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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on August 15th, 2016

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: August 15, 2016

Sleep Technologist Advice

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The economics of sleep apnea, salary survey and medical billing for sleep apnea treatment

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

CULTURE WATCH

Economic burden of undiagnosed sleep apnea in U.S. is nearly $150B per year
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
August 8, 2016

From the article: “In order to prepare these reports, Frost & Sullivan, interviewed key opinion leaders with specialties in economics, sleep medicine, productivity, mental health and accidents. The Frost & Sullivan research team also reviewed more than 100 studies on the impact of sleep apnea and constructed detailed financial models leveraging collected research, results from a survey of 506 patients, and treatment fees pulled from public sources including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) fee schedules.”

Takeaway: Worth downloading and sharing lab-wide. This might even be worth making a poster or handout of for patient education. People don’t always recognize the risks of untreated illness when they’re identified as personal, but when they’re identified as economic, the burden becomes real.

INDUSTRY WATCH

Take Our 2016 Salary Survey To Get Its Full Results
Sleep Review
August 10, 2016

From the article: “Sleep center employees: Sleep Review  would appreciate about 15 minutes of your time to take an editorial survey to help assess salary and other trends in sleep labs...The survey is intended for individuals who work at sleep labs, such as physicians, PSG technologists, respiratory therapists, sleep lab administrators and dental sleep medicine practitioners.”

Takeaway: The more data they collect, the better! Get yourself over to their Survey Monkey site now!

TREND WATCH

Dr. Erin Elliott discusses medical billing for sleep apnea treatment” (video)
Dentistry IQ
August 5, 2016

From the article: “In this interview, Dr. Chris Salierno talks with Dr. Erin Elliott about billing for sleep apnea. The trick is to learn medical billing, which is often a foreign concept to dentists. While she acknowledges that it is a process to learn and master the billing, it is well worth the time when your practice gains new patients in this area.”

Takeaway: Integration of dental sleep medicine continues, unabated. Medical billing has been problematic for dentists in the past; with any luck, oral appliance therapy referrals will help straighten out this problem for all involved.

TECHNOLOGY WATCH

Oventus Announces Recruitment of First Patient in New Clinical Trial
Sleep Review
August 2, 2016

From the article: “The trial is designed to produce data around the comfort, safety, and efficacy of the O2Vent T, as well as the comfort and efficacy of the inclusion of an airway into an oral appliance. The airway is designed to deliver air to the back of the mouth, bypassing obstructions from the nose, soft palate and tongue. The airway makes Oventus’ devices unique from other mandibular advancement products on the market.”

Takeaway: This could be an extremely useful therapy for people with Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS) or for those who may have challenges using PAP because of physiological problems like deviated septum.

PHARMA WATCH

Caffeine Can’t Help Once You Hit This Point Of Sleep Deprivation, Study Says
Huffington Post Sleep + Wellness
August 9, 2016

From the article: “Why the same amount of caffeine seems to stop helping after three nights isn’t completely understood, but it could be because of what’s happening in your brain while you fall further and further behind on your sleep needs. ‘As your sleep debt gets higher, levels of a neurotransmitter that’s associated with sleepiness are building up in your brain,’ explains lead study author Tracy Jill Doty, PhD, a research scientist within the behavioral biology branch at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, in Silver Spring, Maryland. Caffeine normally blocks that neurotransmitter, but at a certain point, the levels get so high that your standard amount of caffeine can’t do the job anymore.”

Takeaway: For those of you working more than 3 nights in a row, take heed and have back-up plans for staying alert and awake, especially behind the wheel.

HEALTH LITERACY WATCH

A to zzzzz: Polysomnographic technologists trained to help patients get some sleep
Chicago Tribune
August 7, 2016

From the article: “ ‘You may get a patient who keeps ripping off his sensors or a patient who needs to be awoken because their breathing is inconsistent,’ [Dr. Brian Vincent, neurologist at Rutgers University] says. ‘Since sleep techs monitor more than one patient at a time, they may be up and down all night, fixing electrodes or calming patients. In a perfect scenario, they're watching a patient sleep and monitoring his or her vital signs, but there is no perfect scenario.’ ”

Takeaway: It’s nice to see articles like this show a realistic image of what it means to stay up all night and “watch somebody sleep.”

LEGISLATION WATCH

Teva’s Cephalon Reaches $125m Settlement With 48 States Due to Generic Delays
Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society
August 4, 2016

From the article: “According to the New York Attorney General, as patents preventing generic competition to Provigil neared expiration, an investigation found that Cephalon intentionally defrauded the Patent and Trademark Office to secure an additional patent, which a court subsequently deemed invalid and unenforceable. Prior to that ruling, Cephalon allegedly delayed generic competition for almost six years by filing patent infringement lawsuits, which it then settled by paying competitors to delay sale of their generic versions of Provigil until at least April 2012.”

Takeaway: Finally, more patients (and sleep techs!) can potentially get a break on this very expensive wakefulness maintenance drug!

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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