ResMed Inc, San Diego, and Philips Respironics, Murrysville, Pa, are partnering in an effort to educate primary care physicians about untreated sleep apnea including symptoms, screening, and diagnostic pathways. The companies will provide support to two independent continuing medical education (CME) providers, Primary Care Network and Pri-Med Institute, as they present sleep apnea as a stand-alone topic during 1- to 2-day seminars worth 1.25 CME credits.

ResMed and Philips Respironics are funding the CME programs, which will be held in 17 US cities. The goal of the program is to educate 7,200 clinicians by June 2010. The first seminars were held last month, starting in Seattle and Cleveland on October 2.

"This combined effort will help tackle the challenges the industry faces in providing sleep apnea education to primary care providers,” said Ann Tisthammer, vice president, Clinical Education for Americas, ResMed Corp. “Because sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment does not receive the sense of urgency it should in their practice, we believe supporting the CME programs will raise the level of awareness.”

Primary care, family practice, and internal medicine doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants are the target participants for the seminars. Participants will learn about symptoms of sleep apnea, screening implementation, diagnostic pathways, therapy, and research that has examined OSA in relationship to increased mortality and morbidity.

According to information released by Philips Respironics, the initial response to the program was very positive.

“One of the simplest ways to increase awareness and identify the millions of unidentified patients with sleep apnea is to educate these front-line physicians,” said Eoghan O’Lionaird, senior vice president and general manager of sleep for Philips Home Healthcare Solutions. “The research in the last 5 years alone has changed the field of sleep medicine and our understanding of its impact and consequences. CME is a great forum to increase the knowledge of physicians on a condition and its therapy.”