manaquin heads wearing CPAP masks
Strategies for engaging patients & becoming a better partner to your referral sources
by Ty Bello & Mark Boardman

How good is your CPAP patient compliance program and how effective is your resupply program? Those are interesting questions, but the answers are not earth shattering, right? However, considering all that home medical equipment (HME) providers have faced the past few years, coupled with an abundance of competitors selling CPAP supplies online, these questions are extremely important.   

How do you move your CPAP compliance program from good to great and your resupply from fair to extraordinary? And here’s one more question: How do you engage the referral and consumer communities at a higher level so your business stands out for service, supplies and compliance?

This article will provide a road map for coaching patients, increasing patient compliance, driving resupply revenue and engaging the referral community.

Patient Engagement

Let’s consider how you can increase CPAP resupply revenue through an omni-channel patient engagement platform. An omni-channel platform provides multiple ways to connect with patients to maximize the number of patients that achieve compliance and reorder supplies. It is essential that you optimize your patient connection rates.

You can also increase patient engagement by implementing a hybrid approach toward connecting. The best CPAP compliance and resupply programs see the greatest connection rates and returns, using a mix of live calls and texting for their patient outreach.

Implementing a coaching model into your omni-channel platform can also drive a higher rate of patient connection and engagement. Patients value having a coach who is clinically trained and can support them on their journey of managing their sleep apnea. Coaching, connecting and engaging with the patient on a consistent and regular basis, especially during the first 30 days after setup, will significantly increase your patient compliance rate and help achieve the highest returns and revenue per patient.

Remember Referrals

Patient engagement is also part of the recipe for increasing patient referrals. The missing ingredient is partnering with the referral source for increased patient care and outcomes.

Each patient you successfully engage provides valuable information that needs to be shared with the referral community. This information will separate your company from those who use CPAP device-provided data only to show the patient is using their CPAP, but do little to provide data and information that shows the impact of compliance with therapy.

There are three basic phases in the overall sales process and these will blend nicely with the patient engagement recipe. First, engage the referral community to build the relationship and earn their trust. By offering patient compliance data, sales efforts will stand above the competition’s box data approach. Moving beyond box data will show where you stand on the continuum of care and demonstrate increased patient education.

Second, the sales process moves into partnering with the referral community to achieve the outcomes that are ultimately entrusted to your care. Finally, as you continue to ensure positive outcomes, these efforts move you from a sales pitch to a trusted advisor.

The Patient as the Customer

How can you become more patient-centric, increase patient revenue and extend patient retention and compliance? Understand that your patient is your customer and, as in all businesses, the more you focus on and value them, the greater the returns that will be achieved.

Today, your patient has more options than ever when it comes to their service and care. Only one in five patients feels valued by their health care provider, and increasing numbers of patients are not staying with their HME dealer, choosing instead to get order CPAP supplies online.

HME providers who have successfully implemented patient-centric programs and are offering value-added plans for their patients are retaining 20% to 30% more of their customers than other HME organizations. Implementing a coaching and engagement platform will help your patients feel valued, which will increase your patient retention. The returns generated from a patient-centric program can be as high as a 300% increase in resupply revenue.

A Selling Proposition

An analysis of your existing CPAP compliance and resupply program will provide you the benchmark on how your program is performing relative to other providers. The best programs implement and utilize key performance indicators to measure and manage program success.

A unique selling proposition can be defined as the factors that differentiate your products and services from those offered by the competition—which can also be interpreted as those that meet and/or exceed the needs and wants of the referral source. Many of your competitors will consider having a different brand of CPAP as their selling proposition, and while this does differentiate the offering, it is also a “me-too” approach to sales.

Consider the differentiators of education and compliance—therein lie the true unique selling proposition. Rather than simply selling products, share education to the referral community, become a resource, and report outcomes beyond device-supplied data. This will increase the value of interactions with the referral community. All of this is predicated on selecting the right CPAP compliance and resupply partner, having a targeted approach to the referral community, developing strong sales call interactions, executing a sales plan, and coaching your sales teams to the next level.

There is a way to differentiate your CPAP resupply and compliance offering to the referral community. Is it time for a change? Only you know that.

Ty Bello, RCC, is the president and founder of Team@Work, LLC. He is an author, communicator and registered coach. Contact Bello at or visit

Mark Boardman is the founder and CEO of Sleep Coaches, a Minneapolis based company. Prior to Sleep Coaches he owned and operated a respiratory focused home medical equipment company. Contact him at