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Blog Feature

By: Laura Linley, CRT, RPSGT, FAAST on August 26th, 2022

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The Importance of Remote Patient Monitoring and Coaching

Education | Sleep Coach

The new Virtual Patient Monitoring module series from AAST is a timely education series which supports the change in practices we are seeing in managing our sleep disordered patients and sleep wellness. I am pleased to be able to share a brief overview of the importance of a remote patient monitoring and coaching program, the topic of the first module in the series.

With the shift to more home-sleep testing (HST) and direct referrals to sleep labs, there needs to be a shift in how patients are managed. Remote patient monitoring and interaction via telecommunication is a particularly useful and cost-effective strategy for patient management. With HST becoming more and more popular, there is now an opportunity for sleep technologists to become the go-to individual who follows the patient through the entire continuum of care. With the proper education and training, this could further allow sleep technologists to play a greater role in referrals (sleep history/chart notes), patient education, follow up, outcomes management and risk management.

Remote patient monitoring is also becoming increasingly necessary as government and insurance payors require documentation of a successful positive airway pressure (PAP) trial that meets utilization requirements and positive patient health outcomes. Further, clinicians can focus on treatment adherence and are able to identify things such as mask leaks or problems with pressure tolerances earlier in the process using remote monitoring — something that can save patients headaches with their insurance. If a problem is identified early on (within the first 90 days if possible), the sleep technologist, physician and patient can work together to correct it much more efficiently and prevent the patient from developing negative feelings towards therapy. That alone significantly increases the likelihood of a successful outcome, so we will not just have a successful outcome within the first 90 days, we will also have a successful outcome for long-term adherence.

As health care continues to change, sleep technologists have an opportunity to be on the front lines of the telehealth movement and remote patient monitoring. The role of a sleep coach is to improve patient outcomes and manage chronic diseases, such as sleep apnea. Monitoring therapy and creating a plan with the patient will improve adherence to therapy and improve long-term outcomes. As long as sleep technologists are willing to learn, expand their horizons and scope of practice and build a program where they can measure patient outcomes, sleep labs and centers have the potential to be reimbursed for this new service.

To learn more about remote patient monitoring, including developing a virtual patient monitoring program, patient rights and responsibilities and best practices for patient interviewing and assessment, purchase the Virtual Patient Monitoring module series today.