In Search of Compliance

Market success depends on getting sleep-disorder breathing patients to use therapy devices

by Larry Anderson

Compliance is the Holy Grail of sleep-disorder breathing therapy. Technologies such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices only work if patients use them, and yet industry statistics suggest compliance rates hovering around 50 percent, to the detriment of both patient well-being and DME/HME providers’ bottom line.

Compliance is critical to successful treatment of sleep-disorder breathing and also to the success of DME/HME providers. It’s clearly in everyone’s interests to boost compliance, but how?

Devoting time and resources to ensure compliance is particularly challenging for DME providers in the age of competitive bidding, says Mitchell Yoel, executive vice president of business development and government affairs at Drive Medical Design and Manufacturing. “Current pressures on providers are coming from multiple fronts,” he says. “Providers must both facilitate and confirm compliance with PAP therapy to ensure clinical outcomes and reimbursement, and must also manage the operational costs associated with the amount of time clinical staff spends on PAP patients to get the appropriate fit and comfort.”

In the context of competitive bidding, providers face a precarious balance between ensuring clinical efficacy and staying in business, says Yoel. “The goal is to achieve high patient satisfaction, compliance and outcomes with the fewest ‘touches’ possible,” he explains.

From the perspective of choosing products, achieving PAP compliance efficiently involves considering the versatility of an individual interface, its acquisition cost and the total cost of ownership, adds Yoel. Drive offers the Freedom Series of full face and nasal interfaces to supply providers and clinicians with masks that have low initial acquisition costs and “one size fits all” versatility with multiple cushion sizes in each retail box, fully assembled and with high levels of seal capability and comfort.

Emphasize the Experiential Mode

The technology of sleep-disorder breathing is evolving quickly, and DME providers should open their minds to new technologies beyond continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) to solve problems, says Barry Krakow, M.D., medical director of Maimonides Sleep Arts and Sciences, Ltd., Albuquerque, N.M., whose sleep clinic has achieved a compliance rate among ongoing patients of about 97 percent.