Getting to where we are now with this project has not been easy. Not by a long shot. And many times, I have wondered why we are doing this? There are many, many easier software products we could be building right now, ones that could generate immediate and significant revenue and require much less support and complexity.
So why go through the significant trouble of creating a CPAP Therapy Management platform for CPAP Users, Clinicians, and Therapy Providers? Because we must.
You can call it an obsession if you want, my wife certainly has, but since I first began to understand the scope of the problems facing CPAP Therapy, AND realized that they were solvable, I have been unable to let go of my commitment to solving them.
This is not a venture-funded project. We have developed the CPAP TotalCare technology to it’s current point entirely in bootstrap mode — through creative partnerships, sweat equity, our personal savings, and help from family and friends.
We’ve been working on CPAP TotalCare for over two years, but the project actually started in 2008 when I first started consulting in the Home Medical Equipment market and got deeply involved in the CPAP therapy segment. As are most people who really come to understand the CPAP therapy market, I was astounded when I realized how big and fast growing the market is, and how significant the problems are.
There are a lot of issues that need to be solved for CPAP therapy in the US, but here are the biggies..
- 50% Average CPAP Therapy Adherence Rate
- 75% Of Sleep Apnea Sufferers Remain Undiagnosed and Untreated
- Low Referring Physician Satisfaction & Loyalty
- Low Patient Satisfaction & Loyalty
- Low Payer Satisfaction & Loyalty
- Most of the Profit for CPAP Providers is consumed by overhead and yet, most patients remain under served
I don’t think anyone who is close to CPAP Therapy will disagree with me, most would have other items to add! But if you do disagree, please comment and show me where I’m wrong.
That’s not a good scorecard for the treatment of choice for a significant chronic condition to have. By most estimates there are around 40 Million people in the United States alone who suffer from sleep apnea. Out of those, approximately 30 million remain undiagnosed! Out of the 10 million who are diagnosed with sleep apnea, lets say 3/4 of them have moderate to severe sleep apnea. Out of that 7 million population, for whom CPAP therapy is the treatment of choice, certainly less then 3 million are currently on therapy. (Again, you can dispute my numbers. The comment section is open
So why are the overall results so bad?
First of all, you have to look at it in context. The results for any major chronic condition, diabetes for example, would look similar. Many of the problems that face CPAP therapy are problems that are present in most chronic condition markets.
When it is ‘done right,’ CPAP therapy works. When it is prescribed, and used, it is nearly 100% effective. It’s non-invasive, fast acting, and does not require drugs or significant clinical management. CPAP therapy improves overall health, boost productivity and quality of life, and reduces overall healthcare costs.
When I say “done right,” I mean basic best practices.
- Sleep Apnea Education
- Basic Equipment Training & Support
- Follow-up and supply replenishment
- Troubleshooting & Coaching when needed
And EVERY stakeholder wants good results…
- Patients & their loved ones
- Physicians & Other Sleep Clinicians
- Insurance Providers
- Anyone who shares the road with drowsy drivers
And when basic best practices are followed, we see great results…
- 80% or Higher Adherence Rates
- High Patient Loyalty and Satisfaction
- High Referring Physician Satisfaction and Loyalty
There are many examples of Therapy Providers who get these kinds of results.
The problem comes down to this… best practices work, they’re just not scalable or sustainable.
In other words, the problem is not what to do but how to do it profitably. For most therapy providers, nearly 100% of best practices are accomplished with 1-on-1 patient interaction. Because most CPAP patients are long-term users of the therapy, any provider’s patient pool continues to grow, month after month and it does not take long before you can cannot hire and pay enough people to do all of the follow-up, patient communications, and therapy data tracking, etc.
What I realized over 8 years ago is that with good patient management program design, a different business model, standardized processes, and interactive technology, best practices could be both scalable and sustainable.
When it comes down to it. I like to solve problems. And I’m fortunate and grateful to have a team that thinks the same way. So, for me personally, and now for the organization that we have built, we see a big problem that we can help solve.
When you are wired the way we are, there is no option to walk away from the opportunity to help make CPAP therapy easier and more effective for millions of patients and their caregivers. Not only must we do it, but we are doing it. We are at the very beginning of the exciting phase where we stop dreaming, planning and building, and start doing!
We’ve got a new way of managing CPAP therapy and, with the help of and input of CPAP users, Therapy Providers, and Clinicians, we’re looking forward to making a positive impact on CPAP therapy in the United States.
If you are a CPAP user, and want to help us in our beta testing phase, learn more here…
If you are Sleep Specialist, Sleep Lab, or Sleep Center, and want to learn more, please use our contact form to get in touch and we’ll set up a time to meet.
Comments are welcome and invited.