Sleep startup removes barriers to care

Monday, February 1, 2016

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. – A virtual sleep center wants to put the power of health care back into the hands of patients, says its founder.

“We want to take health care out of the forced algorithms of insurances and hospital protocols,” said Dr. Joseph Krainin, founder of Singular Sleep. “When I had a traditional practice, I was just facing an unwinnable battle helping people get the treatment they needed.”

Singular Sleep, a telehealth startup, offers online consultations and home sleep testing services in 13 states and hopes to be in all 50 states within one year. The provider accepts no insurance.

By removing third-party payers from the equation, and making access to diagnosis and treatment more convenient, Krainin’s hope is to help more people receive care.

“A lot of our patients, they’ve done some reading about sleep apnea, they hear that they snore and maybe have some pauses in breathing,” he said. “They can order the sleep test and choose to follow up with us online afterward. Or, if you know that you have trouble sleeping and you want to talk to an expert from the comfort of your own home, you can schedule a consultation online.”

Consultations start at $69 versus $250 to $300 out-of-pocket at a traditional physician’s office—another factor in removing barriers to treatment.

“For some people, it’s about, “Do I address the disorder, or do I put food on the table?’” said Krainin.

Singular Sleep also offers an array of sleep products that address a wide range of sleep disorders, not just sleep apnea. Visitors to can search by problem (circadian rhythm disorders, insomnia and restless legs syndrome) and product (CPAP, light therapy and specialty bedding).

It makes sense to focus on the spectrum of sleep disorders, not simply on sleep apnea, says Krainin, who says 10% of the U.S. population has chronic insomnia, and another 7% to 10% has RLS.

“What people need to realize is sleep disorder is not just sleep apnea,” he said. “These disorders are often interdependent. People with apnea often have insomnia or vice versa and one disorder may exacerbate another.”

One key goal going forward: forging strategic alliances with other companies, including DME providers. For example, Singular could offer home sleep testing for a provider or could help manage patient compliance by treating insomnia or other issues, said Krainin.

“We can help with medical techniques so that patients are less likely to get their CPAP revoked by insurance because they aren’t using it,” he said. “I think there could be real productive partnerships in certain instances.”