Q&A: Mike Schmidt, president of SoClean
OXFORD, Mass. – Developing a home health device and bringing it to market is not a process for the faint of heart, according to Mike Schmidt, president of SoClean, makers of a CPAP sanitizing device. Schmidt said developing the device took years of research on the market before prototyping of the machine could begin. Here’s what he had to say about the experience.
HHTN: Why is it frustrating/difficult to clean a CPAP machine?
SCHMIDT: Cleaning a CPAP machine is not a simple process, and when people hear this needs to be done daily, or at least weekly, they lose motivation to properly clean their equipment. That’s what makes SoClean so easy—only a one-time installation is necessary, there’s no drying time involved and it’s hands-free. All you have to do is place your CPAP mask in the SoClean’s chamber, close the lid, and go!
HHTN: How long did it take to develop SoClean?
SCHMIDT: First, we worked to understand the market segment. We surveyed potential customers to see what they really wanted in a CPAP cleaning machine. Then it took about eight months to work through prototyping and beta test units, and then another year to get the product that we have now.
HHTN: Why is SoClean unique?
SCHMIDT: After doing extensive market research we knew that if we brought a CPAP cleaner to market that it had to be a set-it-and-forget-it process. Therein lies the challenge—how do you clean everything from mask, hose, reservoir and even the humidification water without taking all the pieces apart? Our team created a product that does just that.
HHTN: What were some obstacles you had to overcome in developing the device, and how did you overcome them?
SCHMIDT: We had to expand market awareness for the need to clean a CPAP machine and compliance with CPAP usage.
HHTN: How is this technology impacting sleep therapy?
SCHMIDT: We know that a lot of people become lax on keeping their CPAP equipment clean because it’s a complicated, time-consuming process. We realized that by making the process a lot easier and faster, people are much more likely to regularly and frequently clean their CPAP equipment. This not only helps prevent illness, but it also helps to keep them compliant with their CPAP therapy.
HHTN: What’s next for SoClean?
SCHMIDT: SoClean is all about helping the health of people and we are developing some new things, as well as introducing products to hospital and lab settings.