A recent study conducted in France shows that follow-up phone calls to patients newly trained on CPAP devices increased overall compliance by 10%, and resulted in as much as an hour more of proper use each night by people with sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome.
According to study author Alain Didier, MD, from Toulouse University Hospital in France, the average age of the 379 patients enrolled in the study was 59 years, 72% of participants were male, average body mass index was 33 kg/m², and the average apnea-hypopnea index score, determined with respiratory polygraph, was in the severe range.
Patients were randomized in a 1:1 fashion to receive either 5 supporting follow-up calls during the 3-month period after initial CPAP instruction or a single visit by a technician 30 days after initial CPAP instruction, which served as the control group.
During the follow-up calls, patients were given information about sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome and its potential consequences, and pointers on how to best use the CPAP device.
For both groups, additional intervention by a technician was provided if necessary.
Study end points included nightly average CPAP use and the percent of patient adherence, defined as average CPAP use for more than three hours per night at four months (measured objectively with CPAP internal monitors).
After four months, CPAP adherence was 10% higher in the follow-up group than in the control group.
“In France, the CPAP system is operated by a third party, which is then reimbursed by national healthcare insurance,” Didier explained in a released statement. “However, reimbursement is contingent on a track record of patient compliance, defined as treatment of more than 3 hours per night of prescribed CPAP use. Therefore, for medical and financial reasons, it is key that patients understand how to properly use the device.”