Go where the patients are

Friday, July 27, 2012

WESTMINSTER, Colo. – Smart phones and tablets don’t just allow HME providers to run their businesses better. CareTouch also believes they allow them to communicate with and manage patients better.

That’s why CareTouch in late June launched an app for patients with sleep disorders that allows them to communicate with their providers, track their therapy and re-order their supplies.

“This type of communication is huge because providers can’t afford to send out drivers all the time,” said Doug Hudiburg, vice president of sales and marketing. “Management is huge because, while they have an expertise in setting up patients and making sure they have the right equipment, there’s an expanding group of patients that need even deeper service than that.”

CareTouch, which provides remote patient monitoring management technology and services to home health providers, also plans to target patients with asthma, diabetes and COPD.

Increasingly, smart phones and tablets are how patients prefer to communicate and manage their lives—personally, professionally and now medically—so providers have to be there, too. That’s especially the case for patients with sleep disorders, who tend to be younger and more tech-savvy, Hudiburg says.

“Patients will say to providers, can you just send me an email or can I just go to the web for this?” he said. “If you can give them things that are in a mode that they like and it’s easy, everything works better, including for the provider.”

The app, for use on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, serves as a repository of medical information (what products are being used, what sizes, etc.) and a data capture tool (CPAP usage, mask leak percentage), Hudiburg says.

“It’s patient empowerment,” he said. “They can see what’s going on and participate a little more.”