Provider moves sleep business into the bedroom

Monday, March 31, 2008

WAUKESHA, Wis. – If patients can’t—or won’t—get themselves into a clinic for a sleep study, Jill Spellman stands ready to bring testing to them.
The president of Oxygen One launched Sleep Apnea Solutions as a separate business last June.
“I wanted to offer people an option to have an affordable sleep test, simply done, in their own home,” said Spellman. “Sometimes, a patient will have had a prescription for a sleep study for six months. When asked why they haven’t gone, they say ‘cost and convenience.’”
As many as 20 million Americans are estimated to have sleep apnea—many undiagnosed.
A full study in a sleep lab can run as high as $2,500. A home study from Sleep Apnea Solutions costs $450.
The company accepts private insurance, but most patients pay out-of-pocket. If a patient’s insurance doesn’t cover a home test, Spellman lets them know beforehand.
“We educate the consumer on the option that’s best for them,” she said.
Sleep Apnea Solutions follows American Academy of Sleep Medicine guidelines for sleep testing. A registered sleep technician sets up the equipment, a level III device, and scores the raw data. The study is then interpreted by the company medical director, a board-certified sleep physician.
Patients diagnosed with sleep apnea can then go on a 30- to 90-day trial treatment period with an AutoPAP. During that time, they are monitored daily for compliance, clinical effectiveness and leaks, said Spellman. Once the trial period is complete, the physician may prescribe CPAP or another treatment, or the patient may stick with the AutoPAP.
Still, home testing is not for everyone, Spellman acknowledged. Patients with other co-morbidities or potentially more complex sleep disorders are referred to a sleep lab for a full study. But home sleep tests could reach more people who would otherwise go undiagnosed.
“There’s opportunity to help people here,” she said. HME