New Remote Mask Selection Tools Help Patients Find a Good Match
Both ResMed and Philips Respironics have released mask selection applications during the summer of 2020, a time when doing just about anything remotely has become standard protocol. And with sleep apnea patients on the rise, the demand for a quick and easy method of choosing among the numerous masks now available is likely to be a highly valued service. According to ResMed, mask selection is the number-one reason for non-adherence among new patients, and with longer waits for health services during the pandemic, more traditional methods of mask selection involving trial-and-error refittings and follow-up appointments can be problematic. These new technologies provide personalized mask recommendations based on a patient’s sleep attributes and facial features, using only a few simple measurements to find a likely match. While ResMed’s version requires a few measurements of the face, followed by questions about sleep habits and preferences, Philips offers a 3D facial imaging mask selector that scans the patient’s features and offers suggestions for matching designs. Since this method requires the use of an advanced 3D camera, a 2D version similar to ResMed’s is offered as an alternative. Both of these applications help CPAP users, especially new CPAP users, make an important decision that can improve their treatment experiences from the start. With non-adherence rates as high as 50 percent, anything that helps streamline the process of adopting and initiating CPAP treatment is a promising development.
Launched this summer, the ResMed MaskSelector is a digital tool for remote mask selection and sizing, based on patient features and sleep habits. The selector works by linking patients with their providers through mobile device apps. An HME service can provide a HIPAA-compliant link through text or email to a patient, who then answers the questionnaire and enters the requested facial measurements. The application will then respond with the recommendations, including some alternative selections. The questionnaire is designed to assess patient sleep habits and preferences, including preferred sleeping position and ability to breathe through the nose. The questionnaire was designed to simulate the clinical experience, using many of the same questions traditionally used in clinical fittings.
While this idea was being developed before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, its release during the summer of 2020 helped to guide patient decisions without exposing them to populated environments. In fact, the ResMed MaskSelector is available free of charge to HMEs in the U.S., from now through the end of the year. Offering the application as a free service is meant to help providers serve their patients during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Other features, such as the automated workflow, patient education materials, and printable checklists give patients and providers everything they need for personalized remote setups.
“Mask fit and comfort is key to a new CPAP user’s therapy success,” said Jim Hollingshead, ResMed’s Sleep president, quoted in a recent press release. “This online tool helps clinicians find the best option for their patients – today and long after this pandemic ends.”
For more information, access a sales consultant through the ResMed company website.
Philips Mask Selector 3D
Both 2D and 3D Mask Selectors by Philips Respironics are part of a portfolio of services aimed at personalizing and automating the mask selection process. Using an algorithm similar to those used for sleep apnea screening, the Mask Selector 3D uses 3D camera technology to capture key data points of facial geometry, collectively referred to as a “Facial Point Cloud.” Like the ResMed app, the Mask Selector 3D then combines the measurements with answers to a sleep preference questionnaire. Recommendations are then based on the combined data, making suggestions for mask type, cushion types and sizes, and frame model. So far, according to Philips, the Mask Selector 3D has a 90 percent setup success rate – already an improvement over the 72 percent success rate using manual fitting methods. Other improvements such as a lower average mask leak rate have also been observed, along with higher confidence levels and more sustained compliance through the initiation process.
While the Mask Selector 3D has been successful, the Philips 2D version is an effective option when 3D technology is inconvenient or unavailable. The Philips 2D version uses the same sleep preference questionnaire as their 3D version, but combines the answers with facial measurements from a standard mobile device camera, rather than 3D facial imaging. Like the 3D version, the Mask Selector 2D has had similar success rates, and uses the same proprietary Facial Point Cloud system based on years of mask fitting research. Much more convenient and accessible than 3D scanning, the 2D Selector can be used with just about any mobile device camera on the market, from phones to tablets to laptop computers. Both of these tools are data-driven, efficient, and offer accurate, personalized recommendations based on the specific needs of patients.
Philips Respironics was in the middle of developing their 3D application when the COVID crisis emerged. As a result, the company streamlined its development on the 2D option as well, meeting the rising demand for remote services in healthcare. During development, Philips worked with patients as well as providers to launch the two applications initially as free versions to help facilitate their use in clinical and home settings. This also includes a review process by providers before the final decision is made.
For more information about Philips Mask Selector services, check with the Philips Respironics company website linked here.
The Importance of Proper Mask Selection
Researchers of PAP-therapy adherence have long recognized the importance of mask choice for treatment effectiveness and compliance. Studies show that one out of three patients needs to be refitted for a new mask or adjustment after standard clinical setups. Patients can have difficulties with noise, air leaks, claustrophobia, or discomfort, and often do not realize that another mask type or size change is the solution. These new fitting tools aim to standardize the mask selection process for a better fit the first time, leading to better treatment outcomes. David White, Chief Medical Officer at Philips Respironics, told Sleep Review Magazine, “If you could give them something that spot-on fits the first time, the hope is that that will improve their use of the device.” Dr. White goes on to explain that mask selection in the past, which has been subjective, is now becoming more objective and data-driven.
While the traditional mask fitting process can take a lot of time, money, and resources from both the patient and the provider or DME, mask selector tools allow all parties involved to bypass much of the in-lab fitting process. This includes the Philips 3D Selector, which uses fast-paced facial imaging rather than traditional measurements. In the long term, this could reduce medical costs as the resources are redistributed into the system, and as more patients comply with treatment as a result of the recommendations, the benefits of continued therapy could make a life-saving difference to patients all over the world.
Businesswire.com – https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200518005130/en/
Canadian Respiratory Journal – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2679572/
Journal of Braslleiro de Pneumologia – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4301251/
Oschner Journal – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3096276/
Philips Respironics – 2D – https://www.usa.philips.com/healthcare/e/sleep/the-right-mask-from-the-start#slide_2d
Philips Respironics – 3D – https://www.usa.philips.com/healthcare/e/sleep/the-right-mask-from-the-startSleep – https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/41/suppl_1/A399/4988125