PCORI implementation projects promote the use of findings from PCORI-funded studies in real-world healthcare and other settings. These projects build toward broad use of evidence to inform healthcare decisions.
This PCORI-funded implementation project is expanding a phone-based peer support program to help patients with sleep apnea use continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machines as prescribed.
|Obstructive sleep apnea is a health problem that causes the throat muscles to relax and block the airway, making breathing stop and start during sleep. Sleep apnea affects millions of people in the United States. It places people at a higher risk for fatigue, accidents, and other health problems, including high blood pressure and heart disease.|
What is the goal of this implementation project?
CPAP is a common treatment for sleep apnea. CPAP machines use a mask to give patients constant, steady air pressure while they sleep. But more than half of people don’t use CPAP machines the right way or decide not to use it at all. A PCORI-funded research study found that people in a phone-based peer support program used their CPAP machines as prescribed and were more satisfied with their treatment than those who received usual education about sleep apnea and CPAP.
This project is expanding the peer support program to sleep centers in the Southwest to improve CPAP use and prevent health problems due to sleep apnea.
What will this project do?
The project team is putting the program in place at 11 sleep centers in Arizona and Colorado. Using their phone, patients select from a menu of prompts to:
- Meet with a peer buddy who has sleep apnea at their sleep center
- Talk regularly by phone, text, or email with their peer buddy over several months
- Talk with members of their care team, including doctors, nurses, or sleep technicians, to ask questions, request supplies, or schedule clinic visits
Using checklists and call logs, sleep center staff track peer-buddy interactions to make sure they are helpful to patients.
The project team is working with center staff to train 120 patients with experience using CPAP machines to become peers. To train peers in how to teach others about CPAP machines, the team is creating training manuals and an online session. The trained peers will then train 360 peer buddies to work with patients.
The project team is working with sleep centers to adapt the phone-based system to work with centers’ record systems. The team is also training a CPAP coordinator, nurse navigator, or other staff member at each center to oversee the program and enroll eligible patients.
What is the expected impact of this project?
The project is demonstrating what’s required to put the program in place at sleep centers. More than 2,000 patients with sleep apnea will receive support through the program. Sleep center staff, health system leaders, and sleep center directors are committed to continuing the program after the project ends.
The project evaluation will confirm that the program is working as intended to help people use their CPAP machines effectively.
More about this implementation project:
Stakeholders Involved in This Project
To document implementation:
To assess healthcare and health outcomes:
For many patients with sleep apnea, the COVID-19 pandemic raises questions about the safety of CPAP machines. Also, during the pandemic, patients may not be able to go to follow-up visits. As a result, patients may not receive as much support when they start CPAP use.
With the enhancement, the project team will extend the peer support program to a nationwide network of more than 200 sleep apnea support groups. The team will also update training materials for peer mentors. The materials will respond directly to patients’ concerns about CPAP use during the pandemic.
Enhancement Award Amount: $484,371
Stories and Videos
Study Registration Information
Initial PCORI-Funded Research Study
This implementation project focuses on putting findings into practice from this completed PCORI-funded research study: Does a Peer Support Program Improve Satisfaction with Treatment among Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea?