Product Profile

Putting Patients in Charge

Philips Respironics' Dream Family takes a patient-first approach to helping achieve optimal sleep outcomes.

Dream FamilyAs sleep therapy solutions continue to improve and elevate the level of care, one truth is shining through: that they must designate patient needs a top priority. Moreover, those needs aren’t just limited to the comfort of the sleep interface and the therapy their PAP device delivers, but to giving users the ability to be involved with managing their therapy.

These were top concerns for sleep and respiratory equipment maker Philips Respironics when it began developing its Dream Family of sleep therapy products. The family consists of three main elements: It’s Dreamwear nasal mask, the DreamStration PAP device (which comes various CPAP and BiPAP configurations), and its DreamMapper self-management software.

The Dreamwear nasal mask is an under-the-nose nasal mask that uses a innovative approach toward comfort in that the mask frame, made of flexible silicone, is hollow and actually carries the airflow. This minimizes the use of tubing and hard plastic, and lets the patient change sleep position.

The DreamStation uses a low-profile product design to minimize the device’s presence in the user’s bedroom. It includes a front-facing display that lets patients easily operate their device. Moreover, the device includes EZ Start and SmartRamp features that help new users get familiarized with sleep therapy by starting at lower settings and working their way into long-terms use. The DreamStation includes diagnostic tools to help patients troubleshoot their devices, as well as remote access tools when providers and physicians need to tend to the devices.

Lastly, the DeamMapper is a free mobile app and web-based system that gives patients personalized feedback you need to take an active role in their sleep therapy. The system provides easy-to read feedback on how they are progressing on achieving therapy goals that they can set for themselves. Patients receive feedback on their results from the previous night, and can watch personalized videos and guides about sleep apnea and their sleep therapy equipment.

Interfacing with Patients

But the way Philips approached developing the Dream Family was by getting patient feedback on what they wanted from their treatment and equipment, according to Jim Doty, senior director of Field Marketing for Philips Respironics.

“Everyone in this industry recognizes that it is about patients and their ability to accept therapy so that they can live a more fulfilling life,” he explains. “So, we’ve put forth a great deal of effort to understand patients’ needs and challenges. Sometimes they can easily articulate them but often you have to dig deeper to uncover the critical insights. Ultimately, whether obvious or harder to uncover, those insights about what patients need from their therapy experience drove the design of the Dream Family.”

Doty says the development involved patients throughout the process: “Our designers wanted to ensure that the Dream Family would be more comfortable, less intimating, and less-medical looking so that patients are more likely to stick with therapy.”

Staring with the mask, Philips knew that Obstructive Sleep Apnea patients find masks obtrusive and uncomfortable, which is a key problem in ensuring therapy adherence. This is especially true for patients recently diagnosed with OSA. so Philips developed the Dreamwear using patient feedback to design a sleep therapy interface that addressed the comfort needs of patients, as articulated by patients.

“Our design team specifically wanted to gain better insight into how sleep therapy could fit more naturally into the patient’s lifestyle to encourage longerterm use,” Doty says. “… We noticed that patients gravitated towards masks that create a more natural feel. As past sleep therapy solutions usually involved excessive tubing and obstructive masks, patients preferred a design that allowed them to sleep in any position and had an open feel.”

Similar to ensuring patients’ comfort level of the mask was ensuring the comfort level with therapy as a whole. That’s why Philips put a premium on connectivity when designing the Dream Family, according to Doty.

“We give patients access to more therapy data and provide clinicians with an easy way to monitor patient progress to understand when and how it makes sense to intervene and adjust treatment,” he explains. “Additionally, we wanted to provide users with an option that helps them feel less like patients treating a condition, and more like people who are getting back to living their best life and getting a good night’s sleep.”

That level of control and connectivity helps put patients in the driver’s seat and gets them more involved in their care and feeling more connected to their clinicians. That will result in even new sleep therapy patients sticking with their therapy throughout their acclimation and over the long haul, Doty explains.

“DreamMapper’s daily reminders and encouragement messages are designed to help new patients adjust to sleep therapy,” he says. “This gives them the tools they need to make adjustments to improve fit and comfort without the help of a clinician or homecare provider, while also providing personalized motivation to adhere to therapy. We also built Bluetooth, cellular, and WiFi capabilities into DreamStation’s connectivity options so that clinicians can remotely monitor the patient’s progress and offer support whenever needed.

“In addition, the data that the patient is seeing is the same information that the clinician is seeing in a patient-friendly format.” Doty adds. “So when a clinician spots an issue, with leak for example, they can re-instruct the patient and direct them to DreamMapper for further education. The data is cloud-based and can be shared between clinicians, caregivers, and patients, providing a streamlined process for patient management.”

Also, by giving patients more control, this also frees up time for providers, clinical staff and physicians to attend to priorities, rather in day-to-day equipment management.

“By giving patients greater insight into their therapy data and giving them tools like the ability to troubleshoot issues to common problems, DreamMapper can reduce the time clinicians spend answering common questions, giving them more time to manage those patients who may need extra attention,” Doty notes.

Important Lesson

A key takeaway for in developing the Dream Family, according to Doty, was that patients need to be part of the product development process when it comes to sleep therapy equipment, because the result are solutions that help drive compliance and improved outcomes.

“This development journey provided a great reminder that patients really are at the core of what we do and that their road to a better life through CPAP therapy is a challenging one,” he says. “In order to meet and overcome those challenges, we need to work together with them to deliver solutions that are simple, effective and appealing. When we meet those requirements, we can enhance their therapy experience and hopefully provide them the best chance at long-term success as possible.”

Dream Family
Philips Respironics
(800) 345-6443

This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of HME Business.

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.


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