For those who wear continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks -- which help people with sleep apnea maintain steady, regular breathing while asleep – a new app is designed to help support device users and improve adherence. With myAir, an offering from medical device company ResMed, CPAP users can now track their treatment via an iOS app, giving users access to their daily sleep patterns and coaching tips.
The app provides contextual information-based coaching on how to improve their therapy through videos, emails and encouragement along the way. A user would put on the CPAP mask at night, then log in to the app the next morning to get their “myAir score”, based on a scale of one to 100, that comprises different elements of therapy – how long they slept on CPAP, how many apneas (pauses in breathing) they had per hour and how well their CPAP mask fit.
“Then, the patient can kind of dig in and look at how the score is comprised and look up all the different elements; things like usage, therapy effectiveness, mask leak – which can be a real challenge for a lot of patients. It can be bothersome, and it can also affect their therapy as well,” Jeremy Malecha, ResMed’s senior director of product engagement told MobiHealthNews.
ResMed launched its CPAP bedside devices, Air Solutions, in 2014. All devices (AirSense and AirCurve) contain cellular chips that store and transmit data. The program was originally launched as a website shortly after the 2014 device launch. Core customers are home healthcare providers, but the company also work with physicians. ResMed has a dedicated team and program called the ResMed Data Exchange that integrates with EHRs.
“One of the big benefits of patient engagement is not only on the patient side – they get access to information to help themselves manage their condition – but it really takes a lot of the burden off of the physicians’ office or the home care providers getting a lot of questions and follow up challenges from the patients on how to improve therapy with their issues,” Malecha said.
ResMed conducted a retrospective study of users of the app. They found, in general, CPAP compliance is 60 percent, but patients who use the myAir get it up to 84 percent, which is attributable to the feedback loop patients get from the connected device.
“Historically, before the patient had a patient engagement application, they would be using the device and not knowing if it was effective or not until they went back to their doctor weeks or months later,” Malecha said. “But this really drives the interest level and continues to reinforce the benefits.”
The myAir score is the key aspect patients enjoy, Malecha said, both for the competitive aspect and as an educational tool, and the company has seen people even posting their scores on social media.
ResMed has implemented connectivity within all of their ventilation devices and is continuing to build out the patient engagement platform, as well as the information library available to patients. While the iOS app is currently only available in the US, he mobile-responsive ResMed site will be available in 20 countries in the coming days.
Malecha said that even with the competition in the space, ResMed is chiefly trying to inform consumers of the value of a solid night’s sleep, considering they believe about 30 percent of the population has some sort of sleep-disordered breathing.
“In general, ResMed is completely supportive of getting people to understand the importance of sleep, and when they might develop sleep disorder breathing,” Malecha said. “For us, it’s helping to enable the focus on the importance of sleep, getting onto therapy and, more importantly, staying on therapy…connecting therapy and getting patients engaged.”