Home Sleep Testing is Becoming Increasingly Popular
The home sleep test is a technological breakthrough in sleep apnea testing. It allows patients to get tested for sleep apnea in the comfort of their own home instead of paying a visit to a costly sleep lab.
One of the main advantages of home sleep testing is convenience. An overnight stay at a sleep lab can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. It can also and can influence a person’s sleep behavior. That means that the home sleep test can actually be a better representation of a person’s normal, natural sleep habits, leading to more accurate diagnosis.
Because the home sleep test specifically targets sleep apnea as opposed to all sleep disorders, it contains fewer sensors. Fewer sensors help trim costs and make the test less intrusive. The respiratory sensors, oxygen saturation sensors, and breathing-effort sensors are the same as the in-lab sensors and the data is scored and interpreted by the same technicians and sleep-boarded physicians using the same diagnostic criteria.
Several studies have corroborated the accuracy of the home sleep test when compared to laboratory testing. Researchers have reported both high sensitivities and specificities. When both in-lab and home tests are conducted simultaneously rather than sequentially, the results are nearly identical.
In 2007, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine confirmed that the home sleep test is an appropriate option for patients who have a high pre-test probability of having sleep apnea. A bigger endorsement for home sleep testing came from Medicare in 2009.
Prior to 2009, Medicare approved all types of testing devices (levels I-IV) for sleep evaluations but would only compensate patients for CPAP treatment if the test was done in the lab. That all changed in March 2009 when Medicare amended its policy to allow compensation for CPAP following a home sleep test. Many insurance companies followed suit and now reimburse patients for home sleep tests.
In 2011, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists published its medical guidelines for clinical practice which recommend testing diabetic patients for sleep apnea using home monitoring. Diabetes is a major risk factor for sleep apnea.
Medical companies around the country are using home sleep testing more than ever. One example is the Aviisha Medical Institute, LLC which provides home testing and treatment services for patients. The Institute has also launched a social media campaign to help raise awareness about sleep apnea, testing, and treatment on Twitter (@aviisha) and Facebook (on.fb.me/aviisha).
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