CPAP education equals compliance

Monday, June 30, 2008

Online CPAP retailer relaunched its Web site in April with a special emphasis on patient education. An informed patient is a compliant patient, says Timothy Tillman, chief information officer. HME News spoke with Tillman recently.

HME News: Why did you decide to tout the company as an information resource?

Timothy Tillman: We spend a lot of time every day talking to patients that have general questions and they tell us, “My DME didn’t know the answer” or “They gave me a machine and a mask and sent me home.”

Even if that person is not one of our customers or doesn’t even plan to become one of our customers, we still may stay on the phone with them for 30 to 45 minutes just to explain the basics of how to clean their machine, change filters or fit their mask.

HME: Isn’t it the patient’s responsibility to make sure they have the information they need?

Tillman: Absolutely. That’s why they’re calling us. We have a lot of people who just don’t even understand sometimes why they’re on this thing. They look for someone to have a conversation with.

HME: What do you say to patients who just aren’t using their CPAP?

Tillman: They tell us, “It’s too bulky; it’s too loud; I couldn’t fall asleep with it.” We walk them through a process where we say, “You’ve got to start getting used to it. Wear it for half-an-hour before you plan to go to sleep to try to get used to the mask and the machine noises.”

HME: Does this improve patient compliance?

Tillman: We believe it does. I have e-mail after e-mail (from CPAP users) that says, “If I hadn’t talked to you, I wouldn’t have gone back to using this.”