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By: Tamara Sellman on October 23rd, 2018

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: October 23, 2018

Sleep Technologist Advice

While You Were Sleeping: What Sleep Technologists Need to Know This Week

sleeping bat

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



Sleep, Gender, and Mental Health NIH-hosted panel addresses the interconnections
October 19, 2018 

From the website: “Differences in how men and women sleep could explain differences in the neuropsychiatric illnesses they develop, and potentially influence treatment, explained Ruth Benca, MD, PhD, professor and chair of psychiatry and human behavior at the University of California Irvine, at a conference on sleep hosted by the National Institutes of Health. …If a patient presents with a sleeping problem, there's a strong chance he or she has a psychiatric disorder as well, Benca said at the 2018 Research Conference on Sleep and the Health of Women on Tuesday.

Takeaway: All sleep techs should be fairly versed in the challenges of living with narcolepsy as well as trained in how to spot potential signs and in the performance of the MSLT.


EHR Data Improves Identification of Epilepsy Patients at Risk for Sleep Apnea
October 18, 2018 

From the article: “Researchers from Rutgers University aimed to develop, implement, and evaluate effective strategies to examine electronic health records in screening for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in patients with epilepsy. In the past, studies have shown that patients with epilepsy have a higher prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea—the Epilepsy Foundation estimates as many as 40% of patients with epilepsy have OSA—which can contribute to more frequent seizures, the study authors wrote. They added that detection and treatment of sleep apnea, which is often underdiagnosed in these patients, can improve seizure control in epilepsy patients.

Takeaway: Here's an interesting and applicable way to develop sleep navigator–styled procedures through the use of EHR. 


Coding FAQ: Patient office visits
October 19, 2018

From the website: “Question: How do I code for a patient office visit? Can I use consultation codes? What diagnosis code is appropriate for a patient office visit during which the patient is evaluated for OSA and scheduled for testing?

Takeaway: Take note: They may change up the answer to this question by 2020 given the CMS Proposed Rule,  which seeks to significantly modify guidelines, coding, and reimbursement to more closely mirror the Patients over Paperwork initiative. 


Carrier sailors to get more rest under new policy
October 18, 2018

From the article: “While sleep regulations already exist for the aviation crews, the new policy reflects fears about fatigue dogging the surface force. Concerns about the lack of rest for those sailors were highlighted by official probes in the wake of the deadly collisions last year involving the guided-missile destroyers Fitzgerald and John S. McCain.”

Takeaway: Growing attention to sleep-related transportation hazards in the mainstream has likely influenced these changes in policies aimed specifically at military personnel.


This tiny wearable sticks to your forehead to measure your sleep
October 18, 2018

From the article: “If you attach a new, postage-stamp-size wearable to your forehead before you sleep at night, the device can help tell you if you have sleep apnea—the disorder that can make you stop breathing repeatedly as you sleep, making you tired during the day and raising your risk of other conditions like diabetes and depression. If you already know that you have the disorder, the device can give you feedback on how to improve your sleep.” 

Takeaway: The robots are coming for our jobs. (Yes, sarcasm, but…) 


Can You Overdo It on Sleep Aids (Even Natural Melatonin)?
October 22, 2018

From the article: “Melatonin doesn't work for everyone (for some people, it can cause dizziness, nausea, and headaches) and can worsen rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.” 

Takeaway: This article does a nice job of capturing the state of the market on over-the-counter sleep aids and supplements, and thankfully it ends with sensible advice: to find nonpharmacological ways to achieve better sleep first. 


Sleep Debt – What Is It, And How Can We Minimise It with Audra Starkey
October 17, 2018

From the podcast: “In this episode I go solo and discuss a phenomenon called 'Sleep Debt', which given the irregular hours and rotational rosters that many shift workers are required to work, is a situation experienced by many who work 24/7.”

Takeaway: If we are to be solid, legitimate patient educators, we need to also take into account our own sleep debt, however we are able. After all, an obviously sleep-deprived sleep tech is not going to have the authority necessary to educate patients on sleep hygiene.


FDA reclassifies positive airway pressure as a Class II medical device
October 19, 2018

From the article:  “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a final rule, 'Classification of the Positive Airway Pressure Delivery System,' effective Oct. 19, 2018, that reclassifies the positive airway pressure (PAP) delivery system, moving it from Class III into Class II. PAP delivery systems continue to be for prescription use only. …The FDA generally classifies medical devices based on the risks associated with the device and by evaluating the amount of regulation that provides a reasonable assurance of the device’s safety and effectiveness. Class I devices generally pose the lowest risk to the patient, and Class III devices pose the highest risk. The primary purpose of reclassification is to apply the appropriate level of regulatory controls for a device type based on the most current information regarding its safety and effectiveness.” 

Takeaway: This may or may not impact the work of sleep technologists but it's important regulatory information to be aware of, nonetheless.

BIO:  Tamara Sellman RPSGT, CCSH curates the sleep health information clearinghouse, SleepyHeadCENTRAL, where she follows sleep health news headlines daily. She is also an independent sleep health journalist, writes MS-related columns for two medical publishers, and contributes as a freelance writer to AAST’s magazine, A2Zzz. She can be reached at sleepyheadcentral@gmail.com.