I am aware that there in Sweden takes place a development and testing of a screening device for Sleep Apnea (I think this is together with some of the CPAP manufacturers, and maybe even sponsored by them). This device is not bigger than a cigarette packet, and is intended for use by the primary care physician (PCP).
As far as my information, this device is measuring on breathing, oxygen levels, and a couple of electrodes on the chest. It takes only 5 to 10 minutes to teach the patient how to use the device.
This device is NOT intended as a sleep study, but only for screening the need for a sleep study. It’s easy for the PCP (or his assistant) to read the data, and everything is computerized. It takes less than 10 minutes.
So this is a very low cost procedure.
I can see some pros and cons in this context:
If the PCP has any kind of suspect about SA he quickly and easily can check on the patient having the need for a sleep study.
There could be some general guidelines for PCP's so that all with known possible causes of Sleep Apnea (daytime sleepiness, snoring, high blood pressure, diabetes etc.) were screened.
The device is comfortable to sleep with, and the screening takes place at home. This might induce some people who would refuse a sleep study to have a screening.
So all in all, far more people may come into treatment faster.
There may be false results (false, negative), which makes that some people are not being diagnosed, especially if the PCP only rely on this screening, and not look at other symptoms.
If we look at the large number of untreated people with Sleep Apnea (about 90%), it may be a viable option to bring more people into a sleep study and treatment.