Data-driven therapy 'way of future'

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Treating obstructive sleep apnea makes patients feel better, reduces co-morbidities, and saves money—a win all around. That doesn’t make it any easier for patients to get used to their device, says Michael Cantor, chief medical officer for CareCentrix.

“It’s a really effective therapy but it’s a behavioral therapy—they have to do the same thing every night for the rest of their lives so that first three-month window is really important in get that habit ingrained,” he said.

That’s why it’s important to pull out all the stops to help get new patients though those first critical months, says Cantor. CareCentrix’s iComply, a sleep management program that moves patients from testing to device fitting to compliance, uses respiratory therapists and data to give patients the support they need.

HME News: Once the patient is tested and fitted with a device, what happens next?

Dr. Michael Cantor: The PAP devices generate information and send that data though a phone connection—the patient doesn’t have to do anything. The coaches watch the data and call back at intervals based on adherence. If it’s not going well, there may be more extensive calls to help them figure out how to manage the device. They are really good at understanding those barriers that people have to adherence and reinforcing and coaching people.

HME: Treating OSA reduces health problems like diabetes and heart failure. Are payers more willing these days to pay for preventive treatment?

Cantor: Because of the downstream costs for not adhering, the payer actually saves money. This is one of those cases where prevention is a win-win. The payer more than gets back the cost in terms of avoided costs. Payers are willing to make a small investment for the return.

HME: Will we see more adoption of this type of program for other diseases?

Cantor: In the future, this kind of program, what I call data supported adherence, (will become more widespread). We are seeing it with remote monitoring. I see doctors and nurses beginning to work with it for asthma patients. When you get the data feedback, it enables a different clinical conversation. This is the way of the future.