New RPM platforms provide efficient visual representations that empower sleep clinicians.
By Sree Roy
A sleep clinician who clicks through the care management dashboards within Somnoware, a remote patient monitoring and diagnostics software, sees harmonious colors neatly arranged into bars, lines, circles, and waves.
On one, multiple datasets overlay onto a single grid, and hovering over any speck brings up detailed reporting data for that precise time. On another, responses to a patient survey are displayed as a pie; the survey asked nonadherent patients why their CPAP usage was low, and the biggest slice attributes it to mask dissatisfaction. On the launch screen, three graphs appear—one each for usage, leak, and apnea-hypopnea index—plus a purple-hued trend line. “Those are the typical things clinicians ask about for a sleep patient,” says Andrew Plourde, head of product at Somnoware. If the patient has multiple medical devices in their home, the bars are collapsed into a single line graph. “We want to be very intelligent about the real estate on the screen,” he says.
Today’s remote patient monitoring platforms for sleep medicine share this philosophy of efficiency. At a glance, sleep medicine clinicians grasp salient data from any brand of CPAP (and, in some cases, any asthma inhaler or consumer sleep wearable), saving valuable time.
Edward Mezerhane, MD, FAASM, FACP, co-founder and CEO of MonitAir, another sleep remote patient monitoring software, says, “Our system allows the user to pull the standard reports directly from the manufacturers’ cloud service or to use our proprietary data visualizations. We have designed the data to be visible in multiple different formats so that the clinical team can easily assess the patient’s response to therapy and provide therapy input in the most efficient way possible.”
Visuals within both Somnoware and MonitAir’s software automatically update as new data is received. “The user can also easily change the dates of the data they would like to review, which will automatically be reflected in the data sets and the visual representations in the system,” Mezerhane says.
Of course, CPAP manufacturers typically offer their own clinician-facing software, so how do these brand-agnostic solutions set themselves apart? “Since we have the diagnostic module embedded too, we can overlay patients’ data pre-therapy waveforms, such as from their sleep study, with the ones during therapy. So we can educate patients on the benefit of therapy in ways a lot of other software can’t,” says Plourde. “Showing them the before- and after-therapy data is a very impactful lesson for patients to have.”
Somnoware also shows medication usage in grid form, for example charting whether a patient missed a dose or a rescue inhaler is being used with increasing frequency. The company is working on launching chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder management, which will integrate inhaled medication monitors, spirometry, and SPO2 monitoring.
Then there are the ways remote monitoring platforms can potentially streamline workflows. “The ease of use allows the clinician to review the information quicker, with less interruptions, and to come up with the appropriate treatment recommendation for each patient,” Mezerhane says.
Somnoware has triggers and rules set by the sleep lab. For example, a high leak could trigger a video to be sent to the patient about how to fit their CPAP mask. “A client may want to upload their own videos, PDFs, or plain text,” says Plourde. If the leak continues, the software could automatically ask the patient for more details via a questionnaire. As a third step, the software could put the patient in a queue for a live call.
Time tracking is another benefit. MonitAir shows population adherence, risk level, and monitoring time on an aggregate level. “It will also show a practice how much time they are spending overall on those categories of patients, allowing the practice to understand where they are using their resources,” Mezerhane says.
At Somnoware, “we can track how long a user had something open,” Plourde says, as well as whether a problem bubbled back up repeatedly. For example, a pie chart shows unresolved patient CPAP issues, such as problem connecting, high leaks, and high residual apnea-hypopnea index. Plourde says, “The resolution over a 30-day period shows the action that resolved it, but how many are popping back up? This is so beneficial when you have a large number of agents reaching out to your patient population. For example, why is it that Frank’s resolve rate is much better than Andrew’s resolve rate when it comes to fixing mask leaks? Maybe Frank is sending a specific video.”
Executives at many remote patient monitoring companies are motivated to integrate even more data into their platforms. For example, Somnoware plans to add data from consumer wearables by the end of this year. That’s another potential advantage of these remote monitoring platforms for a field as dynamic as sleep medicine: Even with an ever-changing device manufacturer landscape, sleep clinicians can stay conveniently in the know.
Image: A MonitAir dashboard shows aggregate patient data in color-coded charts.