Sleep program pushes culture change
BROOMFIELD, Colo. – A new sleep apnea pilot program aims to nudge patients along the “patient pathway” using a digital platform.
“We’ve always been aiming at that complete patient pathway, from awareness all the way through ongoing therapy and maintenance,” said Doug Hudiburg, CEO of TotalCare eHealth, a three-year-old technology startup. “This is more than just CPAP.”
The Sleep Apnea Continuum of Care Program, which launched in June, allows clinicians, providers and patients to communicate in a HIPAA-compliant closed network via private messaging. The system can also send notifications via email or automated telephone calls, and patients can also speak with someone on the phone if they choose.
Automating as much of the process as possible reduces overall time and costs, and allows for greater focus on patient engagement, says Hudiburg.
“A lot of patients don’t get any attention,” he said. “The platform gives them a home and brings them into the fold so they have resources available.”
The pilot launched with a few hundred patients at the Lafayette, Colo.-based South Pointe Clinics, which offers a range of primary care services. Getting patients at the very beginning is key— that’s where they need to be managed, Hudiburg says.
“We want to change the culture, put a kiosk in the waiting room with the goal of targeting all adult patients for screening,” he said.
That culture change includes a shift toward self-pay, says Hudiburg, who describes the Sleep Apnea Continuum of Care Program as a retail self-pay model.
“If we are going to focus on the patient, we need to make it affordable,” he said. “From the beginning, dismal third-party reimbursement has been responsible for a lot of the low compliance and lack of follow-up. That’s a mistake.”