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mHealth Study Shows Value of Sleep Monitoring

Patients who use mHealth to monitor their sleep patterns are more likely to comply with prescribed treatment plans and Medicare guidelines, according to the recent study.

By Eric Wicklund

- People who use mHealth tools to monitor their sleep are more likely to show improvement and adhere to Medicare guidelines for reimbursement, according to the results of a survey released today.

The study of some 128,000 patients, conducted by San Diego-based ResMed, found that almost 88 percent reached Medicare adherence within 90 days when using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device and self-monitoring app. Approximately 70 percent achieved compliance within 90 days with help from an online platform linking patients to clinicians, the study found.

Only about half of those affected by sleep issues followed prescribed therapy, according to studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine. A 2009 study by the Network for Excellence in Health Innovation found that poor adherence or non-adherence to prescribed care plans costs the nation’s healthcare system about $290 billion annually.

“Half of all patients don’t take their medications as prescribed, and we know that same statistic holds true for compliance with PAP therapy for sleep apnea,” Adam Benjafield, PhD, ResMed’s medical director, said in remarks accompanying the study. “The effects of poor treatment adherence are profound, not only for the number of people suffering due to poor medication adherence, but also in terms of emergency room visits, hospitalizations and their financial burden to the healthcare system.”

“This new study shows that online self-monitoring tools engage patients and significantly improve their compliance and adherence to treatment,” he added, calling the ResMed study the largest ever undertaken on sleep issues. “While our study focused on PAP users, we believe these results may be generalized more broadly in terms of the role online tools can have in improving medical treatment compliance overall.”

ResMed is among several mHealth companies using remote patient monitoring platforms to tackle the nation’s problem with getting a good night’s sleep. Earlier this year Kaiser Permanente unveiled the results of a study undertaken with ResMed devices which showed a 20 percent increase in adherence rates through mHealth.

“Anything that significantly increases CPAP use in the first 90 days is a big deal,” Dennis Hwang, MD, a sleep specialist at Kaiser Permanente’s Fontana Medical Center and the study’s principal investigator, said in a press release. “That initial period is crucial for patients to embrace CPAP to treat their sleep apnea, which is linked to heart failure, atrial fibrillation, type 2 diabetes and other serious conditions. Tools like U-Sleep hold a lot of promise for patients on CPAP and the clinicians who treat them.”

Others in the arena include The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, which launched its own telehealth platform this year; the American Sleep Apnea Association, which launched a sleep study in March with IBM’s Watson Health unit on Apple’s ResearchKit platform; and Royal Philips, which markets the DreamMapper app and software platform and has been targeted patients with obstructive sleep apnea and veterans with PTSD.

ResMed recently partnered with TV show host Dr. Mehmet Oz to launch a national campaign on the importance of sleep and health. The company hopes to gather more than 1 million nights of anonymized sleep data through its mHealth platform to produce a national sleep fitness report, which will be presented in January 2017 at the Digital Health Summit, part of CES 2017 in Las Vegas.

Dig Deeper:

Healthcare Wakes Up to the Value of mHealth and Sleep

mHealth Evolution: IoT Devices Will Reportedly Outnumber Phones by 2018

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