Sleep provider on quest

Friday, July 31, 2009

SAN CARLOS, Calif.--SleepQuest in June signed a nationwide contract with Aetna to provide home sleep testing and CPAP therapy to the insurer’s patients.

“We’re finding insurance companies slowly but surely are understanding and learning the benefits of home testing,” said Lori Schulman, director of contracting for SleepQuest. “It brings down the cost so the patient does not necessarily have to go to a specialist when something as simple as the diagnosis of OSA can be done through the primary care physician. This really puts the physician at the center of directing care for the patient.”

SleepQuest has long touted the benefits of home sleep testing.

“The biggest problem we find for many patients is they don’t get a good night’s sleep in the lab,” she said. “Many times they are not getting results representative of how they sleep at home.”

SleepQuest sends an HST device to the patient along with an instructional DVD and laminated card. A phone call ensures that the patient understands the process and answers any lingering questions. The data is scored and interpreted by a certified sleep physician and the results are faxed to the referring physician.

“From start to finish, our process takes a week or less,” said Schulman.

SleepQuest has focused on providing a continuum of sleep care - from screening and diagnosis through titration and CPAP therapy - since 1996. SleepQuest serves patients nationwide.

“We treat them as if they were here (in our office) but we do it virtually,” said Schulman. “We build a rapport with the patient, over the phone and over the Internet. We can recommend products and make sure they receive a device and nasal interface that works for them.”

Schulman thinks the use of home testing will rise over the next few years, as payers continue to expand coverage and physicians see the benefit to their patients.

“For the general public, without other health issues, our pathway is valid and we think it represents the way diagnostic sleep testing and treatment should be done,” she said.