Sleep Lab Management - How to Improve Patient Compliance

Sleep lab management can be quite an arduous task. This is because a number of things pertaining to the equipment, the support staff and the patients have to be taken care of. One of the biggest challenges faced while managing a sleep center is to make sure that the patients follow the prescribed treatment. This not only includes the treatment when they are in the sleep labs, but also the treatment that they should continue after leaving.
But then, getting the patients to do this is often easier said than done.

What are the Most Common Compliance Issues?

Saying that a patient is non-compliant does not necessarily mean that he/she is intentionally not following the treatment. Many patients, especially older ones, are often forgetful when it comes to taking their medicines. Also, a lot of patients are not very comfortable with normal sleep study procedures. The entire process of staying a night in a sleep lab with electrodes attached can be quite unnerving to some.

You need to understand that more often than not, patient compliance is a system problem rather than a patient problem. This means that non compliance issues may come up because your sleep lab is not being managed properly. If the doctors are not available to the patients on time, or if the support staff is not very helpful, it leads to frustration amongst patients and that can lead to non-compliance.

When you prescribe a medication to a patient, it has to be filled out at a pharmacy. About 20-30% of the patients do not get this medication because the medication might be too expensive for them. Also, once a course starts, patients tend to stop following the instructions, because of lack of knowledge about the importance of the process.

How to Improve Patient Compliance Once They Leave the Lab

To make sure that your sleep center works smoothly and patients remain satisfied, you have to ensure compliance after the patients leave the lab. A lot of doctors know how difficult a task that can be, but here are few tips that will help you.
  • Educating the patients about the problems they are facing is very important. If you bring in a patient, conduct a polysomnogram, prescribe the medication, and let them go, it may not be of much help. Along with the regular procedures, you also need to educate the patient about the problem and drive home the importance of using the medication.
  • To treat the patients, you need to understand their problems first. To understand the patient's concerns, you need to talk with them and discuss the problems they are facing. That, combined with the information from sleep study and other tests, should form the basis of your diagnosis. This will also help you in making the patient understand the problem in a much better way, which will go a long way towards ensuring compliance.
  • One of the most critical periods, as far as patient compliance is concerned, is just after the patient leaves the sleep lab. After patients have left, there is no one to supervise their medication, which is a reason many of them stop taking their medication. Make sure that you follow up with your patients and check on their progress to bring down compliance issues.
  • Sometimes, patients may be unable to continue the medication because of monetary issues. To help them, you should try to use drug assistance programs. Also, you can try giving them drugs that target more than one problem; this will help in reducing their spending.
  • Using modern technological tools, which allow you to streamline the various processes at your center, makes it easier to do the above mentioned tasks. They also make it easier to follow-up with the patients.

Communication, Customer Service, and Compliance

Patient compliance issues are not limited to the patient alone. The sleep lab, the services, the staff also has a major role to play in ensuring compliance.

Communicating with the patient is also very important for bringing the desired results. The physicians and the staff members should always take feedback from the patient about their health. Proper communication helps in forming a bond of trust, which goes a long way in eradicating a lot of compliance issues.

Patient satisfaction is also essential to ensure compliance. You must ensure that the patient is confident about the treatment at all times. Any form of discontentment can result in him/her rejecting the treatment altogether.

Newsletter Articles