A Pittsburgh-based start-up company, Rehat LLC (dba NOCTEM), was selected for a competitive $1.33M award by Medical Technology Consortium Enterprise (MTEC) to pilot a telehealth platform treating the unmet sleep healthcare needs of service members.

For this project, the Noctem team is joined by colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh and experts in sleep research and sleep specialists led by Rachel Markwald, PhD, principal investigator at the Naval Health Research Center Sleep and Fatigue Research Laboratory (NHRC). NHRC received $660K to lead a large implementation-effectiveness trial using the Noctem platform.

The two-year study will evaluate new smartphone- and web-based technology to offer military service members and their providers convenient access to proven therapies for insomnia, nightmares, and other sleep disturbances.

The diagnosis of sleep disorders in the military has increased 10-fold over the past decade. Today over 40% of servicemen and women report insomnia and other sleep disorders, which in turn, compromise the US Armed Forces’ fitness and readiness.

Although traditional in-person sleep therapies are effective, these treatments are not widely available due to a limited number of trained providers, costs, and burdensome formats for patients and providers.

To overcome these challenges and put sleep treatments that work in the hands of service members, veterans, and healthcare providers,  Anne Germain, PhD, CEO and co-founder of Noctem LLC, and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh, created a telehealth sleep solution that lets patients to access sleep treatments, and for providers to deliver these treatments with accuracy and personalization.

In a preliminary study with post-9/11 servicemembers and veterans, Germain and colleagues showed that delivering sleep interventions via the telehealth platform yielded similar improvements in sleep, insomnia, and daytime symptoms of depression and anxiety as those observed following the traditional intervention format, including more costly and lengthy office visits.

Germain has been focused on sleep in the military since 2005, when she founded the Military Sleep Tactics & Resilience Research Team at the University of Pittsburgh. She is currently on leave from the University to dedicate 100% of her effort to addressing unmet sleep healthcare needs with scalable telehealth sleep solutions.

“We are honored and excited to have this opportunity to deploy behavioral sleep interventions into the hands of providers and patients,” says Germain in a release. “Conquering sleep is key for optimal health, fitness, and performance, in both military personnel and civilians.”

The MTEC award will support deployment and evaluation of the digital platform for delivery of effective behavioral sleep treatments within the US military healthcare system and inform future efforts in civilian healthcare settings.

“MTEC is honored to support the Noctem team, led by Dr Anne Germain, to provide a scalable, effective platform for behavioral sleep treatment to benefit U.S. Service members and the broader civilian population,” says Lauren Palestrini, MTEC director of research programs.

MTEC is a biomedical technology consortium collaborating with multiple government agencies under a 10-year renewable Other Transaction Agreement with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. The consortium focuses on the development of medical solutions that protect and heal those that serve.