The Comfort Zone
Fisher & Paykel's new nasal pillows mask puts a premium on easy fit and intuitive use.
- By David Kopf
- Mar 01, 2017
Ask any sleep therapy professional and any sleep therapy
patient about what is the most essential component in ensuring therapy compliance,
and they’ll both give you the same answer: a comfortable fit.
If a patient can’t sleep comfortably with a PAP therapy device or mask, then they
can’t sleep. In fact, they might suffer more slumbertime frustration over a poorly
fitting mask than they do from their obstructive sleep apnea.
That was the primary concern of Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Limited, when it
worked to design its latest nasal pillows mask, the F&P Brevida.
“The design intent was to come up with a pillows mask that patients want to use
and are able to use,” says Subbarao Potharaju, senior product manager for Fisher & Paykel. “The main focus was to create a mask that is very appealing in style, yet
packed with design features that offer great usability and performance.”
That focus extended from an overall design and development mission at Fisher& Paykel that puts a premium on fit and comfort.
“We strongly believe that masks are the most important part of the CPAP
therapy,” Potharaju explains. “They are very important drivers for patient comfort,
adherence to the therapy and overall patient experience. We are very focused on
creating mask solutions through innovation and technology. Our inspiration is
fundamentally drawn from this belief.
“Specific to the nasal pillows category, our market research is indicating that
nasal irritation and headgear instability continue to be a major issue for many of
the current nasal pillows users,” he continues. “Our product development teams
worked hard and created Brevida to address these user needs and created a great
Starting with fit, the mask is designed to seal multiple facial profiles.
“Brevida is designed to perform across a full range of pressures and nose/head
sizes,” Potharaju explains. “It is available in two different sizes of cushions that can
easily click on to a very sleek and minimalistic looking frame. Both seal sizes fit
into one size frame. This allows for it to be very easily incorporated in the sleep labs
for titration studies and provides a great opportunity for the DME providers to offer
Brevida to patients to continue their successful sleep lab experience to a successful
long term therapy at home.”
Another key comfort feature is the Brevida’s AirPillow seal, which inflates to form
a “pillow” of air in and around the nose for a more gentle, effective seal.
“Traditional nasal prongs seal on the inside of the nares, whereas Brevida’s
unique AirPillow cushion inflates gently to form a seal in and around the nose. It
has integrated side supports too,” Potharaju says. “The overall design is very unique
and provides a very stable cushion and reduces the likelihood of nasal irritation.
Also, the headgear design incorporates ridges, which increases the mask’s
usability and ease of adjustment to the point that it becomes intuitive for the patient
to use, according to Potharaju.
“The adjustable headgear has ridges to aid adjustment that not only make it very
easy for the patient to use but also helps the RT to educate and set-up the patient
very easily,” he explains.
Adding to that usability is the mask’s VisiBlue highlights, which provide subtle
color cues to help patients with mask orientation, use and assembly.
“It’s very intuitive adjustable headgear and VisiBlue system make it extremely
easy for the patient to self-manage their mask adjustments, use and care etc.,”
Potharaju says. “We believe Brevida will reduce the likelihood of patients needing
to call RTs for early stage set-up and related trouble shooting. This could prove to be
a major benefit for the providers.”
Another feature worth mentioning is the single piece washable diffuser, which
prevents air draft to the bed partner and reduces mask noise significantly. This also
eliminates the air draft to a patient’s bed partner and makes the mask “extremely
quiet,” according to Potharaju.
But perfecting all those features took time, and zeroing in on the Brevida’s
“comfort zone” wasn’t necessarily easy. The key was keeping in constant contact
with patients to get their feedback as product development progressed.
“During the development process our teams interviewed a number of customers
in U.S. – from the East Coast to the West Coast — to better understand the types of
patients that typically use nasal pillows and common problems they encountered,”
Potharaju recalls. “They found that nasal irritation and stability as the major underlying
issues of the current breed of pillows masks. From there on, the challenges
were measuring comfort, as we are iterating through the designs, and working with
complex shapes and materials.
That patient-centric development focus produced a final product that Potharaju
says Fisher & Paykel is proud of. In fact, it garnered an iF Design Award from the
International Forum Design GmbH.
“We designed a unique AirPillow cushion that not only seals well, but is also
very comfortable and stable to mitigate nasal irritation,” he says. “… We have had
fantastic success of the mask in countries where it is already released and very
excited to offer this to U.S. customers.”
Brevida is billable under Medicare with A7034 and A7035 for the full mask
system A7033 for the cushion spares. To get started, providers can contact their
local Fisher & Paykel sales representative to obtain sample product, marketing
collateral and appropriate product training.
Brevida Nasal Pillows Mask
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Limited
This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of HME Business.
David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.