Dr. Iltifat Husain’s physician take is at the end of this article
ResMed, a major sleep apnea device and software manufacturer, recently presented promising findings from a large study of sleep apnea patients at the annual CHEST 2016 meeting. The results of this study show that self-monitoring software and medical apps significantly increase patient adherence to sleep apnea treatment.
The study was based on ResMed’s myAir app and their myAir online platform. The myAir app and their online platform syncs with ResMed’s Air 10 machine to record your treatments, progress, and even offer tips and tricks on how to get a comfortable night’s sleep.
The following are the types of tips and coaching you receive:
The retrospective, observational study monitored 128,000 participants who used positive airway pressure (PAP) to treat their sleep apnea. They were monitored remotely by their clinicians or by patients while they used sleep apnea devices via ResMed’s cognitive behavior–based patient engagement app for the web and iPhone.
The study showed that more than 87 percent of PAP users were compliant with treatment while using myAir and monitored by AirView, a cloud-based tool for health care professionals, compared to 70 percent compliance for those monitored by AirView alone.
ResMed’s Medical Director Adam Benjafield, Ph.D. stated:
“While our study focused on PAP users, we believe these results may be generalized more broadly in terms of the role online tools can have in improving medical treatment compliance overall . . . The effects of poor treatment adherence are profound, not only for the number of people suffering due to poor medication adherence, but also in terms of emergency room visits, hospitalizations and their financial burden to the health care system.”
Dr. Iltifat Husain’s take:
Overall really interesting findings by ResMed. While this wasn’t a peer reviewed study, the sheer number of patients they collected data on was impressive. I think key to their success was the easy set up for their devices and mobile and online tools. Their PAP machines have cellular connectivity — enabling for an easy set up once users create online profiles on the myAir platform. There was no need to try to sync smartphones and laptops manually to the devices — which would have created a another step and a barrier.
Some interesting findings were the Medicare patient results:
“There was a significant improvement in the percent of patients that reached Medicare adherence within 90 days (87.3% for myAir patients vs. 70.4% for AirView-only patients, with a p value less than 0.0001), showing an absolute 16.9% improvement (a relative 24% improvement) in adherence. Additionally mean daily PAP usage was also significantly higher in myAir patients compared to AirView-only (5.9 hours vs. 4.9 hours, respectively).”
These are great numbers when it comes to justifying reimbursement for these types of digital medicine tools. Further, it shows that even those that are older had great results — implying the setup was not difficult for them.