Reporter's notebook: When it comes to sleep, everyone wants to save money

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

With a name like, you’d think customers would be flocking to the website, but they never did.

So, in August, Aeroflow Healthcare, the provider behind the site, launched a completely revamped site with new images, content and inventory. 

“We’re just trying to break into that market, and once we capture some of it, keeping (the customers) and making them happy,” said Paul Howell, web development.

The 10-year-old Aeroflow, which also offers home medical equipment, oxygen and mobility, already does a lot of CPAP business at its bricks-and-mortar location. The site is an effort to reach patients with either no insurance or high deductibles, said Howell.

“It helps that we have an inside team that already does CPAP for patients with insurance, so we have a lot of knowledge (to help patients),” he said.

‘Boom’ town

Patients aren’t the only ones looking to save a buck. Insurers have begun to encourage home sleep testing (HST), rather than the more costly in-lab sleep studies, to diagnose sleep apnea, says provider Eric Parkhill, who has offered the service for a few years but had downplayed it.

No more, he says.

“HST is starting to boom—my referrals are increasing every day,” said Parkhill, vice president of HMP Diagnostics in Atlanta. “We figured we might as well jump back in whole hog.”

That means direct marketing to referral sources and holding in-services to educate them on changes in policy.

“We are letting (physicians) know if they send (the referral) to us, that if there’s any questions (about coverage), we’ll find out what the requirements are for HST vs. in-lab testing,” said Parkhill.