U.S. shipments of auto-positive airway pressure (Auto-PAP) devices will grow 70 percent by 2017 over 2013 levels, as healthcare providers look to deliver cost-effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, according to a new report from IHS Technology (NYSE: IHS).
Auto-PAP device shipments are projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 14.2 percent over the next four years, reaching 1,312,811 units by 2017, according to the report "Sleep Diagnostics, Sleep Therapy and Sleep Interfaces - World - 2013." Auto-PAP shipments will surpass those of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines in 2015, as presented in the attached figure.
An estimated 40 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. The U.S. is the largest market globally for devices that treat the condition, with estimated revenues of $765.3 million in 2013.
"Healthcare expenditures in the U.S. for sleep apnea have reached unsustainable levels," said Nicola Goatman, medical devices and healthcare IT analyst at IHS. "Diagnosis through sleep laboratories and therapy using a CPAP system are no longer the most cost-effective solution to an ever-worsening problem."
Unlike CPAP systems, auto-PAP devices adjust to the patient's needs by providing variable pressure in response to the patient's requirements. As a result, respiratory therapists aren’t required to visit patients nearly as often to modify the device as a patient's condition changes. The process is a more comfortable one for the patient and results in reduced costs for the provider.
Medicare’s competitive bidding program, instituted under the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act, puts extreme pressure on healthcare providers to find the most cost-effective treatment available. Round two of competitive bidding saw reimbursement for sleep therapy devices cut by 47 percent.
“Reimbursement for sleep therapy devices is paid to durable medical equipment (DME) providers only if patient compliance can be proved,” Goatman said. “Keeping a patient on the system is paramount for effectively managing the disease and receiving reimbursement.”