When we encounter patients who are struggling to get a good night’s sleep, we need to find a way to confirm that they’re suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. The conventional approach is to conduct a sleep study in a clinic or a sleep lab.
We opted to take a different approach, using at-home sleep study technology.
The approach is pretty simple. We’ll issue you a small electronic ring that you wear on a finger or thumb. It contains several sensors that collect a range of data. The ring sends that data to your phone via Bluetooth, and your phone then sends that data to secure servers. After wearing the ring for a night or two, you return it to us.
Why did we go with at-home sleep studies? We didn’t make this decision lightly – we undertook a lot of research and consideration first. But we’re very confident that the at-home sleep study (also known as the HSAT, or home sleep apnea test) offers a range of advantages that make them the preferred choice for many people.
- They’re more convenient. A conventional clinic-based sleep study requires you to spend the night away from home. This could be highly inconvenient if you have children at home, a demanding job or travel for work. In contrast, an at-home sleep study allows you to undergo sleep assessments in the comfort of your own home, or even on the road if you travel frequently. And increased convenience can reduce any associated stress or anxiety, making it more likely we’ll get better data.
- It’s way cheaper. Anybody with any familiarity with healthcare knows that a procedure involving an overnight stay at a clinic will cost several thousand dollars once you factor in facility fees, professional fees and overnight stay charges. But an at-home sleep study simply involves taking home a device and using it a few nights in a row, making it vastly more affordable. Generally, patients can easily afford it, even if they have to pay out of pocket.
- There’s no waiting list. An in-lab sleep study may be hard to come by, depending on the availability of a finite number of beds and facilities in sleep clinics. At-home sleep studies are essentially available on demand, meaning you can get screened immediately instead of having to wait.
- The data is likely to be more accurate. With an in-lab sleep study, you’re in a hospital room with all kinds of sensors attached to your chest and head. Needless to say, many folks find it hard to sleep at all! In comparison, an at-home sleep study involves nothing more than wearing a small electronic ring. And by definition, you’re sleeping in your own bed. The result: a much better shot at authentic, real-world data.
To be clear, the at-home sleep study isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. In certain cases, such as suspected complex sleep disorders, an in-lab sleep study may be the better option for gathering more comprehensive data. But for diagnosing sleep apnea, we’ve found the at-home sleep study to be a great option.