Dr. James G. Spahn of EHOB, Inc
OWM: Please describe the education, training, and work experiences that have prepared you for your current position as CEO of EHOB.
After becoming a doctor through Indiana University’s medical program in 1970, I specialized in otolaryngology and head and neck surgery for nearly 30 years. This was the beginning of my extensive training in soft-tissue survival. In the process of developing a positioning mattress to postoperatively elevate my patients’ heads, I learned that this product, known then as the Position Perfect®, also helped prevent and treat pressure ulcers. Fascinated by the fact that my past training and reconstructive surgery experience closely resembled the techniques recommended for pressure ulcer prevention and treatment, I founded EHOB, Inc in 1985 while continuing my practice as a physician. OWM: What should our readers know about EHOB?
EHOB, Inc manufactures WAFFLE® Brand Products for the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers. Based in Indianapolis, IN, EHOB provides acute care and long-term care facilities, as well as home care, the most clinically based, cost-effective positioning and support surface solutions available. Healthcare providers trust the WAFFLE brand for safe, easy-to-use support surfaces that save time and money from early intervention through treatment of Stage IV pressure ulcers. Today, more than 2,200 hospitals, nursing homes, and home caregivers rely on our products.
OWM: How were you first introduced to wound care and why do you enjoy working in this arena?
As a classically trained physician, I had received no formal education in the area of wound care. Consequently, most might view my introduction to the wound care arena as completely incidental. After I realized the positioning device I had created for postoperative care was effective in the healing of patients’ pressure ulcers, I immediately began to dig deeper into this field and familiarize myself with the current protocols and procedures. To acquire the necessary knowledge, I went straight to those who know best — clinical nurses specializing in wound, ostomy, and continence. Thanks to their patience and willingness to assist, I was able to monitor the many types of wounds, as well as the relevant practices and devices being used for prevention and treatment. In addition to clinical experience, I made it a point to return to my studies and revisit classic textbooks covering an array of scientific topics including chemistry, physics, mechanics, and physiology. It was most important to connect what I had witnessed in the clinical setting to basic scientific principles in hopes of achieving more effective approaches to wound care that would benefit the patient, ultimately leading to the support surfaces we began developing at EHOB. As pressure ulcer incidence continues to increase, we as a company become more and more determined to utilize rigorous research and development efforts to better the lives of caregivers and their patients. The impact on care we can have makes for continued, widespread fulfillment.
OWM: What are some of the company’s biggest accomplishments thus far? What are some of your key products and/or functions that clearly distinguish your brand?
Pressure ulcers are not only costly to treat, but they also cause extreme pain and discomfort for a patient. EHOB’s WAFFLE Brand Products include mattress overlays, seat cushions, and lower-limb protectors, so we are able accommodate almostr all patients regardless of body type and provide the necessary comfort and elevation for the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers through Stage IV. Static air technology, unique to EHOB products, creates a comfortable surface that floats the body in a natural, fluid (air) medium. Tufted air holes through each product alleviate shear pressure and friction on the bony prominences of the body. This patented pattern of holes also allows for a passthrough of fluids, prevents maceration of the skin, and permits airflow to help keep the patient comfortable and dry. Because patients often need to be moved, turned or rolled, the overlay’s design ensures a patient’s body is completely contoured, stable, and protected at all times. No matter the position, our WAFFLE Brand Products maintain a half-inch of air in order to sustain flotation therapy. The flexibility of the product allows for the patient and support surface to be moved simultaneously, so the patient receives maximum support when repositioned. As a company, our business model and product engineering have led to many successes. Most importantly, we have been able to improve and expand EHOB’s product offering to deliver clinically effective, cost-efficient products that ultimately improve patients’ experiences throughout the continuum of care. In addition, we remain committed to significant investments in research and development efforts that allow for continuous product improvements and all-new product categories. Most importantly, EHOB has developed meaningful relationships with personnel, customers, and vendors —long-term commitments that have resulted in the aforementioned accomplishments and more.
OWM: Please describe the mission/vision of your company and how your personal vision fits with the company’s goals.
EHOB will always be committed to the development of pressure ulcer-preventive products that are poised to deliver the best results for patients of all sizes and in any healthcare setting. Each and every product will be designed to ensure affordable price points and exceeded expectations. As a surgeon, I was focused on continuous education and the elimination of potential risk factors. Similarly, EHOB is centered on research and development to ensure we put forth the most effective wound care solutions. And because I have always been one to weigh costs, we strive to make our WAFFLE Brand products as affordable as possible, so users do not rely solely on reimbursements.
OWM: Please explain what must take place on a daily basis at EHOB in order to accommodate patients, clinicians, and healthcare facilities.
First and foremost, it is integral we witness quality performance from EHOB personnel worldwide, as they are the backbone of our operations. Secondly, we must uphold stable relationships with the vendors and users of our WAFFLE Brand Products. Perhaps most importantly, we all must share the same desire to create products and provide patient care services as if each patient were a member of our own family.
OWM: Looking ahead, what are some incentives or products the company is working on?
We are in the process of preparing a new lower-extremity product for launch into the market and assessing different design alternatives for WAFFLE Brand Products that better meet the needs of long-term and home care patients. As always, extensive research and development efforts will be spearheaded to analyze the effects of our products on patients’ soft tissue. This relevant knowledge will allow us to continue to sell our products on the basis of education, which we believe, is of the utmost importance. Finally, we will continue to expand our international market with the ultimate goal of maintaining manufacturing in the United States.