Sleep Centers of Middle Tennessee Launches Innovative In-Home Sleep Apnea Care Across Tennessee In Response To COVID-19 Outbreak

OSAinHomeSM provides evaluation and treatment for sleep apnea without leaving the home

Murfreesboro, TN – In response to the epidemic, Sleep Centers of Middle Tennessee has released an innovative program where patients at risk for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can now undergo evaluation and treatment in just a few days without ever leaving their home and without risking exposure to the virus.

This innovative program is called OSAinHomeSM. Not only safe from exposure, OSAinHomeSM has also reduced the time to treatment for OSA from months to as little as 5-10 days. OSAinHomeSM is also a fraction of the cost of spending the night covered in wires in an expensive sleep lab. 

“There are patients with heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. who cannot wait until this epidemic is over to be evaluated [for OSA]. There are also sleepy drivers that should certainly not wait,” said Dr. Bijoy John, a board-certified sleep physician at the Sleep Centers of Middle Tennessee. “Sleep labs across Tennessee, including our four labs, have shut down, because of exposure risk. For patients who should not wait until the crisis is over, we can help.” 

Patients simply consult their sleep specialist from home over their smartphone or computer, and then their sleep study, a single-use, wristwatch-like device, is delivered to their home. They simply wear the device on their wrist overnight, and the sleep specialists at Sleep Centers of Middle Tennessee have called patients with their results even before breakfast. Treatment could be shipped out that same day.

Sleep Centers of Middle Tennessee was planning to release OSAinHomeSM later this year and initially in Middle Tennessee. However, with the COVID-19 epidemic, OSAinHomeSM is available now and to anyone in the state. “This is a difficult time, and we didn’t develop OSAinHomeSM to prevent exposure to a virus. We developed it for convenience, and to save time and money,” said Dr. William Noah, Medical Director of Sleep Centers of Middle Tennessee, and Chairperson of the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Sleep Research Consortium. “I wish the circumstances were different, and when this crisis is over, we can transfer care for those who desire to a sleep provider closer to home.”

OSA is a major cause of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, premature death, and just not feeling or functioning at your best. OSA also suppresses your immune system, which during this COVID-19 outbreak is particularly relevant. Yet, only 10% of OSA patients are on treatment. This is largely because OSA is underrecognized despite one in three adults having OSA, and its significance is underappreciated despite mortality as high as 40% over 12-15 years if left untreated.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is the most common treatment for OSA because CPAP is the safest, most effective, least expensive, and most available treatment for OSA. There is also substantial evidence for CPAP reducing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other diseases that other treatments do not have. For patients in the OSAinHomeSM program, who chose continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) as their treatment, it will also arrive at their door.

“To us, the most important part of OSAinHomeSM begins when the patient removes their CPAP from its packaging,” Dr. Noah continued. “Our specialized CPAP devices have a cellular modem inside for our sleep specialists to monitor and adjust settings remotely and provide supportive care for years to come.”

Sleep Centers of Middle Tennessee was the first practice in the US to remotely monitor and coach CPAP patients to improve adherence. In fact, they were the first to experiment with a prototypic cellular CPAP modem (made by Philips) in 2007, and at the same time introduced elements of Social Cognitive Theory into CPAP therapy. From this, they developed their DREAM (Directed Remote Education and Adherence Monitoring) program, and from 2012-2017 their patients were 32-44% more likely to use CPAP regularly than patients from other providers across the nation. In 2017 they formed their research partnership with MTSU, and from that data analysis Sleep Centers of Middle Tennessee developed DREAM 2.0 to further increase their patients’ long-term CPAP usage.

Sleep Centers of Middle Tennessee was also the first to release nationally, Guidelines for CPAP Use During the COVID-19 Outbreak to reduce transmission of the virus to family members and caretakers. Introducing OSAinHomeSM ahead of schedule is yet another step in providing safe, convenient, cost-efficient, and high-quality treatment for OSA throughout Tennessee.

“CPAP is not a pill. You have to wear it for it to effectively treat sleep apnea, and that has always been our focus,” Dr. Noah continued. OSAinHomeSM will make [OSA] diagnosis and treatment more available, more affordable, and free from exposure to the virus. [OSAinHomeSM] will also make more patients long-term CPAP users, and that’s what is life changing.”

For more information about OSAinHomeSM, visit OSAinHome.com, email info@sleepcenterinfo.com, or call 615-893-4896.

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Sleep Centers of Middle Tennessee’s (SCMT) mission is to continually innovate to lead the field of sleep medicine in quality, cost, and convenience of care. SCMT diagnoses and treats patients with sleep disorders across Middle Tennessee, with offices in Murfreesboro, Cool Springs, and Clarksville. For more information about SCMT, visit sleepcenterinfo.com or email info@sleepcenterinfo.com.