Q and A: Jim Clark

Thursday, April 28, 2011

CATSKILL, N.Y. - Jim Clark wanted to find out if providers really do make a difference.

So his company, Clark Respiratory and Medical Supply, conducted a study of 324 oxygen-dependent COPD patients during a 10-month time period to see if improved patient education had any effect on outcomes.

What it found: Improved patient education reduced hospital re-admissions by 14.8%.

Clark spoke with HME News recently about his findings and the increasing importance of evidence-based medicine.

HME News: Why did you do this study?

Jim Clark: We were looking for studies and couldn't find any that specifically said, "What does patient education by a respiratory therapist do for a COPD patient?" The question was, "Do we make a difference?" The other part of it was, we're under decreasing reimbursement and respiratory therapists are a significant cost. The question was, "Can they effect a positive change?"

HME: What did you learn?

Clark: We found out there was this tremendous knowledge deficit about what patients understood about their disease and what they could do about it. So we set about to create a plan to assess what they knew. Then we would teach, then reassess and re-teach through three visits with each patient. 

HME: Does the HME industry need to gather more of this data to show home care's worth?

Clark: Absolutely. We're in an age of evidence-based medicine. If you don't have the documentation and you don't have the data, then what do you have? What I keep hearing in Washington is "You guys have no data. Why can't we just buy this thing online for $600 and be done with it? Why do we have to pay you?" Healthcare's still being figured out, and I hope we were able to prove here that respiratory therapists play an integral part in home medical equipment companies and positive patient outcomes.