Itamar Medical Ltd announced results from a recent survey to health care professionals that covered sleep testing dynamics in their practices during 2020 and expectations for future use of home sleep apnea testing (HSAT) versus polysomnography (PSG) testing performed in sleep laboratories.

Key findings of the survey included:

  • 93% of the health care professionals surveyed currently use HSAT in their practices
  • HSAT represents more than 50% of the daily test volume in 66% of the practices
  • Compared to pre-COVID-19 test mix: Approximately 67% of respondents indicated PSG usage decreased (32% and 35% indicated PSG usage decreased significantly and moderately, respectively); Approximately 66% of respondents indicated HSAT usage increased (32% and 34% indicated HSAT usage increased significantly and moderately, respectively)
  • Approximately 39% and 25% expect HSAT usage to be 50% and 75% or higher respectively of test mix post-COVID-19
  • Approximately 27% use only or mostly disposable HSAT
  • Ease of use was noted as the most important feature for an HSAT, followed by reliability and accuracy

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“Due to COVID-19 infection risks, sleep labs were forced to close, hindering access to in-lab testing. As a result, sleep clinicians relied on home-based testing solutions which played a vital role in enabling them to continue to diagnose patients and empower the commencement of their patients’ care pathway,” says Gilad Glick, CEO of Itamar Medical, in a release. “We were delighted to see that HSAT was considered an appropriate alternative to PSG, with the heightened awareness of the many benefits of HSAT solutions and, as this survey indicates, that most clinicians believe that a shift from PSG to HSAT is here to stay after the pandemic is under control.”

Omar E. Burschtin, associate professor of medicine, pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine at The Mount Sinai Hospital, NY, says in a release, “Sleep apnea is a serious health disorder that if left untreated is a risk factor for other life-threatening disorders, including diabetes, stroke, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). While sleep apnea effects an estimated 54 – 60 million people in the US, roughly 80% of sufferers remain undiagnosed and untreated, largely due to the lack of awareness as to the serious nature of the disorder. The innovation in home-based testing and the shift from PSG to HSAT can improve this situation dramatically.

Glick adds, “According to claims data published by the CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) and extrapolated to the overall covered population, PSG constituted about 2/3 of the approximately 5 million annually performed sleep tests in the US, with HSAT testing representing the remaining 1/3. Based on the results of this survey, we are encouraged that an approximate 50/50 percent mix between the two modalities in the future appears supported.”

The survey, designed by Itamar Medical, was in the majority conducted by independent sleep medicine publications (Sleep Review and RT Sleep World) during February and March 2021 to determine the current dynamics of the sleep apnea diagnostic market and perceived impact of COVID-19 on traditional clinical environments. A total 213 sleep professionals participated in the survey including physicians, technicians, respiratory therapists, and sleep clinic directors and managers.

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