HST: 'Not allowed to preferred in a few years'

Friday, March 28, 2014

Instant Diagnostic Systems (IDS) has made several moves in the past few months to better position itself to take advantage of the growing market for home-sleep testing (HST). One of those moves: The Decatur, Ala.-based in-home diagnostic company brought onboard Christian Kiely, previously at Apria Healthcare. Here’s what Kiely, vice president of marketing and sales, had to say about the big changes brewing in sleep.

HME News: Why does the company think more and more testing will move to the home?

Christian Kiely: Certainly patient convenience is part of the equation, but the most significant drivers are the changes in sleep testing coverage policies by private health insurance plans. If you roll the clock back to pre-2008, HST was generally not an accepted diagnostic strategy. Fast forward to today, and there are major health plans with coverage or prior-authorization requirements that govern when a facility test is truly medically necessary; otherwise, only a home sleep test is authorized. HST has gone all the way from “not allowed” to “preferred” in just a few years.

HME: What drove that turnaround?

Kiely: The central issue is the prevalence of the disease, which has led to significant increases in utilization over the past decade. Health plans are attempting to redirect the simple diagnostic cases to a lower cost place of service—the home—and make sure that patients who are complex and truly need a facility based study have access to it.

HME: What’s the future of HST from a technology perspective?

Kiely: Right now, we are working on projects to leverage technology to improve the patient scheduling and communication experience. The majority of patients we test are working during the day and busy with family life in the evening, and are often hard to get a hold of. We need to provide them with the tools to manage the process themselves on their own schedule.

HME: What about the equipment?

Kiely: I think we’re going to be looking at evolutions of diagnostic technology, not necessarily revolutions. There are already a number of devices on the market today that are very effective in recording a study capable of diagnosing OSA, so for technology, I think we’d be looking at refinements and improvements to make them smaller, lighter, more comfortable, improved battery life, storage capacity and things like that.