AASM adds video communication to HME toolbox

‘The opportunities are limited only to someone’s imagination, as to how they can run their business a little better’
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Friday, January 20, 2017

CHICAGO – Ensuring compliance with sleep therapy can be time consuming and expensive for HME providers and patients alike. A new telemedicine platform from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine aims to make things easier.

The group recently made AASM SleepTM, a proprietary web-based video platform, available to DME providers. It was already available to physicians and sleep labs.

“It occurred to us a fair number of the questions and concerns that come up could be addressed over a telemedicine platform,” said Jerry Barrett, executive director of AASM. “The patient’s ability to get to the DME company, the DME company’s need to hire RTs—these things can be handled (using telemedicine). It will help patients stay on their therapy and we will all see better adherence.”

The platform, which is available for a $250 setup fee and $500 annual fee, allows for appointment scheduling, file sharing and messaging.

If communicating with patients via the web seems daunting, think again.

“It was designed with ease of use in mind,” said Steve Van Hout, assistant executive director for AASM and the chief architect of AASM SleepTM. “There are no new programs that need to be learned—just go into your browser and log on.”

But it’s the platform’s video communication, specifically, that’s key to patient compliance, AASM says.

“One of the core issues is trying to explain a visual concept over the phone,” said Tom Duffy, director of telehealth operations. “If you are having an issue with your mask, you could spend several minutes trying to explain it (over the phone), whereas if you hopped on a video encounter, the DME could see what the issue is and rectify it very quickly.”

For DME providers seeking to balance high-touch services with an increasing need for efficiency, AASM SleepTM makes it easier to cut costs, even as they see more patients, AASM says.

“You can have an RT working out of their home on weekends or in the evenings when people are more available,” Barrett said. “The opportunities are limited only to someone’s imagination, as to how they can run their business a little better.”

While telemedicine is still in its early stages, AASM expects it to be a huge driver in reducing healthcare costs going forward, especially in rural areas where people don’t have easy access to care.

“The only way to effectively reach these areas is through technology used on the diagnostics side, as well as on the therapeutic side, to get people care that they just don’t have available to them right now,” Barrett said.