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Blog Feature

By: Edwin M. Valladares on January 29th, 2018

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Sleep Medicine Inspire’d: A Q&A with Inspire Medical Systems

sleep center | sleep technologist

I recently had a chance to sit down with Michael Coleman, BA, RPSGT, RST, Inspire Medical Systems, to discuss his career, the evolution of sleep devices, and the future of sleep medicine.

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Coleman has worked in the field of sleep medicine since 2004 with experience as a Registered Polysomnographic Technologist (RPSGT, RST), durable medical equipment provider specialist, sleep therapy specialist and most recently, as the Therapy Development Program Manager at Inspire Medical Systems.


How did you start your career in sleep medicine?

Coleman: My father met a pulmonologist at a restaurant one night during my summer between college and graduate school. He got me a summer job working for him in his busy pulmonary and sleep practice. This physician quickly became a mentor to me and introduced me to the world of sleep medicine.

How long have you been with Inspire Medical Systems?

Coleman: I joined Inspire in 2012 shortly after the STAR (Stimulation Therapy for Apnea Reduction) clinical trial completed enrollment.

How did you make the transition to device development?

Coleman: I’m very fortunate to have several members of the Inspire family that took me under their wing and helped me transition to device development. Quan Ni, PhD (Vice President of Research) and Luke Lozier (Senior Director of Global Training), as well as many other colleagues, helped me make the transition to another side of medicine I had never experienced.

What is Inspire Medical Systems?

Coleman: Inspire Medical Systems is a group of intelligent, like-minded individuals who are passionate about sleep medicine and want to make a difference in the lives of our clinicians’ patients. As the manufacturers of the only FDA-approved implantable device for obstructive sleep apnea, Inspire started out only as an idea a long time ago, and the CEO of our company, Tim Herbert, turned that idea into a reality through sheer determination.

How do you see Inspire therapy changing the face of sleep medicine within the next 10 years?

Coleman: Sleep is such a vital part of life and everyone deserves to have a good night’s sleep! The sad truth is many patients can’t find relief right now. There are limited treatment options for sleep apnea patients who cannot tolerate CPAP. Inspire’s mission is to help sleep apnea patients reduce their disease burden and find symptomatic relief. We’re going to improve our technology so that it is more effective and provides even more options for our physician customers and their patients. I envision a time when close to 100% of sleep apnea patients will be able to find a cure for their sleep apnea, whether it is through CPAP, Upper Airway Stimulation (UAS) or other therapy modalities.

Is Inspire Medical Systems looking into diversifying their product line (e.g. R&D, developing other devices)?

Coleman: There are so many patients right now that need access to alternative therapies. We’redetermined to make inspire Upper Airway Stimulation available to as many patients as we can. All of our research and development is focused on improving this technology and leading the charge of UAS innovation, ultimately to ensure better patient outcomes.

Anything else you would like our AAST readers to know?

Coleman: Learning about Upper Airway Stimulation is a great way to diversify your skill set. Sleep technologists will be a big part of the development and implementation of this therapy over the next decade.

About the author:
Edwin M. Valladares, M.S., RPSGT, RST, is Manager & Sr. Technologist, Keck Medical Center of USC, USC Sleep Disorders Center, Lecturer, Keck School of Medicine of USC, Div. of Pulmonary Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, and Co-Coordinator, USC Center for Sleep Health Using Bioengineering at the University of Southern California