Forum · How do I know if I have the latest technology?

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[-] Yabadabadoo +0 points · over 1 year ago

I've been browsing around the internet; YouTube, etc. Of course, I don't really have a way of separating fact from fiction. I also have no way of knowing if my equipment is the latest technology or not. For instance, the heated tubing feature (per a YouTube) has been out since 2012. I got my cpap in May 2015. I don't have a heated tube. I'm wondering, why not? There was no discussion at all with me about options/features/cost/etc. Nothing was said, like "you have a mild/severe case & need (or don't need) such & such equipment. Only, "you have sleep apnea & need a cpap machine". I have Medicare & good secondary insurance, so I wasn't very concerned about cost. Dr said that equipment will be delivered to my home; nothing about choices of type mask or anything else. They delivered. There was very little demo, and that was that. Was heated tubing a choice? Do I need one? I don't know. If so, & I doubt that it was, I had no basis for making a choice.

I feel that I've been kept in the dark for months. What could possibly be the reason for not supplying the latest equipment? More profit? Medicare restrictions? An equipment "representative" (not my supplier) that I spoke to several times in my doctor's office seemed surprised that I didn't have a heated tube.

I talked to my doctor's office a few days ago (not the doctor herself) & was told that maybe a heated tube will be prescribed at my next appointment (3-11-16) "after we see how a chinstrap works out". Regardless of the fact that my cpap experiences have been better for the last few nights (even tho' the chinstrap has not arrived) are there any reasons that I shouldn't insist on a heated tube (and any other equipment upgrades)? I think I've seen a replacement schedule (somewhere/sometime) that says 5 years for cpap machine replacement. Am I locked in with what I have now, for another 4+ years?

"In the beginning" my doctor seemed very impressed that I was stubbornly strapping up & suffering every single night. She even said that maybe I should give a little motivational speech to her "cpap users group". She hasn't repeated that remark since I have become more impatient & more vocal with my complaints. I found & contacted a local A.W.A.K.E. group. Lo & behold, they meet at my doctor's office.

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[-] DanM +1 point · over 1 year ago Sleep Enthusiast

Hi @Yabadabadoo. The type of equipment you get is sometimes based on your physician's prescription and sometimes based on what the home care company can provide. While a physician can request a specific brand of equipment, most that I've worked with do not do this. Many physicians do not keep up with some of the latest upgrades to CPAP equipment, while others are very good at meeting with representatives from various companies to find out about the latest features and accessories. In some cases, physicians work very closely with the home care equipment providers, and those are the people who usually know more about the newest technology.

Regarding your heated tubing, technology and manufacturer models are constantly changing. Some models are capable of accommodating this feature and others are not. Some patients like heated tubing while others do not. I've had several patients tell me they think the air is too warm with the heated tubing. If you feel this is a feature that you really want because you feel it may help your dry mouth, asking your physician to prescribe it at your next visit may be a good idea. Your insurance may ask for justification before they agree to pay, but that is something your physician should be able to provide if she feels the technology is necessary for your treatment.

As for mask options, the home care equipment provider is usually who would discuss various options, perform mask fittings, and talk to you about how to obtain assistance if you have issues with your equipment. Some physicians will request a specific mask type, but most that I have worked with just ask the home care company to fit patients with the best mask option that will work for the patient. A good home care provider will allow you to try on various masks, do a fit test with for you with the machine set at your treatment pressure (or reasonably close), and have you wear the mask while in various body positions to check for leak and assess comfort. When it is time for a mask change, it may be worth considering asking your home care provider to do these things.

I hope this information is helpful, and thank you for sharing your experiences. Some of what you have experienced is, unfortunately, not uncommon. Hopefully, through research and with the help of engaged patients, we will some positive changes!

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