As we’ve noted before, CPAP is an effective treatment for sleep apnea, but it has one major flaw: people don’t like it and often don’t use it. And when it’s not being used, it’s not doing anyone any good.

To attempt to get around this problem, French doctors are now prescribing CPAP that comes with remote monitoring. This sends information about how much you use your CPAP machine to your doctor, who can then use that information to guide treatment decisions in the future.

Why the Change

As in the US, sleep apnea treatment costs are rising in France. Costs for treating sleep apnea rose to $575 million in 2011, and although the benefits of treatment are clear, what’s also clear is that there is no benefit from a treatment that’s not being used. With some estimates of patient noncompliance running as high as 83%, the French government could be wasting as much as $477 million a year in paying for CPAP machines that aren’t being used.

It was this concern that made the French Parliament issue a rule in 2013 that all new CPAP machines had to be equipped with digital transmitters to show whether they were being used or not. Patients who do not use their CPAP machines may lose reimbursement for them.

Although patients’ rights groups have protested, this change went into effect, and we will see whether it has a profound effect on either compliance rates or on sleep apnea treatment costs.

At the very least, the rest of us stand to benefit from the wealth of information this will yield about CPAP usage, compliance rates, and its benefits. Whether this is worth the privacy loss suffered by CPAP users is debatable.

A Treatment So Comfortable You’ll Want to Use It

The basic problem with CPAP means that although it is technically a good sleep apnea treatment, it’s not an effective choice for people who are likely to have poor CPAP compliance rates.

Instead, people should also be told about the alternative sleep apnea treatment, oral appliance therapy. Oral appliance therapy is easier to use, more comfortable, and capable of providing good results for many sleep apnea patients. Plus, it won’t have a data transmitter built in.

To learn whether oral appliance therapy is right for you, please contact the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center in Omaha today.