'I can't imagine thinking of sex when the person is snoring'

Sunday, April 30, 2006

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Snoring isn't safe, cute or sexy, a message that Progressive Medical has been pushing as they position themselves as the go-to company for sleep.
The company recently launched www.hesnores.org, a Web site aimed at educating patients, physicians, sleep labs and business organizations about the dangers of sleep apnea and its effect on all aspects of your waking life. Too many people accept snoring as a fact of life, says company founder Helen Kent. By appealing to a person's love life, she said, people begin to understand how sleep disorders impact them.
"I can't imagine thinking of sex when the person is sitting there snoring," said Kent. "It's not romantic."
Physicians visiting the site learn risk factors and how to work with patients. By educating physicians, Kent hopes to generate referrals.
"They see we know our stuff," said Kent. "They're more willing to trust their patients to us."
Using hot topics like sex or sleepy drivers is a smart way to draw users to the site, said Jack Evans, an industry consultant.
"Health care is the No. 2 search after sex," said Evans. "Three fourths of medical searches are for specific diseases and conditions."
Site users can take a 10-question test to see if they--or their partner--might have sleep apnea and take the results to their doctors.
"There is not a lot known about sleep in general," said Melanie Arledge, a manager and clinical respiratory therapist at Progressive. "They go to their physicians and they're given a sleeping aid instead of a sleep study."
Evans said a bricks-and-mortar HME educates first, and then sells. It should be no different online. Progressive also works with business organizations seeking to increase employee productivity and decrease liability related to sleep accidents.
"If they drug test, they need to test for sleep apnea," said Arledge. "So many people are drowsy driving or missing a hand because they work with heavy machinery."