Moving the HME Industry Forward

Manufacturer/Provider

I Am the HME Industry - Chris Malcom

• November 24, 2014

CUMMING, GA - The vast majority of Chris Malcom’s customers are online, but the co-founder of At Home Medical, Cumming, Ga, is nonetheless concerned about the overall shopping experience. Despite solid business for the past 16 years, Malcom took the time, effort, and expense to usher in the next generation of its medical supply delivery business with the launch of a new web site. The site offers products geared specifically for customers who use wheelchairs, continence care, urology, ostomy, skin care, and wound care products.

The web site includes a new brand design for the mail order provider, as well as connection points to the company's motivational program, the iPush Foundation. “We started the iPush Foundation in July of 2014 for many reasons,” says the 43-year-old Malcom. “I’ve been a quadriplegic for 23 years, and there are a lot of good foundations and resources out there, but people who are newly injured don’t get exposed to a lot of activities when they are in the hospital going through rehab in today’s insurance-driven environment...so we created this foundation to give more resources to the newly injured, and to those injured for a long time.”  

The foundation's website, www.ipush.org, offers articles and resources on a variety of topics such as accessible travel, adaptive sports and parenting. iPush also offers wheelchair users a place to connect with new friends via social media. The organization has gained more than 7,000 followers after publishing the iPush Facebook page about three months ago.

At Home Medical's web site and social media programs were designed and launched with assistance from Get Social Consulting, a digital marketing firm that specializes in creating healthcare communities online for HME providers and medical device manufacturers. Malcom met with Get Social president Lisa Wells at last month’s Medtrade, which provided a great opportunity to cement a fruitful business relationship.

“I also go to Medtrade to see my manufacturer partners,” says Malcom. “I think it’s good to see them once or twice a year, face to face, to keep that relationship. We live in an Internet world, but there is still value in seeing my partners, and my customers in some cases, in person.”

Malcom was a panelist during a digital media session at last month’s Medtrade, and he notes that many attendees were skeptical of his cash-only business. “The reimbursement-driven providers were intrigued that I could make it as a web-based company accepting only cash,” he says. “Medtrade attendees were interested in how you maintain and run a profitable business online, and we have had double digit growth for the past three years.”

After Paralysis
Malcom was a sophomore in college when he was injured in a car accident. After a month in intensive care, and a total of three months in the hospital, he went to The Shepherd Center in Atlanta for an additional two months of rehabilitation.  

It was a difficult time, and Malcom views the entire experience with a healthy dose of realism, along with a willingness to look forward. “I hate the fact that I can’t walk,” he says. “Being paralyzed doesn’t get any easier, but it beats the alternative. I could be a whole lot worse off. I come from a family that believes if you get knocked down, it’s time to get back up and get busy. That’s how it was when I was injured.

“I don’t have time to sit around and cry about it,” he continues. “When I got to the Shepherd Center, I saw volunteers, therapists who worked there, who also had spinal cord injuries. I thought if they can do it, I can do it. I can’t say there was a lot of dwelling on how bad it was going to be, because I didn’t go through that.”

These days, Malcom spends his limited free time playing wheelchair rugby, and boating on Lake Lanier with his wife of 18 years, and their 8-year-old daughter (pictured, upper left).