Funding expands ‘peer buddy’ program for sleep apnea patients

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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

TUCSON, Ariz. – Sairam Parthasarathy, MD, a past keynote speaker at the HME News Business Summit, has been awarded nearly $1.4 million for a peer-support program for sleep apnea patients. Parthasarathy, a professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Tucson, and his team will use funding provided by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to implement the findings of a previous research project through which peers were trained to help patients starting treatment for sleep apnea. “Our biggest barrier to treating sleep apnea is helping individuals use a CPAP machine,” said Parthasarathy, director of the UA Health Sciences Center for Sleep and Circadian Sciences and medical director of the Center for Sleep Disorders at Banner-University Medical Center Tucson. “We are creating a therapy program that trains ‘peer buddies’ to educate and support new CPAP patients on how to use a CPAP machine.” The program will be made available to patients at Banner-University Medical Center Tucson clinics and will later be expanded to 11 centers in six states within the Banner Health System. The system conducts more than 11,000 sleep studies and sees more than 9,000 patients annually. Parthasarathy's study was selected for funding through PCORI's dissemination and implementation portfolio, in which funding is awarded to projects to increase awareness and promote the use of PCORI research findings to improve healthcare practices and health outcomes.