Better tracking, better outcomes?

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

When it comes to tracking the value of sleep therapy, there’s been an increasing focusing on long-term success, says Dr. Douglas Kirsch.

“Showing that 80% of your patients are adherent by day 90 is step 1,” said Kirsch, medical director of sleep medicine for Atrium Health and a past-president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “But now my question is, what is the adherence rate at year 1 or year 2?”

With allocation of resources becoming a larger problem, health care will continues to push toward value-based care. That means rethinking how data is used to track outcomes, Kirsch recently told HME News.

HME News: Are providers making good use of data in their business?

Douglas Kirsch: The availability of all this data is fantastic, but it’s a challenge to gather and manage this data in a way that an HME can act on it well enough to manage (outcomes) in the short and long term.

HME: Do Medicare guidelines for tracking PAP adherence—use of CPAP machine for more than four hours per night, 70% of the time—still make sense?

Kirsch: When people quote this data, that data is 20-plus years old and probably no longer valid with the tracking mechanisms that we have today, especially as the equipment has changed and improved. It requires more data analytics. Our group has had to work with a third party vendor to get at some of the data that we want to be able to look at to say how are patients doing at year 1, 18 months, year 2.

HME: How can HME providers help patients maintain adherence?

Kirsch: No. 1, integrating patients with engagement tools like he DreamMapper and the MyAir apps appears to be something that in the long run helps patients be successful. And No. 2, staying in contact with people. On the HME side it’s a matter, it’s a matter of acting on the data you have. Yes, you have limited manpower, but if we can build in triggers that say, ‘hey this person was doing well but in the last month has been doing lousy, pick up the phone, call that person, and find out what the story is.