We've talked a lot about CPAP compliance and the advantages of staying on top of your usage as recommended by your sleep doctors. Not only does proper compliance ensure your therapy is as effective as possible, it helps your insurance provider cover your costs, potentially saving you thousands in the long run.
But how exactly can you and your sleep doctors monitor your compliance? What options do you have for accessing your key compliance data and reporting it to your doctors and your insurance providers? It turns out you have a range of choices depending on your tech skills and your preferences.
Here are some key ways you can monitor your CPAP compliance:
1. SD Card Monitoring
There are many sleep clinics that recommend CPAP equipment with built-in SD card slots. These SD cards can store a large amount of electronic data. Your CPAP machine uses these cards to store information related to your use of your CPAP device, including:
- Total hours of active CPAP therapy
- Total hours of blower usage
- Mask leak-rate
- Number of days above four hours of usage
- Your apnea/hypopnea index (AHI)
SD card monitoring makes it easy for you to report your exact CPAP usage to your sleep clinic. All you have to do is remove the SD card from your machine and bring it into your clinic when you go for your periodic follow-up visits. There, clinic technicians can download the data off of your SD card and see exactly how well you're complying with your recommended therapy.
2. Automatic Monitoring via the Cloud
Other more modern CPAP devices can connect directly to the internet using your home's WiFi network. This means your device can automatically upload usage data directly to a cloud-based storage system on a regular basis, enabling your sleep clinic technicians and your insurance company to access your CPAP compliance statistics remotely. With this capability, all you have to do is use your CPAP device as recommended, and your equipment will do the rest.
3. Built-In Device Display Monitoring
Most modern CPAP devices have built-in data displays that can show a broad range of information and device settings. This means you can monitor your compliance-related data yourself as well as adjusting your machine's performance for better comfort, helping you stay in compliance more easily.
Although your CPAP device's pressure settings will usually be locked-in by your sleep clinic's technicians, you may still be able to adjust the following comfort features:
- Humidifier settings to set your desired temperature and moisture
- Pressure ramping that enables you to ease into your night's therapy rather than getting hit with your full prescribed pressure as soon as your machine turns on
- Mask alerts that let you know when there's a major mask pressure leak
- Pressure relief can lower your CPAP's pressure when you exhale for a more natural breathing experience
- Automatic cutoff can cause your machine to turn off automatically when you remove your mask
4. Monitoring Using Web-Based Tools & Smartphone Apps
Finally, if you're a little more tech-savvy and would like an easy way to monitor your own CPAP compliance, many newer devices offer you the option to access your data using a computer or a mobile app. Although some of these features might cost a small amount, others are free, and they all enable you to take control of your compliance tracking.
That means you can check your CPAP usage information anywhere you have an internet connection, whether it's at home, at work, or on-the-go. It's a great option to help you stay on top of your own compliance for the most effective therapy possible.
No matter how you choose to monitor and report your CPAP compliance data, the most important thing is to keep up your therapy as prescribed to get the most health and wellness benefits with the utmost comfort, while your insurance company continues to foot the big bills for you.