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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on August 8th, 2016

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: August 8, 2016

Sleep Technologist Advice

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Hidden disabilities, voices of narcolepsy and more of what sleep technologists need to know

Your media watchdog for headlines and trends relevant to sleep technology and patient education.

CULTURE WATCH

Coping with hidden disabilities and conditions on the job: an invisible struggle
The Glass Hammer
August 3, 2016

From the article: “While those with some invisible conditions may be protected from discrimination at work by the Americans with Disabilities Act, whether or not they actually receive that protection sometimes turns, unfairly, on others’ perceptions of the presence of impairment.”

Takeaway: Having an invisible medical condition while working in a physically demanding job like sleep technology can be very difficult.  However, you do have some protections against workplace discrimination as well as ways to find accommodations for the symptoms you manage, and you don’t have to disclose your condition to everybody, but working with HR can help.  Note: While this article focuses on the subject from a female perspective, its message is relevant to all readers regardless of gender.

Disclosure: The author of “While You Were Sleeping” lives with multiple sclerosis which, for her, has symptoms which are almost entirely invisible.

INDUSTRY WATCH

YOUR STORY MATTERS: Introducing Rising Voices of Narcolepsy ℠
JulieFlygare.com
August 3, 2016

From the article: “This month, Project Sleep announced Rising Voices of Narcolepsy ℠, a leadership training program to help people with narcolepsy effectively share their stories through public speaking and writing with local communities, healthcare providers, news outlets, blogs and beyond.”

Takeaway: Julie Flygare (Wide Awake and Dreaming) is the bomb when it comes to sleep activism.  She has made major strides in educating the public and the legislature in big ways about narcolepsy.  If you decide you want to amp up your efforts as a sleep activist, just follow her lead.

TREND WATCH

Three Reasons Why Investing in Internet Marketing Will Attract New Patients to Your Practice” (PDF)
White Coat Designs
May 2015 (but still relevant!)

From the article: “Eighty percent of U.S. adults search for health information online.  More importantly, 44 percent of those searches are from potential patients seeking treatment from a healthcare provider.  Since most clicks occur within the first three search engine listings, if your website isn’t ranked in the top three or at least on the first page then you might as well not exist.”

Takeaway: Medical practices are late to the inbound marketing party, but that’s okay.  That means there’s still good positioning to be done online for freestanding sleep clinics looking to capture local or regional attention (as well as new patients).

Disclosure: The author of “While You Were Sleeping” works in inbound medical marketing.

TECHNOLOGY WATCH

How Will Telemedicine Change How Sleep Disorders are Treated?
Sleep Better, Live Better (blog)
August 2, 2016

From the article: “Is telemedicine the future of sleep medicine?  Possibly.  In underserved and rural areas of the country, where access to a sleep specialist is limited, telemedicine can bridge the gap.  Technology is available today that allows for effective video communication even in areas with low internet speeds.”

Takeaway: If you consider how people who live in rural areas are, statistically, underserved across the board in terms of healthcare, it makes sense that we reach out to them in this way. The technology is there, we just need to make it work.

PHARMA WATCH

Can Melatonin Really Help You Sleep Better?
Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials
August 2, 2016

From the article: “ ‘For melatonin to be helpful, it’s important to tailor your dose, method and time of day to your specific sleep problem.  ‘Taking it at the wrong time of day may actually make your sleep disorder worse,’ ” warns [sleep specialist Michelle] Drerup, MD.”

Takeaway: Do you ask your patients if they are taking melatonin?  It’s important to note this information in their charts.  How much?  When?  With what frequency?  Also, remember, as sleep technologists, it is outside our scope of practice to administer medications (or substances) of any kind.

HEALTH LITERACY WATCH

Obesity epidemic: Hospitals reassess equipment for overweight patients
Fierce Healthcare
August 1, 2016

From the article: '“The patient population that we’re treating―whether it’s in bariatric surgery, orthopedics, pediatrics―all of these specialties are having to cope with special needs because of obesity,” Jeffrey Allen, M.D., medical director for bariatric services at Norton Healthcare in Kentucky. “Even chairs in the waiting rooms are bigger, not just for patients but for their families.’”

Takeaway: This development is certainly not lost on sleep technologists, who frequently mention problems with broken furniture, beds which are not adequate to hold morbidly obese patients, and even the sizing of equipment needed to hook up these patients (such as the respiratory belts).  It seems like sleep centers and weight loss/bariatric clinics could work together to help promote healthy weight as a practical measure that’s a win-win for everyone involved.

LEGISLATION WATCH

Lawmaker dreams of putting costly sleep studies to bed
KOCO Oklahoma City
August 2, 2016

From the article: “ ‘Seventy-five percent of the sleep studies that are currently being done now, the experts believe can be done at home,’ Moore said.  ‘If they’re done at home, the facility charge and the amount of money that it cost would be vastly reduced.’”

Takeaway: I dread ending this week’s WYWS on such a low note, but if this doesn’t inspire more activism among the members of our field, I don’t know what can.  The ignorance of people in power and the drive to save money at the cost of personal health is astounding. What about the 25 percent of patients for whom it’s unsafe to have a home sleep study? Somebody educate this man, please.

About the author

Tamara Kaye Sellman RPSGT, CCSH curates the sleep health information clearinghouse, SleepyHeadCENTRAL, where she follows sleep health news headlines daily.  She generates content for inboundMed and SomnoSure and contributes as a freelance writer to AAST’s magazine, A2Zzz, and MultipleSclerosis.net, among other places.

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