History Of Scales In The Market Place


Since the very beginning, patient weighing has been a critical part of the medical evaluation process. Weight is used to decide how much medication to prescribe, whether a baby is growing at a proper rate, to assess cardiac patients for fluid retention and to establish if a patient is gaining weight to offset a wasting sickness.

Today, patient weighing is more significant than ever, as obesity has become a nationwide problem. An estimated 65 percent of Americans are overweight and the rate of childhood obesity has doubled in the last decade. Obesity is currently the second most common preventable cause of loss of life, with greater than 300,000 deaths a year attributed to it. The trend shows no sign of tapering off and continues to be fueled by "super-sized" meals along with more inactive lifestyles.

The Scale market:

The professional medical scale marketplace is estimated to be in the $40- to $60-million dollar range on an annual basis. When combined with the retail and the fitness marketplace, the number becomes a good deal larger. The medical marketplace number consists of scales sold into the acute care market, as well as medical doctor offices and clinics, nursing homes, rehabilitation and home health care.

Every medical facility has a scale, typically more than one. With obesity on the rise, many of these facilities are looking to upgrade their current equipment to better accommodate their patient population. Simply put, as the rate of obesity increases so will the need for better scales.

Scales are also very much like exam tables - they are very visible to the patient, and really help identify a facility or a practice from a marketing perspective. As a sales agent with access to new technology and more aesthetically pleasing scales, it pays to recognize outdated products that need to be replaced. After identifying those products, a solid working knowledge of scales will prepare you to make sales presentations that can considerably enhance your business in this segment.

Different Varieties of Scales:

Balance Beam Scales -

This remains the most used scale in the United States, but sales are declining as sales of digital scales grow. Most beam, or mechanical, scales can weigh up to 350 to 400 pounds, and offer a height-rod option and a handrail option. The scale's overall construction and design are more often than not the most important features.

Digital Scales -

The sales and use of digital scales continue to grow. There are a number of different configurations, from floor models to column models. They work by determining the force on a load cell, which is typically in the base, and converting that pressure to weight. They also make it possible to communicate with a computer and transmit electronic medical records.

Infant Scales -

These are available in both mechanical and digital models, although digital baby scales far outsell mechanical infant scales. While digital scales are quieter and less likely to disturb an infant, the most compelling selling feature is that they are able to compensate for the infant 's movement.

Digital vs. Mechanical:

The use of mechanical scales is still more widespread than digital scales. When the first electronic scales were announced in the 1980s, they were unreliable and prone to breakdowns. Not only did physicians distrust them, distributor sales representatives opted not to sell them, fearing they would just be picking them up later to return them for repair or replacement.

The good news is, this is changing. Today, the majority of hospitals have converted to digital scales, and the rest of the marketplace is following. The sales of digital scales are climbing quickly and that 's certainly no surprise with digital technology being so pervasive in our society, where everything but human beings are weighed by digital products.