Manage CPAP adherence
Friday, July 27, 2012

Q. What is the most important thing I can do to increase CPAP adherence of my patients?

A. CPAP adherence is important. Not only is an adherent patient what referrals want, but it’s also a lot more profitable to have an adherent patient in your CPAP re-supply program than it is to have one who has dropped out of therapy.

I’ve seen how difficult it is for providers to manage CPAP adherence. It’s not hard to believe that the common assumption of an average 50% to 60% adherence rate is probably accurate. 

In general, the market is doing a poor job of keeping patients on therapy.

On the other hand, I’ve also seen plenty of providers who have a comprehensive adherence program and consistently see adherence rates above 90%. 

There is ample evidence that CPAP adherence rates can be significantly improved if the right things are done consistently.

Among those right things are “the big three” elements that significantly improve CPAP adherence: patient education, monitoring and early intervention.

Patient education includes helping the patient understand their condition and how it affects their health and well-being, and also providing education about interface and flow generator usage and upkeep.

Monitoring provides the ability to know if there is a problem, such as low or no usage or high leakage, so that you can take steps to resolve the problem.

Early intervention involves following up with patients who are having issues and working with them to resolve those issues. 

The earlier problems are solved within the first 90 days of usage, the more likely the patient is to stay on therapy.

These are common sense practices, but they are effective fundamentals. Putting all three elements to work will dramatically improve results for your patients and will also improve your business over the long term as you garner more referrals and keep more patients in your re-supply pool.

Doug Hudiberg is vice president of marketing and sales for CareTouch Communications. He can be reached at or 303.565.2345.