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By: Kevin Asp, CRT, RPSGT on July 29th, 2015

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Beyond OSA: The Must-Attend Event for Sleep Technologists This Fall




Why should you attend Beyond OSA: Diagnosis, Comorbidities and Therapy of Sleep Related Breathing Disorders?

This course is being offered in response to significant changes that have occurred in the field of sleep medicine and technology.

The AAST held a Sleep Technology Summit on September 21, 2013 to address many of these changes. A panel of speakers was selected with expertise from business to clinical backgrounds. The AAST also invited educators (to include the BRPT and the CoA PSG), industry representatives, and key leaders in sleep medicine and technology to attend and contribute to the discussions. The purpose of this Summit was to identify not only where the profession was then but also to project future trends and identify and predict what the sleep technologist’s role would be in the future.

What were the findings of the Sleep Summit?

The findings of the Sleep Summit were published as a white paper in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine and reprinted in the A2Zzz. Increased awareness of sleep disorders (in particular OSA) has led to an expanding role for technologists and sleep disorders centers, but this growth has been somewhat lopsided in the past and has emphasized diagnostic testing.  The times are changing...

1. In response to increased demand for testing, insurance carriers are exploring less expensive diagnostic testing alternatives such as Home Sleep Apnea Testing (HSAT). 

Insurance carriers have determined that compliance with the treatment of OSA is a significant factor in health outcomes. Thus, there is a potential opportunity for sleep technologists to participate in increasing patient adherence to therapies.

It is obvious that with the increased use of HSAT and the use of APAP as a front line treatment, contact with sleep health professionals is reduced. More experienced staff is therefore required to troubleshoot therapy issues. APAP is being used more and more as a firstline treatment, resulting in a need for increased participation by daytime staff in troubleshooting, downloading compliance data, and incorporating education into the necessary follow-up for these individuals. In addition, sleep technologists will need to understand coding and regulatory changes and how they affect sleep centers. 

2. As the focus of medicine shifts from procedures to outcomes a more integrated model of care will emerge.  

A variety of professionals will be involved, including primary care physicians, ENT’s, behavioral specialists, and dentists. We believe that sleep technologists will have an exciting opportunity to participate in this integrated model.

3. There was also a consensus that with the decrease in volume of attended sleep studies, resulting from the integration of HSAT, the remaining patients tested in the sleep center will most likely be more complicated patients with cardiac, neurological and other medical complications.

This will require additional training for technologists not currently provided by entry level programs such as A-STEP.  The AAST believes that the sleep technologist of the near future will require additional understanding and training in sleep medicine, comorbidities and physiology.  In addition there will be a need for higher education for technologists.

Auburne Overton, President of the Board of Directors of the Committee on Accreditation of Polysomnographic Technologist Education (CoA PSG), argued that a higher level of education for all technologists is essential.

Cindra Altman, President of the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists at the time of the summit, concurred with a corresponding need to increase educational requirements for eligibility for registration examinations. 

4. There is a Need for Advanced Level Courses.

Summit participants agreed that there was a need to offer practicing technologists training and education for these changing roles through workshops, conferences, and continuing education programs covering areas to include: Disease Management, Advanced Therapies, Patient Education, Advanced Core Competencies, Comorbidities and Sleep Disorders Management.

The findings of the AAST Sleep Summit resulted in the development of the AAST Sleep Care Manager Position job description which can be found on the AAST website here.

The AAST is dedicated to providing its membership with relevant content. Beyond OSA: Diagnosis, Comorbidities and Therapy of Sleep Related Breathing Disorders was heavily leveraged based on the findings of the Sleep Summit and its vision on where sleep technology has been, where it is now, and most importantly where we see it in the future. Also, another great point to bring up is that by attending, you will receive as many as 13.25 CECs!

We hope you take the time to review the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine Summit White Paper and take part in the advanced programs the AAST is developing to address technologist education needs such as this advanced therapies course that will be held in Branson, MO this fall.

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About Kevin Asp, CRT, RPSGT

Because of the implementation of his best practices of Implementing Inbound Marketing in its Medical Practice, he turned the once stagnant online presence of Alaska Sleep Clinic to that of "The Most Trafficked Sleep Center Website in the World" in just 18 months time. He is the President and CEO of inboundMed and enjoys helping sleep centers across the globe grow their business through his unique vision and experience of over 27 years in sleep medicine.

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