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Home Testing -- Striking the Right Balance

We came across the following home testing option on a doctor's website in New York. We think it strikes a nice balance with respect to home testing. It makes it easy for people "on the fence" about getting a sleep study to get one, and then in the case of a positive result, they will presumably have more incentive to go in for the full overnight sleep study, which gives physicians the diagnostic tool the home test does not provide to screen for sleep disorders other than Sleep Apnea:

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Comment by sleepycarol on January 5, 2009 at 9:06pm
There is a segment of the population that would benefit from the at home sleep study. Those with no insurance, high deductibles, are under insured, and those that simply for one reason or another can not do an overnight in hospital sleep study.

It is my feeling that those that do test positive for sleep apnea should be encouraged to obtain a full sleep study -- but in reality those that do not have insurance, high deductibles, or other obligations that prohibit a full blown sleep study should not be denied treatment.

One can self-titrate with an apap and software. Doctors and Dmes should work together in order to help the patient. The doctor can prescribe a trial on an apap with a range of pressures. Patient returns the apap after a set amount of time, DME prints out the reports, patient reviews the results with the doctor and if warranted then a script should be given.

Granted an at home sleep test will not screen for other sleep disorders such as rest leg syndrome, periodic leg movement, etc. -- but at least treatment can be given for the sleep apnea.

This is were education plays into the role of the sleep apnea industry. Patients need to be empowered with the knowledge that treatment options are available, it takes time to adjust to therapy, types of equipment available, and other pertinent information. Doctors need to be empowered to learn more about sleep apnea, the symptoms and conditions that surround sleep apnea if they are going to treat sleep apnea patients. DMEs need knowledgeable RTs and sales staff that are knowledgeable about sleep apnea to help the PATIENT learn how to monitor their OWN therapy.

Manufacturers need to make available data capable machines and the software to the end consumer (the patient) so that the patient can take control of their OWN therapy.

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