Connectivity 'elevates" home oxygen therapy

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Monday, January 6, 2020

Oxygen therapy has always been the lifeblood of the HME respiratory provider’s business as companies offer a range of therapies, modalities and services to their patients. And the wireless connectivity that is ubiquitous in the modern world adds an important new dimension to the market that has the potential to boost efficacy and efficiency while reducing costs and better managing outcomes.

The sophisticated connectivity infrastructure that has revolutionized communications has had a distinct and positive impact on oxygen technology and clinical care pathways, says Eli Diacopoulos, respiratory care business leader at Andover, Mass.-based Philips.

“With connected care, patient data is more visible and accessible, and as a result we have the ability to identify at-risk populations and deliver them the care they need sooner, before a more costly intervention like an emergency room visit occurs,” he said. “Connected care devices can help increase adherence to treatment for patients with chronic respiratory conditions, which can lower the chance of readmission by allowing patients and physicians to stay connected throughout the course of therapy. For patients that require a ventilator, connected therapy can greatly improve the transition from hospital to home. This is a huge development, as post-acute care environment transitions and the resulting interruptions can lead to unnecessary stress and burden on patients, staff, and caregivers—in addition to costly readmissions.”

As the number of people living with chronic respiratory diseases continues to grow, so do the challenges of caring for them, Diacopoulos said.

“For homecare providers and health systems alike, managing patient care within home environments has become a priority that presents economic, operational and clinical challenges,” he said. “Using connected care solutions enables providers to view critical data through one unified platform, allowing for near real-time feedback to patients about their treatments. With connected care, the care team can better understand a patient’s therapy and troubleshoot issues early on to help increase compliance with treatment.”

The connectivity infrastructure is positioned to streamline care across the entire continuum, enabling physicians, clinicians and caregivers to effectively collaborate and coordinate care by storing patient prescription information the same secure locations. In the past year, Diacopoulos reports that Philips’ cloud-based systems have enabled more than 5,200 home health providers in the U.S. to securely manage more than 2.3 million active patient records.

A holistic view

Bothell, Wash.-based Ventec Life Systems has been touting the connectivity of its VOCSN respiratory device that combines five different therapies into one. The name is an acronym for Ventilation, Oxygen, Cough, Suction and Nebulizer.

Chris Brooks, managing director, says the nearly three-year-old technology has found the perfect application in the homecare market. The small VOCSN device has a six-liter-per-minute concentrator that combines with ventilation and has a new E0467 HCPCS code.

“It is very exciting to have it available for HME providers,” he said. “If they want to streamline their fleet, they have an integrated solution that combines the different therapies. There are a lot of benefits of integrated care.”

The holistic multi-view aspect of the device enables therapies to be monitored and data available for outcomes evaluation, Brooks said. A 30-day summary details how frequently patients use the therapies, which can be used for interventions to stave off hospital readmissions.

O2 ‘pain points’

Philip Geanacopoulos, marketing manager for Precision Medical, says the Northampton, Pa.-based manufacturer has extensively researched the “pain points” oxygen users experience in designing the Live Active Five portable concentrator.

“We designed the Live Active Five for ease of use, comfort and durability,” he said. “The first thing people will notice is the dual-curved shape, designed for comfort whether the user wears it on the shoulder or crossbody and is hands-free.  We also designed the carrying bag with an easy-to-clean material and an elastic shoulder strap that acts as a shock absorber, providing additional comfort while the user is walking.” 

Other features are a large display screen that shows both percentage of battery remaining and hours and minutes remaining. This reading allows users to always know how much time they have left until they need to switch to a new battery, which Geanacopoulos says “can help remove any runtime anxiety.” 

To make the process of changing batteries easier, the batteries are top loading and can be changed to a charged battery “in a few seconds,” he said.

Outcomes insight

While providers currently have access to incredible amounts of data, it does not always translate to actionable insights, Diacopoulos said.

“To support high-quality care, the focus needs to be on acquiring meaningful data and the knowledge to generate actionable insights from that data in a way that can streamline better patient care and even, in some cases, predict and prevent exacerbations,” he said. “Technology does make a real difference in healthcare, but only when it’s used in the context of existing workflows and technology. Cloud-based patient management solutions, such as Philips Care Orchestrator, draws data from Philips connected sleep and respiratory homecare devices as well as patients’ electronic medical records, insurance claims and billing systems. It then converts this raw data into actionable information and delivers it directly to the care team in their preferred format, empowering them to make faster and more-informed decisions.”