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Telehealth: Break HME paradigms 

Telehealth: Break HME paradigms 

Q. What is driving the telehealth landscape? 

A. The next four articles are going to raise some eyebrows - in a good way! For the last six years, I have been involved in empowering respiratory care in new and exciting ways, and I will paint a picture of the emerging HME/tele-respiratory landscape. 

Let’s start with remote PAP set ups.   

Along came a public health emergency: COVID-19. This took the HME industry into the uncharted territory of providing remote services to customers/patients in the home. Customers didn’t want anyone entering their homes; clinicians were not excited to enter homes.  

The federal government:

• Lifted HIPAA rules to allow for any video chat platform to be used;  

• Expanded telehealth to include a telephonic connection; 

• Included the customer’s home as a telehealth place of origin; and 

• Expanded telehealth provider definitions. 

HME providers scrambled to insert themselves into telehealth and struggled with technology for their customers and their staff learned on the fly, as well.  

Other challenges occurred for the HME provider. There was already an RT shortage, and HME RTs transitioning to acute care only exacerbated the short supply. 

The HME industry and its RTs are used to change and challenges in health care. The industry is rising to the challenge with more and more tele-respiratory remote PAP set ups being performed each and every day. The RT shortage did not go away but being able to fearlessly scale your businesses is now possible. Outsourcing remote PAP set ups is a growing reality.  

Outsourcing services can play an essential role in an organization. Inserting outsourced resources when and where needed without having to recruit staff and worry about business volume changes can be a “pressure relief valve” for any business. 

Curt Merriman is chief sales officer for rtNow. Reach him at 


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