CategoriesCPAP

CPAP Cleaning and Cash Reimbursement Tips

CPAP cleaning supplies

With declining reimbursements, cash products are a great way to increase revenue while also providing your patients with convenient, easy-to-use cleaning products. This article describes the best products for cleaning CPAP equipment, as well as recommendations for cleaning schedules and techniques.
To prevent growth of mold and bacteria, regular cleaning is essential. However, this task can be tedious without the right supplies.

Daily Care

To remove dirt and oils and prevent buildup, clean the mask and cushion with a cleanser or wipe that is gentle enough for daily use. As a general rule, people can use any cleaning product on their mask that they would use on their face. Anything stronger with scents, alcohol, antibacterial agents or bleaching ingredients can cause the cushion to break down or irritate the skin.
Several products are designed specifically for CPAP masks with all-natural ingredients that are safe enough for daily use. One of the most popular brands is Citrus II, available in a dispenser with 62 wipes or a box of 12 individually wrapped wipes. Both options have their uses. The dispensers are compact. Many of our customers provide each of their respiratory therapists with a few dispensers of wipes, one to demonstrate to the patients how to clean their masks during the initial fitting and additional ones to sell. This helps show proper maintenance and can also lead to a cash sale on the spot.
The individually-wrapped wipes are great to give away as a sample with each new patient setup, and are useful for patient travel or in-store promotions.
If your patients prefer to use a spray, Citrus II offers CPAP Mask Cleaner Spray in either 8-ounce or 1.5-ounce travel size bottles.
In addition to wiping down the mask, instruct your patients to empty the humidifier chamber each morning and leave it open to air dry for the day. They can refill it with distilled water at night. Avoid using tap water to prevent mineral buildup in the chamber that could damage the machine.

Weekly Care

Clean all equipment on a weekly basis, or more frequently if the patient is recovering from illness. First detach the mask from the tube and remove the headgear and cushions. Soak the headgear, tube, mask, humidifier chamber, reusable foam filter, chinstrap and any connectors or adapters in a 50/50 solution of warm water and Citrus II CPAP Concentrated Cleanser for 10-20 minutes.
After soaking, rinse thoroughly with warm water. For best results, hang the tube, headgear and chinstraps to allow them to dry completely. The mask, cushions, chamber and filter can be left out on a towel to dry. Ensure the filter is fully dry before placing it back into the machine. If your patient lives in a wet or humid climate and they have trouble getting their tube and mask to dry fully, Hurricane makes a Home Edition CPAP Equipment Dryer that safely dries products without damage. However, make sure patients are aware that they should not machine wash or dry headgear or chinstrap as it will damage the material or affect the size.
To clean the machine, make sure it is unplugged, and wipe it with a cloth soaked in warm water or a mix of warm water and CPAP Concentrated Cleanser.
With filters, a good rule of thumb is: If it is foam or labeled as reusable, it can be washed weekly and reused for six months, per Medicare guidelines. If it is labeled as ultrafine or disposable, it cannot be washed and must be thrown out and replaced every two weeks. Washing a disposable filter will cause it to lose shape and effectiveness. Some machines use only disposable filters while others can accommodate reusable foam filters, as well as disposable ones. Check with the manufacturer, and explain the difference to your patients to avoid confusion.
During the weekly washing, patients can substitute vinegar, unscented liquid dish soap or hand soap in place of the CPAP Concentrated Cleanser, but they should not use rubbing alcohol, bleach, scented soaps or antibacterial soaps as they can break down the equipment.

Effective Display

How do you encourage patients to clean their products regularly? First, inform them of the health implications of inhaling mold and bacteria growing in their equipment. Also, make the cleaning products easily accessible, and start them off on the right foot with samples or cleaning demonstrations during setup. To assist in this, one product is the CPAP Cleaning Product Display Kit, which is a full display of all the most popular CPAP cleaning products in a tabletop format. The display signage spells out the features and benefits of the cleaners. It displays well next to the register to encourage cash purchases.

CategoriesServices

Product Instructions for Health Literacy

health-literacy

Studies show that almost 90 percent of adults struggle to understand health information readily available in hospitals, clinics, stores and the media. Meanwhile, the government is cutting reimbursement to the HME industry, which is pressuring providers to reduce the one-on-one care and training they now give to patients.

It’s a recipe for confusing older and ill patients who must use HME products for the first time. But there are steps you can take to ease their stress. HME providers can give patients simple instructions through a variety of mediums to increase health literacy—the degree to which patients understand medical information and use it to make good decisions about their health and medical care.

Placement With Packaging

The easiest place to teach patients how to use your products is on the packaging or on inserts you include with products. Many manufacturers cover this step with instructions that you can pass along to your patients. However, if your products do not come with instructions or you think they could use further explanation, add a supplemental flier, booklet or instruction sheet. Here are tips for making instructions simple to understand:

  • Put the most important information first—many people with limited health literacy read only the first few words of a page.
  • Use simple language, short sentences and define technical terms.
  • Do research—chances are, somebody has already written instructions on how to use a product similar to yours. So check to see what other people have done and pick the most clear example to use as a guide.
  • Make the instructions easy to read and understand for all patients. This includes printing them large enough to read for people with poor vision, as well as making them bilingual if you serve a high percentage of non-English speakers.
  • A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but it’s worth 2,000 words if you count writing the instructions in two languages. Photos or diagrams can help patients no matter what language they speak.
  • Test instructions by having someone who has never used the product try to follow them. This can uncover gaps that are not obvious to you.
  • Ask patients for feedback on instructions and continually improve them if you hear the same questions multiple times. For example, if you receive phone calls from patients asking which side of their CPAP filter should be facing in toward the machine, then add a photo and description of the correct placement onto the packaging.

CPAP Filter insertion instructions

New Patient Set-up Kits

Another helpful piece of marketing that some providers have adapted is a new patient set-up kit. It can include everything from instructions, forms and manuals, to any replacement parts or tools they might need.

For example, many HME companies provide their new oxygen patients with a new-patient set-up kit that the manufacturer or distributor helps them to assemble. The kit includes all of the supplies that should be regularly replaced such as oxygen tubing and cannulas, as well as an accessory kit that includes every tool new patients might need to use with their oxygen device, such as a wrench for adjusting the cylinder pressure, a replacement washer and various connectors.

sunset-kit_chart

In addition to the supplies, many customers include their own instructions on best practices for handling the device, frequently asked questions, what to expect and other supplemental instructional materials that can make the transition onto oxygen therapy easier.

Instructional Videos

At a time when 16 million people per month visit WebMD to diagnose their own ailments, why not use YouTube videos to instruct patients on the correct way to use your products before they get incorrect information somewhere else?

Making a video is now surprisingly easy with the help of many digital cameras, smart phones and webcams. And YouTube now has free video editing tools available online so you can edit and add captions to your video at no cost. For information on tools to help you create your videos visit www.youtube.com/create.

Videos can be a great way to explain how to select, use, clean or fix one of your products without having to send a technician to a patient’s home. They provide the information impossible to convey through printed packaging.

Once your video is complete, post it on no fewer than these two locations:

1) Create a YouTube channel for your company—make it searchable by your company name and place all of your videos in one place for your customers and the general public to search. You can even customize your channel background to include your logo and color format. Be sure to tag the videos on YouTube once they are posted so people can easily search for them by subject, item or issue. As an added bonus, if you include your company’s web address at the end of your video, this could increase traffic to your website.

2) Embed the YouTube videos directly onto the corresponding product’s page on your website. That way if your patients are visiting your website to purchase your products, they can see the video and refer back to it if they have questions later.

Additional ways to get your video out there: Google Video, industry or company blogs, social networking and sites such as Facebook. You can even embed it in an e-mail and use it as a response to questions you receive from customers.

While the best solution is to send a trained technician to teach patients how to use new equipment and troubleshoot problems, with declines in reimbursement, the costs are not always feasible. When personalized attention isn’t an option, make sure you find other ways to educate your patients.

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