WORKING TOGETHER: CHARTING A BETTER COURSE FOR SLEEP APNEA TREATMENTS
As the model for delivery of care becomes more centralized, it becomes more reliant on clearly written and easy-to-follow --- but necessarily simplified ---algorithms of care. The individual experience inevitably gets lost in the shuffle.
Empowered Sleep Apnea is focused on patient-centered medicine which focuses on helping individual patients navigate their personal healthcare narratives, on their own terms, using science and evidence-based medicine as a guiding light. Together, we are working to educate and empower parents along their sleep and airway journey.
OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is estimated to affect nearly one billion persons worldwide. A recent estimate placed the prevalence of Sleep Apnea at over 40 million adults in the United States alone, with only about one in five yet diagnosed. According to the Clevland Clinic, OSA occurs in 1-5% of all ages of children and is more commonly diagnosed, up to 25%, in children with other medical conditions such as airway dysfunction, TMJ, obesity, Down Syndrome, and others.
Historically, one of the major obstacles to making the diagnosis of Sleep Apnea has been the complex technology it requires. In-lab polysomnography is expensive, slow, and restrictive, requiring not just technical expertise, but also accreditation for the lab, and board certification for the provider writing the report. Over the last five years, home sleep apnea testing (HSAT) has almost completely supplanted lab-based testing as the primary mode of diagnosis, taking fixed lab costs and expensive overnight technicians out of the picture, and bringing new and inventive ways to bring this resource to more and more patients in need.
As our healthcare ecosystem continues to fragment, our patients must navigate an increasing array of choices as to who will provide care for Sleep Apnea, what that care will look like, and how that care will be paid for. They must prepare themselves for a journey that has the potential to cross over into different silos, whilst simultaneously advocating for themselves.
Sleep Apnea, as a construct, is evolving, and our understanding of how to provide guidance to our patients must evolve, as well. At Empowered Sleep Apnea, we believe that the future of Sleep Apnea management is bigger than individual silos. The future of Sleep Apnea management isn’t a specific treatment.
It’s patient empowerment.
The Children's Airway First Foundation is proud to partner with Empowered Sleep Apnea to help create conversation and educational materials parents need to better understand their child's sleep and airway issues and better empower them to be advocates for their child's long-term healthspan.
Patients suffer as much from the "system" itself as they do from the underlying disease. A patient-centered strategy of care will always self-correct, and always be in favor of the patient.