SleepGlad Debuts AI-driven Remote Mask Fitting Tool
Starting with simple smartphone selfies from patients, the SleepGlad solution uses artificial intelligence on the back end to match them to masks from major manufacturers.
- By David Kopf
- Nov 19, 2020
At a time when sleep providers are looking for new ways to continue helping sleep therapy patients while also grappling with the limitations on contact that COVID-19 has forced upon the world, multiple companies are trying to devise new ways to conduct mask fitting.
Finding the right mask is critical when it comes to ensuring therapeutic results. Using a CPAP device is foreign to new patients, and having a mask that doesn’t fit right or isn’t the optimal format will inhibit patients from complying with their CPAP therapy.
As we have seen over the course of the public health emergency (PHE) so far, various manufacturers have released unique solutions for dealing with the challenge of fitting a mask remotely. Many of these options have come directly from the mask manufacturers themselves, but a third-party option has emerged to support multiple vendors — and it’s taking an interesting approach.
SleepGlad offers what it calls MaskFitter that combines users’ cellphones with a backend assessment system that employs artificial intelligence to provide a fully remote solution for CPAP mask selection.
“Using SleepGlad is as easy as taking a selfie,” says David Baxter, president of Baxter Management, which owns SleepGlad. “Just enter a patient’s phone number, and your custom SleepGlad portal will send them a simple text message. The patient uploads a photo of their face, and SleepGlad’s 3D mask fitting algorithm uses machine learning to select the best mask for each patient’s face and lifestyle.”
After a scan is completed from a selfie, SleepGlad throws away the patient image and reconstructs it with multiple measurements using its patented technology.
“Every Scan builds on itself and allows our system to continue to improve outcomes,” Baxter adds.
Currently, the system supports masks from Philips, Fisher and Paykel, and ResMed, and it is in the process of adding 3B Medical.
“You [the provider} choose which masks to dispense, from a large and growing formulary of masks from every major manufacturer,” Baxter says. “With SleepGlad, your patient can get started on CPAP quickly and efficiently, from the comfort of their own home, as well as, ability to use in the office setting.”
Also, to underscore the company’s commitment to accuracy and patient satisfaction, SleepGlad now offers a mask refit program.
“If a mask doesn’t work for a patient no matter the reason, simply take mask back, replace with another mask, complete mask refit form and submit to SleepGlad,” Baxter says. “No questions asked. We take that information and feed it back into our artificial intelligence that allows our technology to learn what mask solution the patient ended up with, so our intelligence learns from these instances and helps continue to improve outcomes.”
Clearly, virtual mask fitting has become part of the dynamic of providing sleep care during COVID-19, but Baxter says it’s an approach that is likely here to stay.
“Remote Setups are the way of the future,” he explains. “The evolution of PAP setup went from in-home visits, to in-office visits, to group setups, and now to remote setups. Using technology gives DMEs the ability to be connected to their patient like they were sitting in front of them.”
In fact, it’s an approach that meshes with another sleep business Baxter Management owns, S3 Resupply.
So, how do those fit together? Well, to try and make a long story short, Baxter was originally an HME provider. He started Medical Necessities & Services LLC, which was 70 percent PAP-focused, in 2017. He quickly grew it to 13 locations and more than 150 employees — the largest provider in Tennessee then — before selling it to AeroCare in 2018.
During the growth of Medical Necessities, Baxter developed other business opportunities and currently has several DME brands — as well as other companies — in the Baxter Management organization.
The sleep companies in Baxter Management are SleepGlad and Sleep Solutions and Services LLC (S3 Resupply). Baxter purchased SleepGlad on Oct. 1 from Dr. Akhil Raghuram, a Board Certified Sleep Physician, and developers Lawrence Neal and Sudesh Banskota. He also integrated S3 Resupply, a software organization that helps DME companies manage their resupply for PAP patients.
SleepGlad will partner with S3 Resupply to allow S3 Resupply to use the mask selector with an S3 smartphone application. S3 Resupply manages thousands of patients for DME companies, and it just released its new smartphone application that allows more inclusive management of PAP patients.
The addition of SleepGlad in their smartphone application gives them the ability to make remote setups seamless for a DME company. It automates the logical progression of a sleep patient’s on-boarding: receive a referral, enter the patient into s3, send a notification to the patient to complete a scan, get all necessary paperwork completed with their electronic document management solution, schedule a visit in the app, complete a virtual visit with their HIPAA approved portal, and submit the claim.
“Adding SleepGlad mask predictor takes it to the next level,” Baxter says. “There’s no need for DME companies to have to use fit packs and send packages to patients that have multiple cushions that can cause confusion with patients. COVID created a quicker market shift for remote setups and the need to have a tool to help with remote setups to help give patients the comfort of setup in their home.”
If anything, while the remote fit might be born out of necessity, that kind of integration demonstrates its efficacy.
David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.