Rationale: Automated telemedicine interventions could potentially improve adherence to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy.
Objectives: Examining the effects of telemedicine-delivered obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) education and CPAP telemonitoring with automated patient feedback messaging on CPAP adherence.
Methods: This four-arm, randomized, factorial design clinical trial enrolled 1,455 patients (51.0% women; age, 49.1 ± 12.5 yr [mean ± SD]) referred for suspected OSA. Nine hundred and fifty-six underwent home sleep apnea testing, and 556 were prescribed CPAP. Two telemedicine interventions were implemented: 1) web-based OSA education (Tel-Ed) and 2) CPAP telemonitoring with automated patient feedback (Tel-TM). Patients were randomized to 1) usual care, 2) Tel-Ed added, 3) Tel-TM added, or 4) Tel-Ed and Tel-TM added (Tel-both).
Measurements and main results: The primary endpoint was 90-day CPAP usage. Secondary endpoints included attendance to OSA evaluation, and change in Epworth Sleepiness Scale score. CPAP average daily use at 90 days was 3.8 ± 2.5, 4.0 ± 2.4, 4.4 ± 2.2, and 4.8 ± 2.3 hours in usual care, Tel-Ed, Tel-TM, and Tel-both groups. Usage was significantly higher in the Tel-TM and Tel-both groups versus usual care (P = 0.0002 for both) but not for Tel-Ed (P = 0.10). Medicare adherence rates were 53.5, 61.0, 65.6, and 73.2% in usual care, Tel-Ed, Tel-TM, and Tel-both groups (Tel-both vs. usual care, P = 0.001; Tel-TM vs. usual care, P = 0.003; Tel-Ed vs. usual care, P = 0.07), respectively. Telemedicine education improved clinic attendance compared with no telemedicine education (show rate, 68.5 vs. 62.7%; P = 0.02).
Conclusions: The use of CPAP telemonitoring with automated feedback messaging improved 90-day adherence in patients with OSA. Telemedicine-based education did not significantly improve CPAP adherence but did increase clinic attendance for OSA evaluation. Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT02279901).
Keywords: disease management; patient compliance; telehealth.