly, volume pricing as some of the key customer benefits coming in 2015.
Article sponsored by Orthotic Holdings, Inc.