BRUNSWICK, OH – The New Product Pavilion Providers’ Choice Awards, sponsored by HomeCare Media, yielded a trio of innovative products and this week Medtrade Monday takes a closer look at the Bronze Winner. The prize went to the NelDerm Heel P.O.D. from NelDerm, Brunswick, Ohio, with many attendees commenting that it “just made sense” when seen up close at last month’s Medtrade West in Phoenix.
Kevin M. Nelson (pictured far right), president and founder of NelDerm sat down with Medtrade Monday to learn more about the product and why so many attendees embraced its elegant solution.
Medtrade Monday: How did the company evolve?
Nelson: I founded NelDerm as a wound care company with an initial wound dressing line. That product launched in 2019. We had made a temporary pivot during Covid to produce and sell face shields. This product line that won the Bronze Award at Medtrade West—the Heel P.O.D. (Pressure Offloading Device), is the first of the P.O.D. technology line of products that began from the unmet needs of customers.
We heard from lots of clinicians and other decision makers at the beginning of 2021 as we figured out how to go back to the wound care market. We would ask people what their unmet needs were and what their biggest pain points were. There were two things we would hear. One was staffing and two was crush injuries, preventing pressure injuries. We looked at how we could improve the current approaches and how to make a unique device that we could file a patent around and then take to market.
My co-inventor of the Heel P.O.D. is Dr. David Perse, a surgeon in Cleveland. With his clinical background and my engineering background, it was a nice combination to develop and bring the product to market. My degree is in corrosion engineering and I minored in business. My background is in the oil and gas industry and project management.
Medtrade Monday: What was the most common reaction of attendees?
Nelson: That it’s simple, unique, and just makes a lot of sense. That means a lot to us, because the conversation will quickly go to “Great, how do I get my hands on these? What’s the pricing and availability?” I feel very fortunate that it’s not as difficult of a sell, because I’ve sold other product lines in saturated niches of the market, and this is different.
A funny thing is when we have people squeeze it, and I ask, ‘What do you feel?’ and they say, ‘Oh it’s like gel.’ It’s actually four layers of memory foam underneath with a four-way stretch fabric on top, so it’s kind of fun. But they feel it and say it’s comfortable. We love to get people to sit down on our futon and put their leg up on the ottoman and feel it first hand, so they can put themselves in the shoes of patients. The device is really conforming and you can keep it clean. The fabric is waterproof. It helps to mitigate waste. We flip everything on its head.
Medtrade Monday: How steep was the learning curve for people at Medtrade West?
Nelson: It’s important to us for the product to be intuitive. The number one word to describe our product from customers and partners is ‘simple.’ I like to use the 70/30 rule, where the customer talks 70% of the time and you only 30%. Usually it’s more like 90/10 because people understand the product. They put their hands on it. They see the photos. They understand how it works and why it’s a unique and more effective approach of off-loading appendages and preventing crush injuries.
Medtrade Monday: What has been your previous trade show experience?
Nelson: We have made our rounds with other trade shows. This is our first experience at Medtrade, and we are very impressed and very happy. We’re already seeing a return on investment from this show. Starting end of summer last year was when we started going to trade shows again. We launched the Heel P.O.D. in Aug. of 2021 at the Ohio Health Care Association Conference, and after that I went to 13 trade shows in the span of three months. We learned so much about different segments of the market. We learned which partnerships would make sense to benefit the patients who had the need for the product. For this year, we’ve really focused in on which key trade shows are part of that strategy, and Medtrade is looking to continue to be part of that.
Medtrade Monday: What are your future plans?
Nelson: The plan is aggressive growth. We’re working very hard on our end to continue scaling our operations side of the business to meet demand. We’ve invested in opening a production facility in Brunswick, Ohio, which is near Cleveland. We are proud to make this product in the United States. We have ongoing potential strategic partnership discussions to talk about more explosive growth that benefits all stakeholders.