Umbian Inc, a ResMed company and provider of cloud-based healthcare compliance solutions, participated in a newly released study that shows significant, measurable efficiency gains when using the automated messaging capabilities of its U-Sleep compliance management solution.

The study reveals a 59% reduction in labor associated with intervening with and coaching patients on continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy when using U-Sleep. The study was presented at the American Thoracic Society (ATS) 2014 International Conference in San Diego by lead investigator Dominic Munafo, MD, DABSM, medical director, Sleep Data Inc, and was supported by Umbian and ResMed.

“This is an opportunity for home medical equipment (HME) providers to redesign the way they interact with patients to improve efficiency, and therefore their bottom line,” says Raj Sodhi, president of Umbian, in a release. “Every HME is under pressure to minimize the costs associated with gaining compliance, and these findings show that U-Sleep’s automated messaging can help significantly.”

The goal of the study was to compare the effectiveness and coaching labor requirements of  web-based, automated messaging (via U-Sleep) with standard-of-care CPAP adherence coaching, and measure the coaching labor necessary to achieve Medicare-defined adherence. A secure and flexible compliance solution, U-Sleep monitors CPAP device usage and helps HMEs coach and manage their patients during therapy.

In order to evaluate the effect of automated messaging on coaching labor and patient adherence, researchers conducted a multicenter, prospective trial of patients newly diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. A total of 122 patients completed the 3-month study follow-up, with 58 in the U-Sleep arm and 64 in the standard-of-care arm. All patients were set up on a CPAP device with heated humidification and a ResMed wireless modem, and both groups received identical CPAP education and orientation.

The U-Sleep arm received an automated series of text messages and/or emails triggered by one of five situations that indicated noncompliance, such as no CPAP data for two consecutive days or CPAP usage of less than 4 hours for three consecutive nights. In contrast, the standard-of-care arm received scheduled telephone calls on days 1, 7, 14, and 30.

Reducing Labor While Increasing Compliance

The results of the study reveal a significant reduction in the mean number of minutes of adherence coaching required per patient for the U-Sleep arm, equating to a 59% reduction in labor. In addition, there was an observed difference of +10% in Medicare-defined adherence for the U-Sleep group (83% versus 73%). Medicare-defined adherence is the documented use of CPAP therapy for at least 4 hours per night for 70% or more nights during a consecutive 30-day period within the first 90 days of therapy.

“Scaling to meet the growing sleep apnea patient base requires new ways of thinking for HMEs,” Sodhi says. “Using automated messaging technology to keep patients on track with therapy has the potential to increase an HME’s patient base capacity, and improve a growing number of lives.”