Many durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers are still stuck in the 20th century, using faxes and phones to track progress and communicate with their CPAP patients as they try to keep them compliant with sleep therapy prescribed by their doctor.
Eric Cohen, a former product engineer and designer with such top brands as BMW and Reebok, and president and co-founder of National Sleep Therapy (NST), posits that a combination of 21st century technology and regular patient-provider interaction—which he calls “touchpoints”—can dramatically raise patient compliance and help them get a good night’s sleep. The results? Healthier patients, improved outcomes, continued insurance coverage for CPAP equipment, and potential reduced healthcare costs.
Cohen says it can be difficult for CPAP patients to get used to the machine and to the mask that must be worn all night. But his “keys to ZZZs”—a coordinated, integrated program—has raised compliance as high as 84%, as compared to the national average of 50%, and attained a 96.4% satisfaction rate.
“Sleep therapy is a process rather than a single diagnostic and therapeutic event. We’re proving that clinical therapy works best when there’s active participation on the part of the clinician and patient,” he says in a release. We give patients access to meaningful content and support, and everyone involved has instant access to relevant, current data. This high level of consistent education encourages self-reliance, awareness, and self-sufficiency.”
Under the system, integrated “data sources” are available to patients, physicians, sleep centers, and the CPAP company’s clinical staff. Information sharing and transparency reduce errors and improve patient perceptions and the overall care experience. “It’s a ‘We’re all on the same team’ approach,” Cohen says.
“We aggregate data in a master database to track patterns and trends that provide a more complete ‘picture’ of a patient,” Cohen says. “The system automatically looks for issues that may require clinical intervention. The ability to assemble more holistic data enables us to create custom, relevant touchpoints for each patient.” This transparency and interaction build connections wherein patients become engaged and involved in their own treatment. On average, NST patients experience seven touchpoint events during the year.
“This unique program highlights our commitment to partner with patients, physicians, and sleep programs to raise care quality while reducing healthcare costs,” says Cohen.