SmartVest for Mucus Clearance Can Reduce Healthcare Use, Costs for Bronchiectasis Patients

SmartVest for Mucus Clearance Can Reduce Healthcare Use, Costs for Bronchiectasis Patients

The use of Electromed’s SmartVest Airway Clearance System can reduce healthcare use and costs for patients with bronchiectacis, according to a new study. Results indicated that SmartVest may help save patients as much as $3,045 per year of use.

The study, “Cost-Effective Analysis Of Using High Frequency Chest Wall Oscillation (HFCWO) In Patients With Non-Cystic Fibrosis Bronchiectasis,” was published in the journal Respiratory Therapy: The Journal of Pulmonary Technique.

According to the authors, the annual medical cost of care for U.S. bronchiectasis patients in 2001 was $13,244 per patient, which was greater than the annual cost for many other chronic diseases, such as heart disease ($12,000) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD; $11,000).

Also, a study from 2005 showed that bronchiectasis patients spent on average two more days per year in the hospital, had around six additional outpatient encounters, and 27.2 more days of antibiotic treatment, compared to patients without the disease. In the same year, the annual cost for bronchiectasis care reached $630 million.

Bronchiectasis treatments include high frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO), a method that delivers compression pulses to the chest wall within a range of selectable frequencies. These devices promote the release of mucus from the lung’s wall, helping eliminate it from the body and clearing the airways.

The new study analyzed medical data of 59 bronchiectasis patients to investigate the economic impact of Electromed’s SmartVest therapy. Data included all bronchiectasis-related exacerbations, number of hospitalizations, and antibiotic treatment for one year before they started using SmartVest and the first year after its use.

Results showed that SmartVest use was associated with a 60 percent decline in hospitalizations, 63 percent reduction in emergency visits, and a 58 percent reduction in antibiotics use, per year. Also, one year of SmartVest use was found to decrease hospitalization-related costs by $2,790 per patient. In total, the study results showed patients saved $3,045 per year of SmartVest use.

“The clinical effectiveness … demonstrated by SmartVest in patients with COPD and those with bronchiectasis and the significant reduction in antibiotic, [emergency] and hospitalization costs observed in this study supports the cost benefit of SmartVest use and argues for insurance coverage of SmartVest by payers,” the authors concluded.

“Furthermore, secondary benefits such as the potential to reduce hospital readmissions and the potential to impact in deterring antibiotic resistance may have even greater benefits than decreasing cost.”

The study’s authors are Chet E. Sievert, director of regulatory and clinical affairs at Electromed, and  Caroline A. Beaner, who is also with Electromed.

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