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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on July 10th, 2018

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: July 10, 2018

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

sleeping piglet

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

While You Were Sleeping  is taking a  break next Tuesday July 17

and will resume curation on Tuesday July 24.  


Inside Your Health: Medical Marijuana for Sleep Apnea Patients
July 8, 2018 

From the news report: “Patients with obstructive sleep apnea may have a new treatment option: medical marijuana. …On July 1, the Minnesota Department of Health added this diagnosis to the list of qualifying conditions after reviewing scientific research, soliciting public comments and hosting a citizens' review panel. But Dr. Jonathan Parker, a dentist and sleep apnea expert, is concerned about the state's decision.

Takeaway: You'll need to watch the accompanying video in full to get the whole story. What do you think about using medical marijuana to treat sleep apnea? Have you read the research? Do you think the benefits outweigh the risks? This is going to become a bigger topic as more people start turning to marijuana to treat all kinds of sleep disorders; your input as a sleep tech is valuable in this discussion.


Boston Children's Hospital Center for Pediatric Sleep Medicine Hypersomnia Patient Education and Support Meeting
July 5, 2018 

From the Facebook invitation: “Check out this Hypersomnia/Narcolepsy patient day at the Boston Children's Hospital 7/21/18 10-12pm directed at ages 8-25 years and focusing on research updates and transitional care. Dr. Kiran Maski will be presenting along with a panel discussion and Q and A.

Takeaway: Granted, this will only be useful to those in or around Boston on July 21,  but if you would like a similar event to take place in your community, it would be worth it to reach out to Wake Up Narcolepsy and start a dialog.


Analysis of Errors in Dictated Clinical Documents Assisted by Speech Recognition Software and Professional Transcriptionists
July 6, 2018

From the research study: “An observed error rate of more than 7% in speech recognition–generated clinical documents demonstrates the importance of manual editing and review.

Takeaway: Maybe this isn't a problem among techs, but it can be a problem among our sleep physicians if they use Dragon or other apps or services. Be kind and share any questionable notes you uncover as you upload patient EHR during your shifts; errors in notes should be fixed following a protocol, so don't change them yourself. Your keen eye for these errors can be very helpful and demonstrate you are an important (if often invisible) part of the team.


Subscribe to Sleep Review’s YouTube Channel
July 6, 2018

From the website: “Seven videos are currently on the channel, ranging from 1-minute shorts about recent cover stories to hour-plus-long in-depth webinars in which expert clinicians discuss best practices in sleep medicine.”

Takeaway: You may or may not be able to access these videos via workplace internet, but please do consider visiting them on your home computer.


Trick or Track: How Tech Prevents Fraudulent Sleep Data Transmission
June 28, 2018

From the article: “For transportation workers, the segment most often cited by manufacturers as a reason for adding tracking solutions, there is a fear (in some cases, justified) that positive sleep apnea test results or noncompliance with prescribed therapy will jeopardize a career. So some workers may decide that having a friend without sleep apnea use the equipment is lower risk. For veterans, the payer (US Department of Veterans Affairs) can require data downloads to ensure only patients with legitimate disabilities are covered. And inside prisons, there have been anecdotes of prisoners trying to steer their therapy prescription to a specific mode; for example, if they prefer an oral appliance to CPAP, they may solicit someone known to have a low apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) to take an HST in their place.

Takeaway: This awareness of PAP machine rigging should inspire more fraud deterrence down the line, which will show more honest patient outcomes, ultimately.


Use of ‘smart drugs’ on the rise
July 6, 2018

From the article: “The non-medical use of substances — often dubbed smart drugs — to increase memory or concentration is known as pharmacological cognitive enhancement (PCE), and it rose in all 15 nations included in the survey. The study looked at prescription medications such as Adderall and Ritalin — prescribed medically to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) — as well as the sleep-disorder medication modafinil and illegal stimulants such as cocaine.” 

Takeaway: Probably not a bad idea to ask patients who are known students to 'fess up about their use of PCEs if they are coming in to the sleep lab for a study. 


A Twist On Charles Dickens: He Was A Public Health Pioneer Too
July 9, 2018

From the blog post:  “'Dickens even left his mark on medical history. An exhibit in the museum tells the tale of 'fat boy Joe,' a character in The Pickwick Papers. Joe constantly fell asleep, sometimes when walking. …'That description entered into medical textbooks,' says Adelene Buckland, one of the curators of the exhibit and a lecturer at Kings College London. William Osler, widely recognized as the founder of modern medicine, cited Joe as an example of a syndrome that occurs in some obese people: an uncontrollable tendency to sleep. The condition was initially called Pickwickian syndrome. Today it's obesity hypoventilation syndrome.” 

Takeaway: A fascinating look into observations about sleep breathing disorders from over 150 years ago. 


OIG reviews Medicare claims for replacement PAP device supplies
July 7, 2018

From the article: “The Office of Inspector General (OIG) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently conducted a review of a sample of Medicare claims, finding that most Medicare claims for replacement positive airway pressure (PAP) device supplies did not comply with Medicare requirements.

Takeaway: Check out the most common mistakes identified by the auditors to learn more about how to avoid getting into trouble with CMS over DME replenishment and reimbursement issues.

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.