Healthcare Insights

Top durable medical equipment (DME) categories

Durable medical equipment (DME) is equipment and supplies that healthcare providers order for patients’ use at home. A provider might order DME for a patient with a temporary disability or may order equipment for long-term care and use.

Durable medical equipment allows patients to manage illness, injury, or other medical conditions at home to maintain normal day-to-day living.

Definitive Healthcare tracks physician ordering activity of durable medical equipment in the Atlas All-Payor Claims dataset. Using the dataset, we ranked the top 20 most ordered DME categories by percentage of total DME orders in 2023 through September. As the list is sourced from claims data, it does not include DME that patients may have purchased on their own without going through insurance.

DME categories with the most provider orders in 2023

RankDME categoryPercent of all DME orders in 2023 in the U.S. Explore dataset
1Oxygen Devices and Accessories32.30%Explore
2Humidifier Equipment23.00%Explore
3Temporary Codes for Durable Medical Equipment Regional Carriers9.70%Explore
4Wheelchair Accessories4.40%Explore
5Walking Aids and Related Devices3.40%Explore
6Hospital Beds and Related Supplies2.30%Explore
7Wheelchairs and Mobility Devices2.00%Explore
8Other Lower Extremity Orthotics1.70%Explore
9Foot Inserts, Removable1.60%Explore
10Knee Orthotics1.30%Explore
11Ankle-foot Orthotics1.30%Explore
12Additions, Lower Extremity Orthotics1.20%Explore
13Wrist-hand Orthotics1.10%Explore
14Other Orthopedic Footwear0.90%Explore
15Infusion Supplies0.90%Explore
16Pneumatic Compressors and Related Equipment0.70%Explore
17Breast Pumps0.70%Explore
18Other Lower Extremity Additions0.70%Explore
19Shoulder Orthotics0.60%Explore
20Wrist-hand-finger Orthotics0.60%Explore

Fig. 1 Data is from the Atlas All-Payor Claims dataset. Data is representative of DME orders placed from January 2023 through September 2023. Data accessed October 2023.

What is the most ordered DME?

The most ordered category of DME is oxygen devices and accessories, accounting for 32.3% of all DME orders in 2023 through September. The second most ordered DME category is humidifier equipment, accounting for 23% of all DME orders. The top two categories coincide with multiple top DME procedure codes by the percentage of fulfilled orders. Seven oxygen-related devices and accessories and one humidifier equipment top the list of most fulfilled orders of durable medical equipment HCPCS codes. An increased need for oxygen-related care during and following the COVID-19 pandemic likely contributed to these categories having the greatest volume of orders.

The third most ordered DME category is temporary codes for durable medical equipment regional carriers, accounting for 9.7% of all DME orders. This category includes HCPCS codes for supplies that do not yet have a designated code and includes a variety of different DME supplies. Because of this, it’s no surprise that it ranks high on the list.

Which DME are included on the Medicare-approved durable medical equipment list?

Medically necessary durable medical equipment prescribed and ordered by providers is covered by Medicare Part B. Some of the top DME categories that are covered include oxygen devices and accessories, wheelchairs and walking aids, hospital beds, and infusion supplies.

Other examples of durable medical equipment covered by Medicare Part B include blood sugar meters and test strips, commode chairs, patient lifts, and orthotic accessories.

For a full list of durable medical equipment covered by Medicare, check out the Medicare DME coverage page.

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