Outcomes study: COPD patients wanted

Friday, June 19, 2015

Industry stakeholders hope a new COPD study will lend weight to its argument that education improves patient compliance and outcomes.

AAHomecare and the American Association for Respiratory Care are recruiting HME providers and oxygen patients to participate in the Peer-Led O2 Infoline for Patient and Caregivers study, funded by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute. 

“Hopefully the study highlights the fact that we’re not a commodity,” said Peter Rankin, manager of government affairs for AAHomecare. “The HME industry is something you have to invest service and education in.”

Participating HME providers, as well as research staffers, will collect information about patients’ oxygen use, including hours of use and number of tanks used. The information will be collected either during in-home visits or over the phone from patients, who will fill out an oxygen-use diary. 

“They’re looking at those utilization measurements as a reference as an indicator of adherence,” said Joe Lewarski, executive vice president of Valley View, Ohio-based ExactCare Pharmacy, who is on the study’s advisory panel. 

Stakeholders hope to use the data to show CMS how competitive bidding—which through reimbursement cuts has made it difficult for HME providers to spend as much time on education—could impact patient outcomes. 

“This is the first major study we’ve seen come along recently that could measure the value behind the service our members provide,” said Rankin. “That’s really going to help push our issues on the Hill and with CMS.”

Results will be available in 2017.