People with sleep apnoea in France risk having their funding withdrawn if they aren’t properly using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) to treat their condition.
Since October 2013, people treated in France have been monitored remotely, where medical data is recorded in the home and transmitted to healthcare professionals elsewhere to record and interpret. This method is one example of a new approach to healthcare, known as telemedicine, which uses technology to help people manage their own condition from home.
The normal process for treatment of sleep apnoea in France sees CPAP devices loaned to patients and installed in their homes by contractors, with the cost being refunded by the social security system.
The number of patients receiving this treatment is steadily increasing and costs have soared, reaching €440m in 2011. Early in 2013 the French government ruled that all CPAP machines must be fitted with electronic sensors and data be transmitted to monitor use of the devices. If usage falls below a certain level, patients will be rated as “non-compliant”, with the possibility that costs will no longer be reimbursed.
It is the first time that remote monitoring has been enforced to check patient compliance. Several patient organisations tried to stop the ruling and lodged an appeal with France’s Conseil d’Etat, the highest administrative court. This appeal has been unsuccessful.
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