RT interviews Ron Richard, Vice President of Marketing for the Americas, Resmed.

d05a.jpg (12526 bytes)“We are just scratching the surface in terms of technology and education for sleep-disordered breathing,” says Ron Richard, vice president of marketing for the Americas at ResMed, Poway, Calif. RT spoke with Richard about how ResMed is taking an active role not only in developing and refining treatments for sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), but also in expanding the sleep community’s understanding of SDB through continuous research.

Q: What is the newest trend in sleep therapy equipment?
A: Great strides have been made in the management of SDB over the past few years, especially in the area of mask interfaces and nasal pillows. More options for patients have positively impacted compliance and overall adherence to therapy. On the device side, ResMed’s AutoSet devices and VPAP bilevels offer a totally integrated solution. All of our flow generators work with the same software, filters, and humidification systems, thus reducing inventory issues and simplifying the in-service process.

New developments are under way in the area of pharyngeal stents to treat OSA, and pharmaceutical companies are researching alternate treatments to CPAP. So far, CPAP has proven to be the lowest-cost, most effective means of therapy. With an ever-increasing flow of patients needing treatment for SDB, a number of patient management tools are being offered, such as Boomerang PC, ResLink, voice mail, modems, and Smart Card-based technology. Uses vary according to the protocols used by the home medical equipment provider to track compliance, refill orders for masks and accessories, or comply with referral source needs in terms of documentation. Management-by-exception-based platforms will become the norm as providers focus on improving their bottom line while offering high-quality products and patient care.

Q: Which research and development (R&D) areas have been ResMed’s focus?
We outspend many of our competitors in the sleep field on R&D—in some cases at a 2-to-1 ratio. We worked very hard to make our Mirage Activa nasal mask with its ActiveCell technology the new benchmark in the market. We did extensive global trials of the product on hundreds of patients before going to market. Our new AutoSet Spirit coupled with the ResLink module including pulse oximetry is also making its way into the market via a number of clinical trials and will be instrumental in the findings associated with published papers in the area of cardiovascular disease, bariatrics, and postoperative anesthesia. We are just beginning to understand the complexity surrounding sleep and its importance as it translates into improving the quality of life.

Q: How do you see the sleep therapy field changing in the future?
I think with increased diagnosis and treatment, the health care system will begin to see a decline in costs. Clinical studies being released this year show a remarkable decrease in costs for patients being treated for SDB versus those who go untreated. We also have seen marked decreases in blood pressure and esophageal reflux in patients treated for sleep apnea, and that can cut back on medication costs. There are exciting times ahead for the industry, and I’m pleased to be a part of a great team here at ResMed.