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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on May 8th, 2017

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: May 8, 2017

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

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

CULTURE WATCH

"Sleep’s Restless History"
INNOVATION HUB
May 5, 2017

From the blog: “Benjamin Reiss, author of Wild Nights: How Taming Sleep Created Our Restless World, talks about how sleep has evolved and changed over time."

Takeaway: Quick book review and summary of one of the latest mainstream books on sleep health. 

INDUSTRY WATCH

"Implant shows promising results for those suffering from sleep apnea"
KPRC-2 HOUSTON
April 20, 2017 

From the article: "In a one-hour procedure, doctors implant the pacemaker. It's then attached to the nerve controlling the tongue."

Takeaway: This implant by Imthera provides neurostimulation to prevent the tongue from sliding back into the upper airway. It's not quite-ready-for-FDA yet, but the signs are all positive this will become yet another non CPAP option to learn more about and use.

TREND WATCH

"Bed trends, from stylish hospital beds to phone chargers"
WASHINGTON TIMES REPORTER
May 5, 2017

From the article: “Upgrades to home hospital beds are just part of a new focus on making beds better in general—more stylish and comfortable for a wide range of activities beyond sleeping.

Takeaway: It's nice that beds are getting a much-needed upgrade, but unfortunately, there are now new options that encourage poor sleep hygiene, such as working on a laptop while in bed. 

TECHNOLOGY WATCH

"Somnoware’s Predictive Analytics Enables Sleep Physicians to Estimate Patients’ Likelihood of Compliance"
SLEEP REVIEW
April 26, 2017

From the website:Digital health technology company Somnoware announces the addition of predictive analytics to its patient care management module. Using this new feature, sleep physicians can now predict the likelihood of 90-day therapy compliance even before a patient has been initiated on CPAP, oral appliance, or other forms of sleep apnea therapy.”

Takeaway: This is an interesting development and can be applied across treatment approaches, making it a useful tool for deciding which patients might be better directed toward CPAP versus oral appliances, etc. 

PHARMA WATCH

"A cognitive scientist has devised a drug-free sleep trick for your restless mind"
QUARTZ
May 7, 2017

From the article: “At the end of a two-week trial, both groups—one using the app and one counting backwards—showed reduced insomnia, but those who used the app showed greater improvement.

Takeaway: Have you ever had a patient who just could not shut off their brain and fall asleep, but who also refused Ambien? Of course, you have. Try asking them to count backward for 15 minutes and see what happens. According to this research, it should work.

HEALTH LITERACY WATCH

"Self-Management Tech Better for Wellness than Chronic Illness"
PATIENT ENGAGEMENT H.I.T.
May 4, 2017

From the website: “While a self-management tool didn't improve COPD symptoms, it did boost overall patient wellness and reduce clinician visits.”

Takeaway: This might also be the panacea of sleep tracking technology: it can inspire people to be more aware of their sleep health in order to prioritize good quality, adequate sleep as a preventive practice. While wearing a Fitbit might not (by itself) make sleep apnea or insomnia go away, it might make the patient more compliant to treatment. 

LEGISLATION WATCH

"Pre-existing conditions: Pregnancy, sleep apnea could make you pay more"
CNN via NEWSCHANNEL 5 NETWORK
May 5, 2017

From the report (in answer to the question, "Do I have a pre-existing condition?"): Maybe. By law, there are not set parameters, and some insurers consider [sleep apnea] as [a] pre-existing condition. …Three of the largest insurers in the USUnited Healthcare, Cigna and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shieldconsidered a person [with pre-existing conditions] generally 'uninsurable' and could decline coverage without reviewing any medical records if an applicant had a certain health issue.”

Takeaway: No matter where you stand on the political spectrum of this issue, however the AHCA ends up being drawn could have a huge impact on our industry. This is one to watch, and if you feel people with sleep disorders might suffer from their loss of medical coverage due to these changes, now is the time to speak out to your representatives. [This editorial from a nurse in the Yakima Herald  may also inspire you or give you information you can use to craft talking points.]


BIO:  Tamara Sellman RPSGT, CCSH curates the sleep health information clearinghouse, SleepyHeadCENTRAL, where she follows sleep health news headlines daily. She is also Web Consultant for the American Sleep Apnea Association, writes MS-related columns for two medical publishers, and contributes as a freelance writer to AAST’s magazine, A2Zzz, and other places.


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