ResMed: ‘We’re only getting started’

Friday, May 31, 2019

SAN DIEGO – How much has ResMed grown in the past 30 years? Here’s one way to look at it: The company reported revenues of $1 million for its first fiscal year in 1990; it reported revenues of $662.2 million for the third quarter alone for fiscal year 2019. ResMed marked its 30th anniversary last week and Robert Douglas, president and COO, spoke with HME News about the company’s evolution and the increasing role of data in its success. “We’re really only getting started,” he said.

HME News: What would you consider one of ResMed’s major accomplishments over the past 30 years?

Robert Douglas: When ResMed was getting going, sleep apnea was considered a rare condition. So when I look at our 30-year history, one of the major things we’ve worked on is raising awareness of sleep apnea and the importance of getting it treated; and how it doesn’t only affect middle-aged men, but also men and women of all ages. That has been a challenge—supporting the effectiveness of treatment and getting patients on treatment—and HME providers have been a key part of our success in that.

HME: Just this week, the New York Times wrote an article with the headline, “Sleep Apnea Can Have Deadly Consequences.” You can’t get much bigger mainstream media coverage than that.

Douglas: We do think the awareness issue isn’t completely done. There’s an understanding of the dangers of untreated sleep apnea and the effectiveness of treatment, but there still need to be different discussions with payers on the reimbursement models around that. We now have data showing the effectiveness of treating sleep apnea versus waiting for it to reap its terrible consequences.

HME: ResMed has some 4 billion nights of medical sleep apnea and COPD data in the cloud, twice as much as the company had just one year ago. That has to make a powerful case.

Douglas: We have a large amount of anonymized data in our system. We’ve published studies with data from 1 million patients on, for example, understanding that when central sleep apnea is involved there are benefits of going to an adaptive servo ventilation (ASV) device. Our large and growing data set allows for multi-million patient studies that can be produced in a few weeks or months to help inform the larger clinical field.

HME: How do you further shape or package that data to make the most compelling case to payers?

Douglas: Our data is deep and specific around sleep apnea and COPD, and how patients with those conditions are being treated. When I say our data, I mean the patient’s data—we’re the guardians of that. But from that data, we can’t tell the health outcomes. We’re looking to partner with health systems, integrated providers, insurers to look at health outcomes and match them to different aspects of treatment. I think in the future, we’re going to see studies using state-of-the-art technology and practices for keeping patients on treatment and how that changes outcomes. So these partnerships are very important going forward.