Providers on mask tools: They’re ‘tremendously valuable’

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Friday, June 26, 2020

YARMOUTH, Maine – New tools aim to reduce the guesswork when it comes to helping sleep apnea patients get the right masks and maintain compliance, say CPAP providers.

ResMed in May launched ResMed MaskSelector to create personalized mask recommendations based on a patient’s sleep attributes and facial measurements; Philips Respironics last year launched Philips Mask Selector to leverage 3D technology to find the best mask fit.

“(These tools are) tremendously valuable,” says Brad Heath, director of operations for Dunn, N.C.-based Family Medical Supply. “Traditionally, patients have been the least involved in those decisions and this is giving them many more tools to have a custom fit. It’s such a personal piece of respiratory equipment, because it touches the face.”

It’s not uncommon for patients to be refitted for masks after the initial one doesn’t work out. When a mask is uncomfortable or simply the wrong size, the patient may give up on CPAP therapy before they even get started, says Jason Jones.

“It’s a deal breaker,” said Jones, president of Jones Medical Supply in Troy, Ala. “You can have a guy who needs a CPAP and can’t get a mask or tries two or three masks and after a week or two still can’t get it to work. That’s a no-go. The mask is key.”

Ultimately, it comes down to the provider and the patient working together to find a mask that works, say providers. Richard Spafford offers “fit packs”—a kit from the manufacturer that contains small, medium and large masks. That cuts down on returns and exchanges, and saves valuable time, though the provider is still available to help.

“If the fit pack doesn’t work, we can try a size higher; we can walk them through it,” said Spafford, president of USA Medical Supply in Springfield, Mass. “That’s helped us substantially and it offers good protection for both sides.”