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Patients’ Needs and Knowledge Key to Oxygen Prescribing Group

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Patients’ Needs and Knowledge Key to Oxygen Prescribing Group

“We must advocate for our patients with regulators so that our patients can live comfortably while meeting their supplemental oxygen needs as conveniently as possible,” says HPAC Oxygen Prescribing and Education group leader Robert De Marco, MD, FCCP. He explained that many patients express dissatisfaction with their oxygen equipment and services. “By ensuring that people who need oxygen get the right equipment in a manner that suits their personal lifestyles, we will increase compliance and improve our patients’ quality of life.”

In a recent study by the American Thoracic Society Nursing Assembly Oxygen Working Group, Jacobs and colleagues describe the frequent and varied difficulties, particularly related to instruction and adequacy of portable systems that supplemental oxygen users face. They highlight that professional and physician organizations are central to improving patient education and implementing systems that will enhance the personalized services patients need. In a 2019 paper in the journal CHEST®, Jacobs found that physicians’ understanding of CMS oxygen prescription requirements, tailoring equipment to specific patient needs, and exhibiting how to resolve oxygen problems would significantly improve quality of life for patients needing oxygen.

The HPAC group seeks to generate an understanding at CMS about the various challenges created by changes in device technology and prescribing procedures as well as to identify ways to make it easier for physicians to focus on patients’ education needs. One resource the group will highlight is the CHEST Foundation’s Oxygen Toolkit, made available to patients through the generosity of the Erin Popovich Endowment, which centers around reducing barriers to access to care, empowering patients, and furthering research. The Oxygen Toolkit is a valuable instrument to add to clinicians’ repertoire of patient education aids and contains an overview of every type of oxygen and delivery system available; tips and tricks for patients and caregivers; access to local support groups and resources; words of encouragement from fellow oxygen users; and essential supplies (lip balm, band aids, medical tape, extra tubing, and more). “Support and understanding to create resources that meet our patients’ needs is such an important example of how we can all work together in this advocacy effort,” says Dr. De Marco. The Oxygen Toolkit can easily be obtained for patients by their physicians through a request form that only takes a quick email from the provider.

“Just as I came to recognize the importance of advocating for my patients’ needs through community service opportunities, the plans we have in the regulatory and policy arena can provide a means for CHEST members to make a visible difference in their patients’ lives,” Dr. De Marco encourages. “Anyone with an interest in creating change should get involved. We have the opportunity to speak to those in agencies, organizations, and places of influence on behalf of our patients and our profession. We have a chance to be the change.”


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