Quality of care is one of the cornerstones of a successful healthcare organization, and durable medical equipment (DME) providers in Oklahoma and across the United States are no exception to this rule. How you treat your patients and how they perceive your service can make or break your business. It’s therefore well worth building a solid foundation for optimized patient care right from the start to ensure your company’s success and your patients’ satisfaction. Here are some tips to consider.
Empathy is defined as one’s capacity to be aware of, understand, and share the feelings of another person. It is the ability to recognize and validate someone else’s pain, worries, and fears — and patients new to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy are no strangers to these emotions. After all, starting CPAP therapy is a major lifestyle change, and no one can be blamed for feeling anxious or apprehensive about it.
You can show empathy to your patients by actively listening to them. Think about how they must be feeling and how you would feel if you were in their shoes. Try not to interrupt them while they’re speaking, and give them your full, undivided attention. When it’s your turn to talk, repeat what the patient said to ensure that you really understood what they meant. Make them feel safe and secure by offering reassurance along with advice on how to deal with therapy-related concerns.
Set and manage expectations
It’s easy for patients to get swept up in all the excitement over the benefits of CPAP therapy, so when it doesn’t work out for them, they get frustrated and end up quitting. The key to preventing this is setting realistic expectations.
Explain to patients that while using a CPAP machine has been proven to alleviate the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), they shouldn’t expect to experience relief overnight. It may take many months of nightly use before they reap the benefits of CPAP, so they must be patient and stick to their therapy, even if they feel like it isn’t working.
It’s also important to discuss the potential problems patients may encounter during therapy, as well as the solutions to these. Knowing what to expect and what they can do will give patients a sense of control over the situation, making them more likely to adhere to CPAP therapy.
Drive home the importance of compliance
During onboarding and in each follow-up call you have with patients, explain what compliance is and how it will be measured. Newer CPAP machines have built-in monitoring technology that tracks the number of hours the machine is used per night and each patient’s apnea-hypopnea index, which is a measure of the severity of OSA. This information is electronically transmitted to the patient’s physician or sleep specialist, who will then evaluate the data and, if needed, offer recommendations to make CPAP therapy more effective for the patient.
This same data is also required by private insurance providers and Medicare. In particular, Medicare approves or rejects requests for CPAP machine reimbursement based on patients’ compliance with therapy. If the patient fails to meet the required number of hours of CPAP use or doesn’t show signs of improvement, it’s likely that Medicare won’t reimburse them.
Encourage patient participation
Studies have shown that patients who are involved in their own treatment achieve better outcomes and improved quality of life. You can help your patients become active participants in their care by educating them on CPAP and OSA, as well as giving them resources so they can learn about their condition on their own. Get their input by asking questions and encouraging them to do the same. Assure them that they can always reach out to you via their platform of choice, whether that’s SMS, email, phone, or a patient portal on your website.
One way to ensure participation is to enroll patients in a CPAP resupply program. This ensures regular communication and better collaboration between your team and each patient based on the latter’s preferred schedule and over their preferred platform. You’ll be able to identify patients’ needs, perceptions, and expectations, and act on their feedback immediately. At the same time, you will be able to monitor their progress with therapy and provide them with fresh CPAP supplies in a timely manner.
Revsuppliance offers a fully automated CPAP resupply program that has helped DME providers across Oklahoma optimize patient care and maximize profits. Schedule a demonstration of our resupply services by calling 405-467-1791 today.