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By: Tamara Sellman on April 4th, 2016

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Book Review: A Technologist’s Introduction to Sleep Disorders

Sleep Disorders | Events | Sleep Technologist Advice


Tamara Sellman reviews Dr. Richard Rosenberg's A Technologist’s Introduction to Sleep Disorders, Second Edition

In January 2016, the AAST released a second edition of A Technologist’s Introduction to Sleep Disorders. This slim spiral bound handbook with clear laminate cover packs a lot of important information inside its covers.

Based on content alone, it deserves a place on the sleep technologist’s shelf next to the latest policies and procedures manual, the AASM Manual for Scoring of Sleep and Associated Events, and the International Classification of Sleep Disorders, Third Edition (ICSD-3).

This handbook is a must-read for nearly any person working in the field of sleep technology:

  • Those who learned on the job but did not get academic training in sleep disorders,
  • Those who studied polysomnography prior to working in a sleep center, but could use a refresher,
  • Those who are studying to become registered or who need to retest to maintain registry, and
  • Clinical sleep health educators, sleep center patient coordinators, sleep physician extenders and sleep care managers

The second edition replaces the first one published in 2010.  As its author, Richard Rosenberg, PhD, accurately points out, “it has been five tumultuous years for the field of sleep technology.”

Changes in the field include the release of the ICSD-3, a new edition of AASM’s ubiquitous scoring manual, and the rise of the home sleep apnea test (HSAT).

Add to these the realities of the Affordable Care Act, ever-shifting Medicare rules, new ventures into telemedicine, the growth of dental sleep medicine, the presence of multiple comorbidities in our patients, and a widening scope of practice for technologists, and there’s reason to believe sweeping changes in sleep technology aren’t likely to level out any time soon.  Staying on top of it all is essential if we are to succeed as allied health professionals.

This new version of the handbook builds on the new realities of the field by offering depth to the technologist’s understanding of sleep disorders and by giving us better tools to communicate in an increasingly complicated medical environment.

Most welcomed is this edition’s focus on comorbidity: how identifying, observing, and treating comorbid conditions must be an active, layered conversation shared between all parties along the patient’s continuum of care.

The second edition intends to:

  • Give technologists a deeper understanding of sleep disorders and the way they are diagnosed,
  • Examine the evolution of sleep disorders over time,
  • Shine a light on treatments with an eye for what is appropriate and what is efficacious, and
  • Offer the sleep technologist a knowledge base to support their efforts to achieve better patient treatment compliance and overall health outcomes.

Of special interest are the theoretical approaches this manual presents, using visual modes, to help technologists to better understand sleep disorders.

As patient educators, our job is to have a much better grasp on sleep disorders than our patients; by using these models as we read through this guide, we may find we can better understand the complexity of sleep disorders within the context of comorbidities.

If we can then learn to apply these theories and models in a way that communicates information that our patients understand we will be better prepared to handle the wave of complex patients headed our way.

A Technologist’s Introduction to Sleep Disorders, 2nd Edition can be purchased for $40 (for AAST members) or $60 (for nonmembers) in the AAST Online Store.

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